Technical Resume Keywords & Their Importance for ATS Systems

Posted on May 9, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips, Resumes, Technology | Tags: , , , , |

Applicant tracking systems

Technical resumes

Many technical candidates frown at the thought of using keywords in their resume. It just annoys them to no end. Why? Well, it’s quite simple. It means that someone at a prospective employer somewhere is going to place as much or more value on these buzzwords than they will on the actual content in the resume.

So what’s a technical professional to do?
Get Over It!

Keywords are Important, Just Face It

Most companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems — better known as ATS systems. ATS takes your resume and strips it down into a text file and then analyzes it for keyword matches with specific terms the company selected for the job opening at hand. If your keywords match up, and the formatting of the resume doesn’t boot you out of the system, then your resume will likely go to the next round of review. If the keywords aren’t a good match, then your resume just gets filed in a huge database so that the company can comply with all the employment laws and regulations.

Resume Keywords: What Terms Should I Use?

To know what keywords to use on your resume, pay close attention to the terms the company uses in the job posting. If you can get your hands on an internal job description, even better. You’ll want to mirror the terms used on these documents because they are the precise terms that the ATS system, and the HR folks after that, will be searching for.

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5 Responses to “Technical Resume Keywords & Their Importance for ATS Systems”

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Wow – I knew that most things like that get scanned into the system in one way or another, but was completely unaware of the whole keyword thing. I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I’m job hunting. Interesting find!

Hi Nick,

Yes, it’s pretty standard practice at most companies big enough to have a formal HR dept. It’s definitely important to keep a close eye on the keywords you include in your resume.


[…] pretty regularly that you can follow for tips. Of course, we have tons of tips here as well (Technical Resume Keywords and ATS Systems, IT Resume and Personal Brand Strategy, and Executive IT Resumes: How Far Back Do […]

Ridiculous story there. What occurred after?
Good luck!

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