Are you not getting traction from the jobs that you’re are applying to? Not receiving any responses from job postings? As a tenured professional in the talent acquisition industry, I’ve got the inside scoop on what actually happens when you submit your resume to an open position. Let’s break it down:

Read My 7 LinkedIn Tips for Active Job Seekers

The Importance of Keywords

Candidates must first understand who—or what—is reviewing their resumes. It could be an HR assistant, hiring manager, or an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Typically, these resources are performing a quick initial scan of the document in search of specific keywords. Candidates need to ask themselves: “Are the keywords from the position’s job description on my resume?” If not, add them!

Provide a Professional Summary

More often than not, the resources that are reviewing candidate resumes are reading from the top-down. To increase your odds of getting through the next round, provide a concise professional summary—comprised of about two to three sentences—at the top of your resume. This should include information about who you are, where you want to go, what skills you have, and how you would apply them to the new role. Next, I often advise candidates to include those all-important keywords right below the summary section. Adding a “key skills” section before listing your work experience will capture the attention of the HR assistant who is reviewing your resume.

Mirror Your LinkedIn Profile

Your resume will then be passed along to the hiring manager (if they haven’t already reviewed it) who will also start at the top of the document and scan for critical keywords. The hiring manager may also find your profile from LinkedIn or other social media platforms. It’s always a best practice to have the layout of your LinkedIn profile mirror your resume. In addition, be sure to make your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter private. Don’t allow these platforms to reveal any implicating information about you!

Pick Up the Phone

Assuming the hiring manager approves of your resume and wants to learn more about your background, a formal interview request will be made. Someone from the company will likely be following up with you, whether it’s via email or phone. If you are in the process of applying to open positions, I always suggest that job seekers answer calls from unknown numbers and prepare for interview details to be given over the phone.

Do Your Homework

If you are selected to take part in the interview process, be sure to brush up on your knowledge of the company and the people that you’ll be speaking with. You can also refer to this recent blog written by Acara’s recruitment specialists to learn how to enhance your success in job interviews.

Summary

Applying for jobs can seem to be a monotonous and repetitive process. With an abundance of submission requirements like resumes and cover letters, it will certainly be more convenient for candidates to take the easy way out and use one standard version for each application. But by taking the extra time to utilize these tips and incorporate custom keywords into your resume, you will boost your chances of landing an interview and draw one step closer to securing a position.

Looking to kick off your job search? My colleague, Stephanie Amos, recently wrote about the best ways to get in touch with a recruiter. Check it out here!

This blog was written by Acara Account Executive Shannon Callahan.