Résumé writing is not what it was even five short years ago. Did you know that with so many people in the job market, HR professionals and other hiring authorities now use software to pre-screen résumés? Its true! Known in the human resources field as “ATS” for Applicant Tracking Systems, these “résumé robots” scan each and every résumé and employment application submitted, looking for keywords relevant to the job opening. If your cover letter, application and résumé contain the right keywords, then your materials are delivered to an actual human being in the hiring department.
The correct keywords to use in your résumé can be gleaned from the job listing itself. If the job listing for a medical billing and coding position includes language like, “Extensive experience with CPT, ICD-9 and medical insurance”, then you should be sure to include those same words in your materials (assuming you have those skills). That way when the ATS scans your documents, it flags them as “relevant” and boosts the chances your materials will be passed along to a human.
This is important information to understand because even if your résumé shows ample experience and healthy employment history, it may not ever even be seen. Insufficient inclusion of keywords is only one pitfall. Another is formatting. Since most of these ATS rely on Microsoft Word, those sending PDF files of their résumé are also very likely to be passed over since the “bot” doesn’t read PDF. It’s functionally the same as sending a blank sheet of paper.
Monster.com has a great article about how to write your resume for the robots and improve your response rates when job seeking. Read it and say goodbye to the days of sending resumes out and getting silence in response.