Step-by-Step Guide: Writing Resume Content to Beat Application Tracking Software

Now that we’ve learned how to recreate the Rezi BETA Template, here’s how Rezi writes the content

Writing a resume sucks and learning how to write one is even worse. What should you include? How should you present it? If you give a hiring manager the information needed to make a quick decision about your credentials, you will have an edge over other applicants. But first, to improve your chances of landing an interview, you need to have content that reflects the keywords used in the job description while simultaneously demonstrating your ability meet the candidate qualifications.

While many people can write content that shows of experience, few have thought about optimizing the content to match the job description.  In this article, you will learn the basics of writing great resume content and optimizing your content to pass applicant tracking systems.

Here are a few examples you can use to learn how to write better resume content. These examples explain the philosophy behind Rezi’s Complete Resume

Don’t Be Lazy

Assume your competition is a couple hundred other applicants. You have to write the best resume. You have to be motivated if you want the job. You have to be the most impressive applicant. You cannot be lazy when writing content.

It is difficult to explain accomplishments and equally as difficult to recognize your own accomplishments. Keep this in mind: each bullet point should be complete.  You can rely on answering what, why, and how, to create a well-thought out bullet point. Let’s take an example which explains how to demonstrate email experience in a marketing role.

This is an example of a lazy descriptor:

•  Sent out weekly emails to lead lists

In this point, which was pulled from a real resume, we learn that the applicant used email marketing. Awesome. However, that’s literally all we can gather from the bullet point.

This is a much better descriptor:

•  Managed Google Analytics data tracking campaigns to maximize the effectiveness of email remarketing initiatives that were deployed using Salesforce’s marketing cloud software. Used Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL/SQL) to search data for customer-specific information

I’ve read a lot of resumes, and most writers would end the sentence at “Organized and implemented Google Analytics data tracking campaigns”. Some might explain that it was used to test email marketing efforts, few would mention it used Salesforce software, fewer still the specific software. Now, we know what the applicant did, why they did it, and how they did it:

What: Managed Google Analytics data tracking campaigns

Why: Maximize the effectiveness of email remarketing initiatives, search data for customer-specific

How: Google Analytics, Salesforce’s marketing cloud software, Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL/SQL)

Take a closer look at the “How”, these are skill/software-specific bits of information that can be pulled directly from the job description… if you have them… don’t lie on your resume. Including keywords from the job description is the guiding essence of creating keyword-optimized resume content. Rezi relies on Jobscan to track how well resume content is optimized.


Write Efficiently

If you find that your bullet points are longer than three lines, this tip is for you. Be concise with your writing. Otherwise, it becomes a disjointed narrative which fails to demonstrate your ability. 

This is unclear:

•  Accounts Payable/Receivable: Posted invoices and maintained an up to date payment record (QuickBooks); reconciled visa and bank statements; reconciled customer invoices to payment record; maintained physical accounting file system; prepared for and participated in ISO and accounting audits.

First, notice the appalling use of a semicolon to link five separate tasks into one terribly long sentence. This descriptor lacks the “Why” and doesn’t do a good job with “How” either.

This is what it could be: 

•  Relied on QuickBooks to fully manage the accounts payable of five different product lines which successfully passed semi-annual accounting audits for three years

Give thought not only to what you say but how you say it. The difference between these two bullet points may mean the difference between getting an interview or not. The descriptor has gone from a disgruntled mess of responsibilities linked together by misplaced semicolons to a digestible account of competency.

What: Managed accounts payable of five product lines

Why: To pass semi-annual accounting audits

How: QuickBooks

Quantify Results

It is important to quantify results to provide a measure to your accomplishments. Range, frequency and scale are three easy ways to quantify your experience in any situation.

Not knowing the exact figure for things is often a big deterrent for using numbers in resumes. But one way to overcome this is to use a range. It’s perfectly fine to not know exactly how many clients you see a month or how many calls you take a week, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still quantify it.

Now that you know it’s fine to use a range, one of the easiest ways to add some numbers to your resume is to include how frequently you do a particular task. This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations.

Including the frequency of your actions give a great sense of scale, but an even more eye-catching way to do is to talk about the bottom line. Let’s take a look at an example:

Alone, this means nothing:

• Actively exceeded sales quota

This bullet point is from a resume Rezi has recently reviewed. Here’s why it sucks. First, a quantifiable accomplishment cannot stand alone without some kind of scale, otherwise, the significance is lost. Second, this bullet point also fails to mention the “How” and “Why”

A quantified accomplishment:

• Recognized by management for sales-driven work ethic by demonstrating consistent ability to exceed sales quota by over 10%, raising quarterly revenues from $1,000,000 to $1,200,000

Much better right? Yes. There are three distinct benefits this new sentence gives us. First, empirical results give a concrete measure of accomplishments. Next, adding keywords from a sales orientated job description is the way to perform better with ATS. Finally, a longer sentence structure makes your resume substantial so formatting is improved.

What: Exceeding sales quota by 10+, Recognized by management

Why: To raise revenues

How: Sales-driven work ethic

Leave out the Summary

Rezi chooses not to include a summary. All of the information that you would include could be deducted from the resume and We’ve never read a resume with a summary that adds anything of value–they just take up space that you can use to explain more accomplishments or list more skills.

 If someone is reading over your resume remember that they should not have a doubt about what you did or what you accomplished. Strong descriptors are the only way to achieve this.

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