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Before you write your résumé...

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

So you've gathered some great insight on résumés, and you are ready to write yours. Before you get started, here are some points that can come up within your research.

I see a lot of conflicting advice and subsequent problems in these select areas.

Bad moves can hurt you in three key places: ATS, SEO and with the hiring manager herself!


Lingo and jargon have distinct professional definitions.

Lingo is not jargon. Jargon is not lingo.

Without hospital, trucking or real estate lingo, jargon and technical terminology -- businesses would fail to form efficient and specific forms of clear communication.

The industry lingo and jargon that goes on your resume is what resonates with hiring managers and even ATS.

Not knowing jargon is a disqualifying factor for both doctors and truckers. So, contrary to popular advice, know your jargon -- and your lingo -- and use it!

That is what hits on all cylinders with ATS, SEO and the hiring manager.


You can mine all the JDs you want for ATS keywords. Without context, you frustrate your reviewer. No one wants to be trapped into a phone screen only to learn you wasted her time.

The best résumés bring your conversations into 2nd interview turf.


A broker can review a real estate contract in 3 seconds for perils. If your résumé reviewer needs more than 5 seconds to scan the doc, he's not qualified to review it.

That should scare you more. After that quick scan, you'll earn the time you deserve for a deeper look.

I find that those who blame the scan or ATS are often missing other factors for blame.

ATS is rarely the problem fear-mongering résumé writers like to spin.


I've been the account manager or key holder for ATSs (and numerous other CRM and KM software/vendor relationships); programmed three; and studied ATS results with clients utilizing maybe two dozen varying systems. I have done all of this and used ATS in MSP, VOP, agency and contract recruiter capacities.

I have yet to meet anyone who could unseat the person who got her/his job because ATS failed to find the best fit. ZERO...but it does happen, albeit of rare and insignificant number.

The statistic on ATS systems missing 75% of resumes is not properly sourced.

This original study I know of involves a couple of recruiters many irrelevant years ago using one ATS system and mock resumes. They were stationed at a fax machine in some employment agency in the late 1980s.

From there, their particular 75% claim snowballed to a generalized myth.

The 75% statistic, flawed or not, is a wake-up call. I side with that with wake-up call very much, let me be clear. But ATS systems are not to blame.

It is unfair to blame ATS when someone deserving was hired.

That is an insult to the person hired.

Leverage what you know about ATS. Stop there. No blame.


Online advice is like candy, and context is king.

That's what I always say.

Challenge my notions above in your research, and make your résumé just that...yours.

Be sure to run your final version by hiring managers who hire into positions such as the one you want. Good luck out there!

Brian Brandt is a résumé writer, LinkedIn profile expert, and job search strategist.

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