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Putting your Canadian resume keywords in the right context

An important factor to consider when applying to a job in Canada is that you have to beat the resume Robots and impress the human recruiter at the same time. You do not want your resume getting past the Canadian Applicant Tracking System (CATS), only to be trashed by humans. A CATS will identify the keywords in your application detailing key skills and experience, but it is humans that will interpret the value and strength of such skills.

It is not enough to simply spell out your skills. An employer wants to know how you put them to use; what was accomplished by utilizing your skill? That is important. So you must include such keywords within the context of the position you’re applying to. Copying and pasting keywords from the posting might beat the bots, but a recruiter will easily see through you. Yolanda M. Owens, Founder of CareerSensei Consulting, says instead of  regurgitating a job posting or description, you should focus on your accomplishments.

Your keywords must, therefore, be written in a way that they can beat the Canadian Applicant Tracking System and also impress the recruiter. An important way to do this is to embed the required keywords clearly within the Career highlights and accomplishment section(s). You also want to stand out of the hundreds of individuals applying to the same position. Simply reproducing those ‘buzzwords’ keeps you in the box.

Finally, after you must’ve written your resume by contextualizing the keywords, you must test it with a CATS. This tracking system will tell if you have done the right thing or not. If you can get a great score running your resume by CATS- up to at least 95% matching score- you can be sure of beating the actual bots deployed by the recruiter.


Quick Tips for Recap

  • Don’t regurgitate the keywords as they appear on the posting.
  • Include the keywords in accomplishments, rather than a mere list of skills.
  • Include numbers and metrics, where necessary, to highlight your accomplishments.
  • Scan your resume on a Canadian Applicant Tracking System.

So there you have it. Keywords are great. In fact, they can determine whether you get the job or not. But you have to be smart about how you use them.

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