Even though job hunting at the executive level requires different tactics than lower-level searches, your resume is still the top sales tool you will use to get that coveted interview. But first, you need to get your resume through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and into the hands of recruiters and hiring managers.

Recent statistics from Forbes indicate that 90% of large employers use an applicant tracking system, a type of human resources software that allows employers to systematically evaluate large numbers of applicant resumes submitted online. Recruiters can sort applications by keywords and even compare your full resume content to the job description. So how do you optimize your chances of passing an ATS scan and positioning your resume to receive the attention it deserves? 

You can improve your odds by following some simple, but effective, resume-writing strategies discussed in more detail in our comprehensive Marketing Executive Resume Guide.

The Dos and Don’ts of an ATS resume

The most important element of an ATS-friendly resume is keyword optimization. Recruiters are likely to search for job titles, relevant hard skills based on your experience and training, and important soft skills like leadership and collaboration.

Target your resume to the job description. Review the most important qualifications and responsibilities, and ensure that these items appear in your resume. Analyze the job listing and make sure you use exact phrases. If the job listing says “search engine optimization,” don’t limit your language to just SEO. Spell it out. In fact, do both to increase your chances.

CMO resume phrases

Keep your design simple. Recruiters and applicant tracking systems need to be able to access all your pertinent information quickly. Crisp organization not only makes a good impression, but it allows hiring professionals and ATS software to find important elements easily.

As a marketer, you may be tempted to innovate, but do so while coloring inside the lines in this case. We’re not saying you shouldn’t add a personal touch, but skip the graphics and limit your use of color. Use traditional fonts, and avoid the use of text boxes that can easily trip up ATS software. Additionally, use standard headings that ATS easily recognizes, such as Education, Professional Experience, and Awards.

After reading these strategies, if you are a marketing leader, you may consider diving deeper into what makes a successful CMO resume. Our Marketing Executive Resume Guide will provide you with the tools you need.