How to Get Your Resume Selected and Land an Interview

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Are you looking for a job as a Personal Support Worker (PSW)?

If yes, you are probably applying online and sending your resume everywhere like there is no tomorrow.

And the worst part,

you haven’t heard anything back from even a single employer.

Do you want to know why no one is interested in you (as a PSW)?

Well, most likely your resume never got to the human hands.

There are a lot of reasons why this may be happening, from poor resume formatting to a lack of a quality cover letter, but not targeting your resume by including important keywords could easily be the main culprit.


Advances in technology have made it easier and easier for employers to automate the hiring process.

Instead of a human being sifting through PSW resumes, employers widely use keyword scanning software such as the “Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)” and the Optical Tracking Recognition (OCR) to search through the mountains of resumes they receive and disregard the ones that don’t appear to have what they’re looking for.

These softwares are used to handle job applications and manage resume data.

They are optimized to scan, rate, rank, and filter out PSW resumes that best match a particular job posting.

This is a big reason why you keep applying and never hear anything back.

No one is noticing your resume.

Candidates whose resume get selected by these softwares are the ones who are most likely to be scrutinized further and called for a job interview.


Simply put, your resume must be “keyword rich” and fully optimized every time you apply for a PSW job.

You must use PSW industry related keywords and key phrases in your resume.

In-order to give your resume the best chance of getting selected by ATS and OCR, your resume should also include keywords specific to the position you are applying for.

For example,

a resume prepared for the PSW job posting in the community will need different keywords as compared to a resume for PSW position in a Hospital.

These keywords get your resume noticed by ATS – the big drawback, of course, is that you’re always playing a guessing game as to what those relevant keywords are.


So how do you know which keywords to use?

Think of it in similar terms to how SEO is used to promote websites in search engines.

You want to include words or phrases on your website that people you want to direct to your site will search for.

The same is true with employers and the ATS they use.

Perhaps this is unfair, but it’s simply how the game is played.

You want to include keywords in your resume that employers and their automated scanning software are looking for.

To do this, you need to start making a list of keywords.

While it is still important to use action verbs when describing your skills on your resume, the keywords employers tend to look for are nouns.

You can look through other Personal Support Worker job ads to see if there are common keywords relevant to the profession you should be including.

For Personal Support Workers, there are a number of keywords you might want to include, such as:

  • Gentle Persuasive Approaches Training
  • Personal Support Worker Certification
  • High School Diploma
  • CPR Certification
  • Elderly Care
  • Care Plans

The single best place to start looking for keywords is the job ad itself.

Read it through carefully and lift important words or phrases directly from the ad.

Work those keywords into your resume while tailoring your resume for that particular Personal Support Worker job as much as possible.

As always, never lie on your resume or claim a skill you do not have.

If you find you do not have a qualification the employer is looking for, you can still apply anyway if you think the job is a good fit.

Typically, job ads are a wish list of what an employer is looking for in a candidate, and missing one or two things will not necessarily disqualify you from consideration.


Place keywords near the start of your resume – after all, you want to get a hiring manager’s attention as soon as possible.

Resume scanning software first looks for resumes with all keywords they are looking for.

They then prioritize resumes based on keyword frequency at the start of a resume and usage throughout the document.

The skills section of your resume is probably the most obvious space to put keywords, but they should be used throughout your experience and education sections as well.

Sometimes it may not be prudent to use an objective statement on your resume.

The reason for this is simple: it tells the employer what you are looking for when they are more interested in what they are looking for.

If you wish to include a statement at all, opt for something called a personal statement. Instead of your goals, a personal statement focuses on your qualifications and experiences. Essentially, it’s who you are

Instead of your goals, a personal statement focuses on your qualifications and experiences. Essentially, it’s who you are

Essentially, it’s who you are as a professional, condensed into one or two sentences.

This is also a great place to implement keywords because your personal statement is near the top of your resume and you’re summarizing all your qualifications into one or two sentences.

Put some keywords in it!


There are also some words you should avoid using on your resume for a number of reasons.

Buzzwords can seem popular but don’t have much meaning or substance, which won’t help get your resume noticed.

Here are a handful of terms you should probably leave off your resume instead of more specific accomplishments:

  • References Available Upon Request
  • Highly Qualified
  • Detail Oriented
  • Hard Worker
  • Team Player
  • Go-getter

Of course, job ads with “generic” keywords mean that sometimes “generic” keywords should be used in your resume. 

If you must include them, tie them into more specific, relevant experience.


And finally, don’t forget your cover letter!

A resume is essentially a page advertising you as an employee, but the cover letter is where you can add some personality to your application and make your case for why you’re the best Personal Support Worker for the job.

Use your list of critical keywords in your cover letter as well to create a specific, targeted job application.

If there were keywords you couldn’t use on your resume, here’s where you should use them to explain why you don’t have them or how you plan to obtain them.

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Avlin is passionate about helping aspirants become better personal support workers. He is an entrepreneur and runs a clinic in Toronto.

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