AI and Job Searching

Let’s talk about finding a job online. Have you ever applied for a job online and been rejected before you could even take a sip of coffee?

What’s going on here is a bit complicated, though it can be explained with one term: artificial intelligence.

So what happens when you apply for a job online? And what can you do to increase your chances of getting a job?

These days it would be hard to find an organization or company that isn’t using AI to find employees. Here’s what they do: employers use AI tools to scan job applications and resumes for “keywords.”

Keywords are words or phrases that an employer programs into AI technology to scan your application or resume.

So if an employer for, say, a retail store, is looking for someone with “organizational” skills — it will tell the AI tool to only accept or approve job applications where the applicant used the word “organizational.” If the word “organizational” doesn’t appear in the resume then the resume won’t make it past the first round — it won’t make it the next step of being read by a human.

This is a big change from the way things used to be. And it’s a tough one. There’s no doubt that the advent of “keywords” makes the hiring process easier — but AI can make the applying process harder for you. And it can keep great candidates out of opportunities they are well suited for.

The good news, though, is that there’s a simple trick you can use to increase your chances of making it past the first round. Use the job listing to your advantage. Read the job description carefully. The keywords you need to use in your application are right there.

For example, if you want to apply for a job with a big retailer that requires “sales and customer service” experience, then you need to use that exact language on your application. You have to customize your resume and application for each job you are applying for. One size does not fit all in job searching. Read job descriptions carefully. Use the same language the employer uses. Let the AI behind the scenes work FOR you.

Here’s are some examples of keywords in action:

Instead of writing: “I work with customers.”
You could write: “I work as a customer service representative.”

Instead of: “I work the register.”
Try: “I manage all sales.”

If you are going for a manger type of role:
Instead of:  “Sometimes I tell my coworkers what to do.”
How about: “I have managerial experience.”

Instead of: “I’m great under pressure.”
Consider: “I meet all deadlines.”

Key Facts

  • Artificial intelligence now scans all job applications before a human does. AI tools will reject applications if they do not meet the standards they were programmed with.
  • AI tools are looking for keywords — words that the employee told the AI to look for.
  • You can find the right keywords by reading job listings carefully and using the same language you find there.
  • There are websites, and apps such that perform keyword searches that can assist you.
  • Rewrite your cover letter to include the keywords you found in the application. Use the job listing to your advantage.
  • The process of applying for a job online is very streamlined, but can still offer up a few snags. Make sure your resume is in tip top shape by using a resume builder or any of the online job searching tools available to you (see below for more information) before you embark on your job searching journey. Just remember: patience, attention to detail, and persistence are key!


  • Keywords: Words or phrases that an employer programs into AI technology to scan your application or resume.
  • Keyword Finders: Websites or apps that scan job listings to find the most obvious keywords.
  • Online Job Searching Tools: There are websites and tools out there that can assist you in your job search. As an example, you can use a resume scanner to analyze the formatting and language of your resume, comparing it to other, successful resumes.
  • Resume Builders: There are plenty of tools and services online — some free, some paid — that can help you build a resume from scratch, or offer suggestions as to how you can improve what you already have.

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