Using keywords in a resume is a critical step to getting attention. When you are applying for a job, one of the first things that will happen with your resume is that it will be run through a computerized system that scans the application and your resume for keywords. These are specific words that the employer is looking for all candidates to have. In short, it is critical to use specific words on your professional resume if you want these computer systems to stop on your resume. If they do not, it could mean that your ability to get an interview is limited
For the sake of this article, let’s use an example of a sales executive.
A common list of keywords that a sales executive may use includes the following: account relationships, market penetration, and consultative sales. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with creating a generic keyword list, the resume will have more punch if the keywords are accompanied with results or action.
As an example, replace account relationship with “Maintain Strong Account Relationships,” market penetration with “Increased Market Penetration,” and Consultative Sales with “Implement Consultative Sales Strategies.” Adding a result or an action ensures the hiring manager knows the sales executive included a keyword section because it was an integral part of the resume and not just a filler for software purposes.
A keyword section isn’t the only place a where you should include keywords.
Keywords should appear throughout your resume. The challenging job seekers have is not repeating the same keywords in the keyword section and the body of the resume. Variety is key. You have to think of different ways represent the same information.
In the Professional Experience section, the keywords in the sentences need to appear seamless. When keywords are crammed into a sentence, the resume doesn’t read naturally.
On resumes, keywords are a key component of the information you include. You may have no idea what types of words the employer has listed.
Keep the following in mind when selecting keywords in a resume.
1 - Include information about the education you have. Education keywords include the names of the schools you went to, the specific degree you received, and the specific types of courses you took. Look for industry-specific education keywords that help you to stand out.
2 - Include keywords about job skills you have. Job skills keywords include terms commonly used to describe the tasks you know how to do. This may include your ability to work on specific types of programs or job skills keywords could be words that describe the types of tasks you are capable of doing.
3 - Include information about your accomplishments. Accomplishment keywords include awards you’ve received, sales records you broke, or words defining the industry-specific achievements you have made.
4 - Choose power keywords as well. Power keywords are those that are action verbs. You did not just get an award; you earned an award. You did not just work for the company; you gained experience from the company. Look for ways to include power keywords in your resume.
5 - Other terms that may fit into your job resume should be those that show the type of person you are. Are you honest, reliable, and dependable? Do you have the drive, passion, and the right attitude?
Selecting which keywords to target is crucial to the success of your job search. Read through job descriptions to pinpoint words that are central to your position and make sure those words appear throughout your resume. When using keywords in a resume, be specific. Be sure that your actual resume reads well but that it includes any specific keywords that your employer may be looking for in a job applicant. When you do this, you reduce the risk of ending up not a candidate for a job opening. Otherwise, you may be qualified for the open position, but your resume will not be among the ones selected by the resume software.