Resume keywords are imperative to helping to get your resume noticed. By including keywords in your resume, you’ll greatly increase your chances of gaining attention and landing a job interview.

So what are keywords?

Keywords are words or short phrases that relate to particular requirements for a job. They are the skills, abilities, credentials and qualities that a hiring manager looks for in a candidate, that will indicate an individual has the right experience or expertise the company is seeking to add.

When a hiring manager looks through a pile of resumes, he or she scans each resume to find these keywords. Often, these hiring individuals will spend less than a minute or two per resume, looking for this important information.

Many companies even use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen the resumes and cover letters of candidates for job openings using automation and artificial intelligence. One way an ATS works is to select only resumes that include certain keywords. By including keywords in your resume, you will demonstrate that you fit the requirements of the position.

Here are a few tips on how you can use keywords to help you land the job interview you are hoping for.

  • Be specific. Include keywords that are as closely related to the specific job as possible. You can often find these keywords within the job posting itself under “qualifications” or “responsibilities.” The more focused and specific you are in your language, the better the chance you’ll have at showing you are a good match and get picked up by resume scanning software.
  • Use as many keywords as possible. Make sure you have touched on most, if not all, of the keywords that are pertinent to each position. However, the keywords must be appropriate and flow seamlessly throughout your resume; after an ATS selects your resume, it will likely be read by humans, so jamming massive collections of random keywords into your resume is not suggested. (Of course, do not use a skill keyword if you don’t have that skill!)
  • Mix up the keywords. Using a wide variety of keywords will show that you have all of the diverse qualities necessary for the job. Also, the company’s resume scanning software might be programmed for a particular keyword (or even a specific spelling), so you’ll want to include synonyms of the keywords in your resume descriptions. By using multiple versions of keywords and phrases, your resume will have a better chance of getting picked up by a scanning program.
  • Put the keywords everywhere. In order for an employer or a scanning program to find your keywords, place keywords throughout your resume. You might incorporate these words into your cover letter, past job descriptions, the skills section of your resume, and any other part of your resume that seems appropriate.
  • A job search is most effective when you plan to address the needs of all audiences you might encounter. Your chances of being selected for an interview are much higher when your resume satisfies both audiences – automated and human. By following these tips for using keywords within your resume, you are more likely to land that coveted job interview.

    (written by: wc)

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