Using Strategic Resume Keywords

KeywordsEver wonder why your professional resume is not getting the attention you feel it deserves or you don’t get offered an interview for a position you have all the right qualifications for?

The answer may be as simple as using strategic keywords in your resume!

With the high volume of applications employers receive for each position, more and more companies are using automated resume screening systems to search for keywords including specific skills, experience or software and technology competencies they require of suitable candidates. Even if you do get a human to screen your resume, hiring managers are typically looking for key skills and experiences to quickly set a limited number of applicants apart from the rest of the pile.

When you begin the process of resume writing, in order to ensure that your resume makes it through these keyword screening tactics, you should:

Identify keywords in your industry.

You can do this by exploring job postings in job search engines for your career field and taking note of keywords that frequently pop up. Many employers will search for industry-specific jargon, software and database systems in your resume that they feel a top candidate should have experience with. You may have all the right qualifications an employer is looking for, but if you don’t know how to communicate them in the same way employers want, your chances of an interview drop significantly.

The best place to find the keywords specific employers are looking for is in the actual job opening description. Read the job posting carefully and identify the qualifications/ skills/ competencies listed on that position. Consider this as your “cheat sheet” to getting the position. The employer is spelling out exactly what they want in an ideal candidate. Of course you should never lie about your qualifications or experiences, but by customizing your resume to include the keywords you have that the employer lists on the job posting, you can drastically improve your chances of getting an interview.

Where to include keywords:

Depending on the type of keywords you find in a job posting, which can include desired skills, technological competencies or key experiences, you can add keywords to a “Qualifications Summary” or “Key Skills and Competencies” section at the beginning of your resume. You can also add keywords when you highlight your responsibilities and achievements in past professional experiences.

Examples of keywords:

Examples of keywords in the Manufacturing industry could include: asset management; capacity planning; cell manufacturing; cost reductions; distribution management; outsourcing; materials coordinator; on-time delivery; and shipping and receiving operation.

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