Using Keywords Effectively in Your Resume

Using Keywords Effectively in Your Resume

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Keywords are extremely important in today’s job market. In fact, about 80 percent of employers search submitted applications for keywords when deciding which resumes are worth a second look. Consequently, you need to think carefully about both industry and position keywords as you write your resume. Whether hiring managers use a computer system or simply scan applications with their eyes, they are looking for specific words that point to an applicant’s qualifications.

How do you figure out which keywords you need to include? The first step is to look at the posting for the job. Anything listed on the job description as a requirement is most likely a keyword. While you should never lie or stretch the truth on your resume, you can use these keywords to begin building a case for yourself based on your unique history. Be sure to highlight the experiences and positions that speak most closely to those keywords. Keywords include specialized skills, degrees, languages, or even companies that you have worked for in the past.

You may want to consider adding a Skills Summary section to the top of your resume. This section allows you to include all of the keywords at the top of the document so that computerized tracking systems are sure to scan them and recruiter can immediately see how your experiences align with expectations for a given position.

Once you have established these keywords at the top of your resume, continue incorporating them throughout the document. You should repeat each of the keywords, especially the crucial ones, a few times because applicant tracking systems will make density calculations. Also, try to use different abbreviations of a keyword if they exist. For example, state MBA in the skills section but then spell out the degree as master of business administration in the education section.

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