Do you keep hearing that you must use resume keywords or key phases but have no idea what they are? How do resume keywords help you stand out from other applicants? Often times, companies will receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for a position within their organization. The Hiring Manager can’t possibly read that many resumes. So, they will often use a software program in which they can enter a predetermined list of key words for the system to search when doing the initial resume screening. In order for your resume to be forwarded to the hiring manager for the second review, those keywords must be in your resume. But how do you know what those words are?
Typically, you would use the job poster as one avenue to identify the keywords. What skills are they looking for? What interpersonal skills does the ideal candidate possess? That’s a good place to start when choosing the best keywords. But, is everyone using this approach? And if so, how will that make you stand out? You could also do some research on the company, and identify some of the traits they have identified on their website. Find competencies that may not be listed on the job poster and include those on your resume. Does the company welcome diversity? If so, you might want to include that you are bilingual. What is the industry language or standard? Can you incorporate those words into your resume? Make sure they are relevant to the position for which you are applying. Think about the words that might be typed into the automated program for screening.
Keywords are usually nouns, not descriptors, i.e. “Manager” is more likely to be used than “Managed. “Software Developer” is a better key phrase than “Developed Software”. What words will the company use that will ensure they get the best pool of qualified candidates? Target your resume with those keywords in mind. After you have considered these tips, if you are still struggling with ways to improve your resume, don’t be afraid to reach out to an expert like a certified career coach, who will be able to help you target your resume to the job for which you are applying.
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