Resume Keywords are Vital in Today’s Computer Driven Hiring
Keywords are words that make your resume stand out in the computer database and in the mind of the employer. They are words that relate to the job requirements, skills needed, training required, or other qualities that a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate.
Resume Keywords and Applicant Tracking Systems
Many companies are using applicant tracking systems to keep track of resumes received and to screen candidates for job openings. When these databases are used, resume keywords become even more important. The tracking system looks only for the resume keywords list specified by the employer and ignores similar words. Even the most qualified candidate can be overlooked if his resume lacks the right keywords. The applicant tracking software cuts down on the time required to sort through a large number of applicants to find those who are the most likely to have the desired skills and qualities.
Once the computer has identified the best candidates, the hiring manager quickly scans the resumes looking for resume keywords and phrases that make the candidate stand out. Your resume has only a few seconds to catch the attention of the hiring manager and get you noticed. Keywords are not the deciding factor in the decision to grant an interview, but without them you are relegated to the bottom of a large pile of resumes and will never have a fighting chance.
Keywords to Include in Your Resume
You can get a good idea of the specific keywords to include by reading and analyzing the job posting and description. The words used to describe the position and usually the same words used to search for a candidate. This is a good reason to take the care to tailor each resume to the specific job.
While the best resume keywords to use are highly specific to the particular job, here are some possible keywords for a few positions. Your keywords will be specific to the job you are applying for. These are meant as resume keywords examples and are not intended to be a comprehensive list:
- Customer service representative keywords: customer, service, computer skills, customer tracking, order entry, problem resolution.
- Keywords for an accounting position: accounting systems and controls, cash flow analysis, credit/debit management, management accounting, payroll management, profit and loss and other terms relative to the specific position.
- A few keywords for management positions: business analysis, contract negotiation, budgeting, profit and loss management, risk management
But these are not the only important words. Once the resumes are sorted for the initial keywords, they will be further scanned, either by computer or by the hiring manager. At this point, words and phrases that describe job skills, required credentials, and previous positions are also important. Use the words most likely to catch the attention of the hiring manager that are specific for the position.
When choosing the keywords to use, you need to look at the major categories of skills and qualifications that employers want. Then choose the most common keyword phrases for your position from each category. Some of the most common categories to include are listed below, but you may not use all the categories. For example, a position for a dancer may not need keywords from the computer skills category. These categories are meant to give you an idea of the types of keywords to include.
- Degrees or certifications, required training in your field
- Job titles
- Technical terms relating to your job
- Job-specific buzzwords
- Services performed
- Professional organizations or licenses
- Software used, especially job specific software—don’t bother listing word processing when the job requires engineering, drafting or other job specific software
The Pitfalls of Resume Templates
You may be tempted to use the most popular keywords on resume templates, thinking that this will give you the best resume, but this strategy can lead to an overlooked resume. Your keywords are vitally important and deserve proper consideration. Templates are good for giving you an idea about formatting, but relying too heavily on a template creates a resume that is exactly like your competition. You can’t stand out from the crowd when you use a template.
Writing a good resume is a skill that most job applicants don’t have. Templates help them create a passable resume, but they will never put your resume on top. For the best possible resume, you need a professional resume writer who knows your industry. At Resumes Land, we hire professionals who specialize in different job categories, so that they are always on top of the industry and know the most desirable skills and keywords to include. That sets our resumes apart and helps move them to the top of the stack.