You’ve probably heard quite a bit about keywords in terms of your resume. So, what are they and how can they help you land the next job? Keywords are a lot more than just a list of things you think a company is looking for in your background. There was even a trend for a while to add a huge list of words at the end of a resume in hopes it would be caught by resume tracking systems. But there is a lot more to it than that. Here’s why keywords are important and how to use them effectively.
- Be specific. While you may assume you’ll get more attention if you use a lot of key words, it may backfire. Most recruiters or hiring managers skim a resume in just a few seconds to see if the right words catch their eyes. If the right words are buried in a lot of copy, it may become overwhelming and be passed over.
- Keep them relevant. Here is where you may want to consider customizing your resume every time you apply to a different position. For example, if you’re applying for a position in an accounting environment, don’t focus on keywords that speak to your administrative experience. Be relevant for every position to try to get the right attention for your background and get a call back.
- Use a mix. This sounds like it may contradict the previous point, but it really doesn’t. In this case, it means to use a mix of keywords that demonstrate you as a well-rounded candidate for their job. Use keywords to focus on your experience, soft skills, industry-specific words, your certifications, and anything that will still be relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
- Write for human eyes. Finally, so many people want to create a resume that will get past resume bots. And while you do have to keep this in mind, know that the final decision will be in human hands. The decision makers will start by glancing at the resume to see if it includes the specific words they’re looking for. If they see them, they’ll read more. You want to encourage them to give you a call by weaving the keywords into a professional narrative that matches what they want to see.
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