Keywords: Golden Key to a Resume Recruiters Will Read

keywordsHave you submitted resumes to countless companies… and gotten zilch in return?

Keywords are the lifeblood of resumes — particularly because, in this job market, employers are bombarded with thousands of resumes per application. A common (perhaps the most common) resume blunder is failing to include searchable keywords that correspond to the job seeker’s skills and the desired position.

Without keywords, your resume is as good as dead.

Recruiters and employers often search for candidates on job boards and social media platforms… using keywords of interest to them.

The resumes they will find will be those that match the specific keywords relevant to their industry, the job description and culture. And if you hand out hardcopy resumes (at a job fair, for instance) the use of keywords makes it easier for employers to quickly scan your resume and immediately determine if they should spend more time considering you.

If your resume lacks the right keywords, chances are, no matter how perfect your resume (and cover letter) may seem, it will be tossed out.

So what are the keywords? We asked a couple career and HR experts to help produce a guide of the types of must-have keywords employers look for. Does your resume include the following?

1. Specific Skills Relevant to Each Position

Your resume should highlight all of your skills – and practical use of those skills – that directly apply to your desired job, says Kathryn Ullrich, Executive Search Consultant and author of Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success.

For instance, if you’re looking for a job as a marketing representative, you should include “not just [the term] marketing, but marketing expertise in consumer analytics or lead generation campaigns or social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn),” she said.

2. Buzzwords and Acronyms

Ullrich says you should: “Use the buzzwords, acronyms and associations” that correlate to your expertise and skills.

There is sometimes a negative connotation to the term “buzzword.” They tend to be niche-specific, or used for marketing. But a resume is a form of marketing – and you’re marketing your expertise in a particular niche. So buzzwords that pertain to your field are essential to your resume. So, flaunt your stuff… and include the professional lingo that you and your coworkers use on a daily basis.

For instance, a candidate looking to land a great position as a business process analyst should incorporate any relevant experience he or she has using analysis software, such as Oracle Financials, SAP, PMO, Excel, IS project, database maintenance, PMP, etc.

3. Tailor to the Position

Steve Langerud, Director of Professional Opportunities at DePauw University, clarifies that job seekers should focus on putting “their skills into the language and context of their next employer and not just regurgitate their past experience.”

In order to become a serious competitor and gain a strong advantage as a candidate, you must go the extra mile and tailor each of your resumes to a particular job posting by embedding keywords most relevant to each position and the company.

For instance, if Ullrich sets out to find the perfect product manager for a major consulting company, she looks for candidates who have had experience working at similar consulting companies — someone who has experience dealing with software and processes similar to her client.

4. ‘Increase’ and ‘Impact’

Langerud also makes the point that hiring managers and recruiters like to see positive results, and impact, on resumes.

“When you can document something has changed for the better, say it!” Langerud explains. “The word ‘increased’ by itself speaks volumes. Tied to numbers it becomes magic for an employer.”

This is particularly important for people looking for a job as a sales representative. Professionals need to be particularly specific about any type of successful sales number, clients, volume, and context, Langerud said.

Tailor your resume using keywords… and see if maybe your job search doesn’t take an immediate turn for the better.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at CareerBliss!


A common (perhaps the most common) resume blunder is failing to include searchable keywords that correspond to the job seeker’s skills and the desired position.



About the Author: Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. When Ritika’s not writing, she’s obsessing over social media (and listening to Jay Z!). Follow Ritika on Twitter!



This entry was posted in Job Search, Resumes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.