Why Resume Keywords are So Important
Resume keywords must make statements that excite and entice employers to desire an interview with you. Choosing the right resume words and getting them in the right order is how you get interviews. Words: your resume, cover letter, follow up letters, and phone conversations are about the only communication you have with an employer to impress them and cause them to contact you for an interview.
In addition, the Fortune 500 and many other companies use software to scan resumes for keywords and select the ones that match the most relevant words to review first. Employers can also enter negative keywords in their scanning databases; words that will eliminate your resume.
Resume writing has become a science of resume lexicon.
Where to Get Resume Keywords: The Three Sources
The Resume Dictionary has selected the words that have impact and the power to sell you. Words are also added regularly. These words assist your resume statements of accomplishments and knowledge, skills, and abilities to talk to the reader (employer or HR personnel.) Words have psychological impact and the power to cause action. Just like most marketing you have seconds to convey your message: “You want to interview me!”
Note: If a word becomes overused or ‘tired’ the word might be eliminated or retired. The book: ‘197 Words You Should Not Use on Your Resume‘ is free from the Resume Dictionary and lists words that HR personnel and employers have found objectionable.
The Resume Dictionary has power words (which are mostly adjectives and adverbs) and includes sample resume statements for each power resume word. They can be found by list or by category. Resume keyword phrases are categories that include knowledge, skills, and abilities classifications that employers want and often post in job descriptions. These include categories such as: Attention to Details, Self Motivation, Creative Skills, Management Skills, and so on.
The second source for resume keywords is found in the employer job description. You can find out how to use the job description to get the skill categories the employer is seeking and mine the employer’s keywords to create a job resume that focuses on a specific employer and position.
The third source of resume words, if you are willing to go the extra mile and do a little homework, can be found in the corporate culture of the company. By researching the company website, press releases, competition, products, and any articles about the business you can often discover some vocabulary and language specific to the industry and company that can be incorporated into your resume statements.
How to Use Resume Keywords
Once you have a list of resume keywords getting them in the right order is accomplished by creating resume statements. These statements are placed in the resume objective, in summaries, in experience descriptions, under education, and on your cover letter. The statements must demonstrate something desirable or of importance to a potential employer.
Your statements must show a potential employer how you benefited a previous employer. Your statements must also be convincing or believable. Stating measurable results will make your resume convincing.
A resume statement that says:
“Reduced employee turnover by implementing new hiring system,”
is not as convincing as
“Reduced employee turnover by 17% annually by implementing new hiring system.”
Use the Resume Dictionary Proven Results Formula to write power statements to make your resume convincing. The formula:
Relevant Knowledge/Skill/Ability + Specific Performance/Instance/Accomplishment (Proven Results) = Power Statement
See how to write a resume with power words for more help.
Where to Use Resume Keywords
For a long time many resume writers suggested stuffing your resume with keywords and that the first paragraph or 100 words was the most important. While getting the right keywords into your resume is vital, every keyword must be used in a way that makes sense. This is why the how of using keywords is so important. Keywords should be used throughout your resume and cover letter in accomplishment statements and where they make the most sense.
Resume Keyword Tips:
- Develop your keyword list from all three sources: The Resume Dictionary, the employer job posting, and corporate culture.
- Review the 197 negative keywords and keep them off your resume.
- Develop a keyword list for each job you apply for and customize your resume. Keep copies of your resumes to use for similar positions. Review employer websites and read the company’s mission statement for possible bonus keywords that make your resume a ‘good fit’ for the employer.
- If you are posting your resume on job boards review your resume for the most relevant keywords. Changing keywords to more relevant ones or adding keywords for hot skills can increase your chances of getting responses.
- When you are sending a resume by email make sure you are sending a “scan able” resume. If the employer gives no specific instructions about what file format to send, include a text version of your resume within the body of your email as well as an attachment. Your attachment should be an MSWord document (that has been scanned for viruses). You might want to send a
- Review your keyword list and use the ones in the employer job posting in your cover letter. While your resume might be scanned by a computer your cover letter will probably be scanned by a human. Use the custom fields in the OneClick Cover Letter Creator for keywords.
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