Adding Keywords to Your Resume
Hiring managers scan resumes for keywords that they included in their job descriptions. Many companies are even using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan for those keywords and eliminate resumes that are missing them. By embedding keywords in your resume, you will demonstrate that you fit the requirements of the position and help you pass the initial scanning phase.
The following keyword tips will help your resume stay at the top of the pile.
Pick Terms Used in the Job Description
Turn to the job description as your guide. You’ll find keywords included among the qualifications and responsibilities. Select those that align with your knowledge and skills. Reinforce as appropriate in your summary of current and past positions.
Keep Keywords Specific
Job descriptions present only the surface of all you have accomplished thus far in your career. Even job responsibility terms fall short of stating the depth of skill you have acquired. Be specific and succinct so that hiring managers have a clear picture of your capabilities.
- Example: Rather than “human resource specialist” state “managed employee engagement and retention.”
Make It Active!
Avoid the pitfall of passive language. Write in active voice by making the subject in the sentence perform the action.
- Example: Managed a team that increased new portfolio accounts by 20% within six months of promotion.
Write Data-Driven Descriptions
Make skill and accomplishment descriptions shine by using data or success outcomes. This adds to the active language you are infusing into your resume. Recruitment and hiring managers will quickly get the sense that you are a dynamic, action-oriented employee.
- The example above combines active voice with a data description.
Keep It Real
Turn to the thesaurus to search for fresh keywords. At the same time, keep your selection real. Choose terms that are in your resume, or that you use regularly during conversations. At the same time, be sure that your resume does not appear to be intentionally stuffed with key words.
Write with Applicant Tracking Systems in Mind
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and applicant tracking systems (ATS) are now central to many organizations’ recruitment and hiring processes. Sharpen your AI and ATS knowledge to hone in on optimum keywords. Select those that best describe your experience and use a few times in your resume. That, and an error-free resume assures you won’t be BOT-bypassed!
For more resume tips, check out Why and How to Write a Cover Letter
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