Do you Have the Right Keywords in your Resume?

Example of some possible resume keywords for an Office Manager targeting the Manufacturing industry.

During an in depth resume writing discussion with my hairdresser recently, she asked if there was such a thing as a keyword software system which has the ability to identify specific words in your resume…

She was surprised to find that there most certainly is.

This keyword-finding tool is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). It’s specifically designed for recruitment tracking purposes and can match a candidate’s skills, experience and qualifications to the role they’ve applied for, by automatically creating a shortlist that the recruiting team can then delve into further.

Some Applicant Tracking Systems not only track candidates from an ad response, but also through candidate database searches, where information and keywords are entered by the recruitment professional in order to source the best candidates already on their database.

Why are resume keywords important?

Although, not every company has an ATS capable of picking up keywords, it doesn’t mean you should forget about adding relevant keywords to your resume. If a company’s computer system doesn’t scan your resume first, a human will, and chances are they will likely be looking for similar phrases or words that an ATS would be seeking.

Choosing relevant keywords

Identifying appropriate keywords can be tricky and a little time consuming, but it is a worthwhile process if you want to improve your chances of being shortlisted for a position.

When updating your resume, it’s best not to take a “one size fits all” approach – ideally your resume should be tweaked each time you submit an application. If you take the time to tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying, you’re more likely to ensure you have the right keywords appearing in your resume.

One way of doing this is by looking at the selection criteria or key responsibilities mentioned in the ad (or if you can get hold of a job description that’s even better!) If the role is a good match, you should already have some of the skills, experience and qualifications that the company is seeking.

Scattering keywords effectively in your resume

Once you have an idea of the keyword criteria, it’s beneficial to scatter the words throughout your resume.  Some Applicant Tracking Systems are so complex that they may not select a candidate that only has minimal use of the keyword in their resume.

If you’ve identified that “Training” is an important keyword, you could add “Training” under a skills section, then back it up by incorporating it as an achievement under your professional experience. e.g. “Developed a staff training programme aimed at improving customer service levels and successfully rolled it out to 120 employees nationally”.

Beat your competition with a keyword savvy resume

Resume keywords are just one of the many ways you can impress recruitment professionals and stand out from the crowd. Having viewed thousands upon thousands of resumes during my recruitment career, I know that the majority of candidate’s aren’t aware of the importance of keywords (or perhaps they just don’t care enough to tweak their resume to include the right ones!)

So why don’t you get one up on your competition and ensure the right keywords are in your resume next time you submit a job application?

As always we’re keen to hear what you have to say, so if you have any questions about resume keywords, or the information contained in this blog post, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email us.

Lisa Andrews is the Chief Blogger, Resume Writer and Founder of Juicy Resumes. She is passionate about assisting others to achieve their career aspirations and has a LOVE of writing. With a solid recruitment background in Australia and New Zealand, Lisa understands what it takes to ensure you stand out in the employment industry.

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