Importance of Resume Keywords

Resume keywords are an essential word or series of words, relevant to the particular job you are applying for. Keywords are used to match up accomplished applicants – mention the specific keywords for your field and you have a greater chance of qualifying for an interview. If you are at all familiar with Search Engine Optimization for websites, then you will understand a little clearly; without these keywords, you will not even be seen.

resume keywords

Technology has altered the recruitment market indefinitely. Numerous companies now use the assistance of a computerised Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to help them sort through the myriad of applications they receive for each position. In the case of bigger companies, this could be hundreds or even thousands of applicants, and a huge task if someone were to manually sort through them.

In many cases, it is the ATS that has the arduous function of managing the first stage of the recruitment process. This computer application matches distinct keywords to the resume to determine an applicant’s suitability, an undertaking previously carried out by HR related staff. Large and small companies have started to realise the multiple benefits of using an ATS to search for keywords as it saves much time and money in the process. More often than not, resumes will get rejected purely on the quality of the keywords as concluded by the computer.

For companies that don’t employ the use of an ATS, then keywords are still equally as influential. A recent study showed that recruiters spend on average just 6.25 seconds to make the impression. When you look at it like this, those keywords are critical than ever.

What resume keywords should you use?

So how do you select your resume keywords? The words will be a mix of individual words and phrases covering actions relevant to your job and weighted in terms of superiority. Some words will rate higher than others. Other words will be skills or terms related to your industry or specific only to your job description. You will not be told the keywords; at best, you need to make an educated guess.

We know that some tracking systems are less sophisticated than others and aren’t able to distinguish between words like “high-performance” and “high performance.” Your wisest choice is to use the words in the job description you’ve been reading because the ATS will be tailored to that.

Once you have established the type of role you wish to apply for, you can familiarise yourself with job postings both on and offline. Look at them long enough and you will start to see a pattern of unique phrases that continuously appear in the advertisements. Some of these, in all likelihood, will be keywords chosen by the hiring company to screen an applicant’s suitability.

How do you use keywords in your resume?

You may be tempted to put in as many keywords as you possibly can. This is best to be avoided at all costs. Known as keyword stuffing, it is only keywords that are used in context which will pass the second stage of the recruitment process, the human screening test. Quality content is just as necessary as the keywords you pepper throughout your resume.

Ensuring you use the correct form of resume keywords will also have far-reaching consequences; if you are in a management position then try a mixture of words like leader, manager, management, etc. to make sure you have some chance of getting, at least, one or two relevant words. It is crucial to use a handful of keywords in your cover letter as well.

Keywords are one of the many reasons generic resumes are no longer viable. You need to revise and update your resume for every application you send to prospective employers.

While you can utilize the services of online scans to check how optimised your resume is, remember they won’t be entirely accurate. To ensure that your next application gets your foot in the door, why not consider hiring a professional resume writer to assist with your keywords. This is really the only way you can guarantee that you have as good a chance as possible of securing an interview.

Author Bio :

Anne Maybus is the creative director of and also works as a content writer for Resumes For Results Australia. She have a BA and a Grad.Dip.Bus and a background that covers art, human resources and business.

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