In a lot of ways, writing a resume is like writing a website: Content is paramount, and you never want to detract from the story you’re telling—but at the same time, it helps to be mindful of keywords. Keywords help people find the information they’re interested in. If you want the people who are searching for you to find you, keywords are the breadcrumbs you use to lead them in the right direction.
Why Keywords Matter
A recent Forbes article highlights the significance of keywording in the resume writing process. “When a hiring manager has an open position to fill, he or she meets with an HR representative to create the job description,” the article states. “This document usually includes a brief paragraph about the position, a list of job responsibilities and a list of job requirements (such as knowledge, skills, experience and education). After the job description is written, the hiring manager and HR representative determine the keywords and keyword phrases that are unique to the job. These keywords are essentially the qualifications, experience and characteristics they are looking for in a new hire.”
The Forbes article goes on to note that many companies now use computer programs that scan resumes for keywords and provide rankings of the resumes that best meet the job criteria. In other words, a piece of software will tell companies if your resume has enough pertinent keywords in it—and if it doesn’t, your resume may never get looked at by human eyes.
How to Include More Keywords
So how are jobseekers supposed to know which keywords to include, and how do they work them into their resumes? Here are three quick tips:
- Use keywords from the job posting itself. Look at the job description to which you’re applying, whether it’s on a company website or on Monster.com. Does it make use of phrases like project management? If so, then you’d best include those phrases on your resume. The job posting should provide you with the concepts, skills, and terminology that your resume needs to include, so always follow its lead; and yes, this means customizing your resume for each new job you apply for.
- Create a Core Competencies section at the top of your resume. This should be just a bulleted list of keywords, including those taken from the job posting itself. This makes it easy for hiring managers to zero in on the data they’re looking for.
- Review those keywords before you go in for an interview. Make sure you know how to speak the same language as your interviewer, and tell him or her what the company is looking to hear.
To learn more about resume writing or the specifics of the keyword process, we invite you to contact the Grammar Chic team today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.