Keywords are the precise words that hiring managers look for on a resume as a quick check on your skills and background. For example, their ad for a sales person might include the words “sales team,” “account management,” “customer relationship management,” and “CRM software.” They look for those keywords (either by reading or by computer search) in every resume they receive.
Some job applicants list all the keywords they can think of in their resume: one keyword after another with no explanation.
I don’t like keyword lists because they tempt job applicants to exaggerate their skills. It’s easy to add yet another keyword to the list even if you lack the skills that go with it. Therefore, instead of creating a list, you should make keywords a vital part of your real record of achievements.
If your skills match the company’s keywords, good for you. If you do not have the right skills, the company always finds out during the interview. You waste the company’s time, but worst of all you set yourself up for failure.
That’s why my resumes concentrate on achievements. If you have the right skills, you should also have the right achievements. Your achievements demonstrate more than a talent for creating lists. You used your skills in a way that profited your old company, and you are able to learn and apply new skills. Maybe you do not know the exact CRM program the company listed in its ad. But if you have a strong record of achievement with another CRM program and the ability, the company might be willing to train you so that you can achieve the same results with their CRM program. That’s a much better outcome for both of you.
If you feel that keywords are keeping you from the job you want, email or give me a call. I will strengthen your resume and help you focus your job search on employers who need the skills you really have.