More and more often, employers and recruiters use computer programs to look through resumes for keywords and then discard the resumes that do not contain those words.
What are keywords? A keyword is a single word or a phrase describing a specific skill or achievement that the employer considers to be critical for the job. It could be the name of a software program (Excel, MySQL), a specific license or college degree (MBA), a job title (Manager, CEO) or an industry-specific term (profit and loss statement, fractionation). Sometimes the computer program searches for one set of words but the resume uses another set to describe the same thing. For example, the program searches for “profit and loss” but the resume refers to “P&L.” When that happens, a resume might be discarded even though the applicant has the required skill.
How do you know which keywords to use? Keywords can be found in the job description in a company’s advertisement or online posting. If a word or phrase appears frequently in similar job postings by other companies, it is probably a critical keyword for that industry.
How many keywords should you put in your resume? One estimate says that for federal jobs a resume must contain 95% of the keywords for that job. Estimates for keywords in corporate resumes vary widely (I’ve seen recommendations for from 4 to 25 or more keywords). As important as keywords are, you must be honest in using them. If you don’t have the skill, degree or license that a keyword describes, you don’t have it.
How can you create a keyword-rich resume? As a professional resume writer, I know how to work important keywords into your resume and still create a readable document. I can also advise you on which keywords are likely to become the focus of a search. If you fear that your resume is being unfairly discarded because it lacks the right keywords, give me a call today at Robin’s Resumes®.