4 Keys to Keywords

 In Resumes and Cover Letters

4 Keys to KeywordsYou may have heard by now that you should have keywords on your resume.  These keywords are core competencies that describe different aspects of your skill set.  As a certified resume writer I find that even though some people who write their own resumes try to include keywords, they often miss the mark in terms of what employers are actually looking for.

Here are some quick tips on keywords:

Why keywords are critical. These days most resumes are scanned into a resume database after candidates submit them. Recruiters then search those resume databases for their perfect candidates by using keywords. If you don’t have keywords on your resume, your resume may never see the light of day.

How to identify keywords. Find several vacancy announcements for the type of position that you are seeking and then look for overlap in the terms that are used in the announcements. After awhile you will start to see terms like strategic planning or database management used repeatedly in the announcements. These are the keywords that you should include on your resume.

How to balance the resume with keywords. You should have a section immediately underneath the professional summary titled Core Competencies. This is where you should include the keywords. That way the keywords are at the top of the resume and are easily found. You can also judiciously sprinkle keywords in the Professional Experience section.

How to grab the attention of recruiters. If you want to impress recruiters after they have pulled up your resume in a keyword search, make sure that you show how you have used the skills reflected in those keywords on the job. It is most effective if you can include accomplishments on your resume that show that you have those core competencies (which are the same as the keywords).

Incorporating keywords into your resume increases the likelihood that your resume will get noticed by recruiters.

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert who has regularly been quoted in The Ladders, the Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, and CNN Money.  She is a career coach, resume writer, and LinkedIn expert.  Download 5 Master Strategies to Land a Job Through Social Media at www.calltocareer.com.

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