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Resume Tips: Keywords

Are your resumes getting lost in the shuffle? Optimize your resume with keywords!

Did you know that EVERY time you send a new resume to a potential employer, you should be updating the content and tailoring the language in your resume to the language in the job posting?

As it happens, most staffing agencies and employers use software called an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS. This software specifically scans through the different candidate resumes and outputs the candidates that most closely match the keywords listed in the job description. This kind of software is programmed to accomplish many types of tasks, like keyword search, rank-order systems based on the frequency that desired keywords appear, and more.

One way to determine the keywords that will be most valuable to you and return the most results is to scan the job postings of positions that are similar to the title you are applying to. You will want to look for buzzwords and words that may be repeated multiple times. These will be good choices to add as keywords to your resume. The section of the resume that most often houses these keywords are under “responsibilities”, “requirements”, “qualifications”, etc.

A second great route to determine potential keywords that you should sprinkle into your resume is by conducting sufficient research on the company you are applying to. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important. The social media accounts and website of your target company often will use specific language that is incorporated into what is called a “brand voice,” or the qualities that embody that brand like positive, friendly, and down-to-earth.

For instance, the company may describe themselves as philanthropic or creative, you will want to use those adjectives where you can in your resume. This shows your target company that you did your homework to get to know who they are as an organization, and that you also worked to highlight the skills and qualities that most closely resemble what the hiring individuals are looking for in their ideal candidate.

How about an example? Let’s say that you are applying to a data analyst job posting. Have you had that job title before? If so, list all those instances that you served as a data analyst under a “Relevant Experience” section. You can then list any additional past work that you would like to highlight under an “Additional Experience” section. Also, don’t forget to scan for those words that might appear often – for a data analyst role, these may be words like “develop”, “enhance”, or “formula creation”. Words that appear frequently often indicate what is most important to a hiring manager.

One way to quickly determine what skills are listed most is to use a free online word cloud tool, such as https://monkeylearn.com/word-cloud/. Copy a job description, paste it into the word cloud tool, and generate a word cloud. Words listed most often will appear in the word cloud as the largest text, making it very easy for you to know which words you should incorporate into your resume for a particular job opening.

Here’s an example of an IT business analyst job description put into a word cloud in order to determine the most important keywords to incorporate into a resume if you were to apply for this role.

Now, you have key action items for the next time you’re preparing to send your resume off for a new job opportunity. Chances are that taking advantage of these keywords and adding additional information that you learned about the organization and its values will put you in a better position to be offered that first interview.

Are you ready to get started? View APC’s list of available job opportunities with a range of impressive clients at http://bit.ly/alljobsapc. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sources:

  1. Doyle, A. (2020, February 19). Get Your Resume Noticed with Resume Keywords. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/resume-keywords-and-tips-for-using-them-2063331
  2. Editorial Team, Indeed. (2021, May 05). How to Use Keywords and Phrases in Your Resume and Cover Letter (With Tips and Examples). Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/resume-keywords-and-phrases
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