Resume Keywords

Most employment agencies and large companies today use databases to quickly and efficiently match job openings with qualified job-seekers Since all resumes, once submitted, are standardized and screening is carried out wholly on the basis of content, it becomes extremely important for a job searcher to use text-based or scannable industry- or job-specific resumes by incorporating keywords and phrases related to the specific position applied for. The general rule is to have a resume containing 25-35 keywords that relate to the job or industry. These keywords can be job-specific skills, technological terms, technical expertise, job titles, certifications, names of products and services, industry buzzwords and jargon, types of degrees, names of colleges, company names, and even area codes (for narrowing down searches geographically). Awards you've won and names of professional organizations to which you belong can even be used as keywords.

Writing a great resume is an art form, particularly now that keywords are so crucial to a resume's success. There are plenty of professional resume writers and companies that specialize in resume help who guarantee that they will get you a job interview. Resume writing can be a daunting and intimidating process, so you may want to consider this help rather than trying to create your own resume. If you do decide to do it on your own, you may want to first examine the many resume examples available for free in virtually every employment niche. See Job-Specific Resumes for a variety of resumes to choose from.

Using Action Verbs and Keywords

Good traditional resumes are based on emphasizing action verbs to describe achievements and accomplishments. This rule is still applicable for job-specific resumes, but the important thing here is "what" you perform in relation to the action –the "what" is usually a keyword. Refer to these examples where . The action verbs below are in italics and the keywords that relate to the action verbs are in bold.

  • Worked closely with product marketing during development to ensure that products and services met market needs and were executed on time and on budget.
  • Devised and executed litigation strategies that consistently produced optimal results for clients.

An approach that is generally used while writing industry-specific resumes is to "front-load" the resume with keywords early in the document. Sections like "Profile" or "Certifications" may be filled with relevant keywords in context, to include as many key phrases as possible into the document. And after the initial screening by the search software, humans may also screen your resume. In their first run-through, they will also scan for keywords.

Though search software may only scan the first hundred words or so of your resume, keywords should also appear in the rest of your resume beyond the profile or summary section because keywords may also be weighted and your resume ranked according to how many times mandatory words appear in your resume. It’s a fact that those job-specific resumes with the greatest "keyword density" will be chosen for the next round of screening.

In order to determine the keyword density of your resume, highlight all the words in it that would probably be considered keywords, based on your research. A resume containing 25-35 keywords is the general rule for a job-specific resume, so if you have fewer than that number, try to fill each section of your resume with relevant keywords in varying forms.

In recent years large employers and search firms have been limiting their use of large general sites due to the number of unqualified applicant resumes they receive. When submitting your resume online, try concentrating on industry-specific websites or professional/trade organizations, depending on how specific the skills and requirements are for your industry. Click on Job Search for suggestions about where to submit your job-specific resumes. Click here for a list of action verbs.