Crafting an effective resume seems like a daunting task. You want to keep it organized and clear while including both the skills and qualifications you need for the job and the unique attributes you can bring to the position.
One of the most effective ways to hit all of those markers in your resume is to include certain resume keywords. Resume keywords highlight the specific abilities, skills, and traits that hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in a candidate.
- Keywords are nouns that describe the unique job-related skills and qualifications you need to succeed in the position.
- Action verbs show your accomplishments in past job experiences.
By combining keywords and action verbs into eye-catching phrases, hiring managers and employment scanning programs can key into those words, separating your resume from the rest.
Why are Keywords and Phrases Important?
Today, most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which pre-screen applications by electronically searching for the keywords and phrases connected to the job. ATS software can be programmed to:
- Search for keywords and phrases related to the job’s requirements
- Place higher value on specific keywords
- Detect keyword spamming
- Rank resumes based on keyword use, especially when keywords are with additional related skills
Both ATS software and recruiters spend seconds looking over a resume, so it is vital to use your job-related nouns and action verbs strategically.
The best place to start your search for job-related keywords is the job ad itself. Take note of job, skill, and location keywords and look for ways to incorporate them into your resume. Focus on hard skills, including your formal training, experience, and skills related to the job. Remember to use variations of keywords as well. For example, the ATS software may not search for abbreviations; if you mention having a “B.A” or “M.A.,” make sure you also include the full phrases “Bachelor of Arts” or “Master of Arts” so the software, and the recruiter, sees them.
Action verbs should be included throughout your resume, but especially in the work experience section. Demonstrating your experience and achievements to a hiring manager or recruiter is crucial, so active verbs such as:
- Increased/ Decreased
Also, include any keywords that indicate you contributed to the previous companies you worked for. For example, employers want to know if a job candidate is creative or innovative, so relate examples of times your ideas helped the company achieve greater success, increased revenue/ profit, or kept the company under budget.
Hiring managers and recruiters see hundreds, even thousands of resumes at a time, so finding a way to capture and keep their attention is essential. Keywords and phrases that highlight your training, skills, and expertise will quickly focus attention on you and increase your chances of getting that interview.