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How Important Are Keywords in Your Résumé?

Résumé Keywords Strengths

Résumé Keywords

Here is a list of reasons why you should consider using keywords in your résumé. 

Importance of Keywords in a Résumé

Hiring managers or recruiters going through each word of a résumé to determine the candidacy of an individual is now a thing of the past. Today, most of them have embraced technology and make use of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to shorten the list of prospective candidates. Why do employers rely on ATS? The majority of applications received outnumber the limited vacancies, which makes it difficult to scan each document and understand who deserves an interview. So, how does an ATS work to decide which résumé needs to be scanned through manually? It helps the employer save time and energy and get an organized pile of documents consisting of the shortlisted candidates just by searching the necessary keywords in résumé.

The practice of sending a paper résumé has become obsolete now. The applicants usually make use of mail, social media, or a professional site like LinkedIn to apply for a position. This very technology is used to filter out the candidates. It implies that to make sure you stand out from the competitors in the job market you need to use tactics that would impress the hiring managers. One effective way is to use specific keywords in your résumé to avoid it getting tossed in the "no" or "maybe" pile.

What are keywords and why are they important?

Just as you would highlight the key sentences in an answer to make it easier for the examiner and score good in an exam, so is the case with your résumé. Keywords are nothing but descriptors of your skills and abilities that tell why you are fit for the job. They are the terms a hiring manager typically wishes to see in a document and to decide whether your résumé is worth deserving a one-on-one conversation. If you fail to include them, the ATS might just throw out your application, and you may never understand why a recruiter hasn't called despite writing a legible résumé.

Keywords or buzzwords are pivotal factors that determine whether your résumé gets screened by a recruiter. Why so much importance is given to these words? Firstly, they help you secure an interview. If your document is rich with essential keywords, the more are its chances of clearing a pre-screening round and get you to the next stage. Next, instead of writing multiple pages to highlight skills, they help to hone your abilities in minimum words and make the right impact. In addition to this, you are a level ahead of others as you speak the same language as the hiring manager.

What keywords must be used?

Writing an effective résumé is a time-taking task. And when you decide to include the right keywords, the process could become more lengthy. However, there is a trick to use the right terms and draft an efficient marketing tool in a short time. Here are a few things that a job seeker must be aware about while adding keywords.

Take heed of the job description.

Hiring managers often describe the kind of candidate they are looking for in the job post. While going through the multiple job openings, if you see specific words being used repetitively, use them in your résumé as they are the skills a recruiter is searching for evidently. A job description narrates the skills, minimum experience, or qualification preferred in a candidate. Incorporate this in your document to use it in the proper context.

Consider ATS.

With almost all companies using ATS to simplify the recruiting process, the need to draft a résumé that passes the keyword search test becomes even more important. Familiarize yourself with the common keywords specific to that position. Also, check the company sites you are intending to apply to better understand specific terms. For instance, if you are applying for the position of graphic designer, mentioning the expertise on various software applications and tools relevant to the role becomes critical. Incorporating words like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Coral Draw, or Serif DrawPlus could give a better leverage against others.

Do not have a page-long list.

True, keywords are important. But this doesn't mean you just add all attractive words irrespective of whether they fit the position or not. Also, you cannot go on including a list just to highlight skills using keywords. It would certainly pass the ATS test but look equally weird. Make sure that you have distributed the buzzwords throughout the document and included them in work experience in bullet points. For example, phrases like "Accomplished a revised target within 5 days of the deadline for XYZ project" or "Demonstrated excellent leadership to increase revenue profits by X%" would not only impress the recruiter but also satisfy keyword requirements.

You would definitely take efforts to draft a concise résumé. Similarly, take time to choose the specific keywords in it and use them in all sections of the document. The more relevant they are, better are the chances of matching the requirements of ATS. As Laura Proulx says, "The possibility of getting considered for an interview is much higher when your résumé satisfies both the audiences—automated and human."

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