“What in the world are keywords and why do I need to use them on my resume?”
These are questions that you’re probably asking yourself. Well, in a nutshell, keywords are the words a company is looking for when reviewing a compilation of resumes. Most small and large companies are now using a tool called recruiting software or an applicant tracking system to screen applicants for their job openings. The software is designed to scan resumes and even cover letters to search for words that will classify the candidate as being qualified or unqualified. Using the correct key words will increase the chances that your resume will be placed on the qualified list and noticed by the hiring manager.
Most of the time, the hiring tool is searching for those words that are listed in the job description. For example, if you are applying for a veterinarian assistant position and the job description entailed taking blood samples, x-rays and administering anesthesia, you will want to make sure that you list each of these significant words in your resume.
In addition to using the job description terminology, you will also want to include keywords that relate to your skills and expertise, technology competencies, education and relevant credentials. Omitting these keywords can unfortunately cause your resume to be overlooked and hence losing out on the job opportunity.
Other ways to gain successful keywords is by reviewing professional affiliation websites relevant to your field to see what lingo they tend to use. Additionally, you can speak with people in similar positions to see what they consider to be essential terminology used in their workplace.
Here are some additional helpful hints when using keywords for your resume or cover letter:
1. Use a popular font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana. Keep the size between 10-14 points.
2. Use text only. Graphics and borders can look unprofessional and you want the scanner to focus solely on the text.
3. When sending a copy of your resume, make sure it’s in the original form and not photocopied. The clearer the copy is, the better it can be scanned. It is best to use a laser printer and the text should only be written on one side of the page.
4. Make sure your name is at the top of each page of your resume. Additionally, any information following such as phone numbers or email should be listed beneath it.
5. Do not fold or staple your resume. The documents should be held together by an easily removed paperclip or clasp.
6. It is best to avoid using acronyms, even if they are commonly used. Spell out each word to prevent it from being overlooked.
7. All text should be left aligned. Avoid using tabulations or centering.
8. Be specific and general. For example, specific terminology can be: Java, debugging or C++, while general terminology can be listed as computer programming.
In summary, using keywords are essential when applying for a job. Without them, your resume is likely to get over looked even if you are fully qualified. Using the correct keywords will help you get noticed and land the position.