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What are keywords for resume writing?

Resumes are no longer only reviewed by the HR dept or by a recruitment agent; more often than not they will first be reviewed by an electronic Applicant tracking System (ATS) which will first check if your resume is relevant before it gets anywhere near a real person. An ATS will review your resume and look for the keywords that the recruiter is looking for. These keywords are specific terms and phrases that are relevant to your job such as specific pieces of software that you may use, your actual job title and specific skills that they are looking for. If these keywords for resume writing are not present in your resume then the software will not pass your resume onto the next stage and you will have zero chance of getting that interview.

How should you use keywords for resume writing?

The keywords that you have for your resume need to be carefully placed within your resume so that the software can find them and also recognize them. If you want to ensure that the software will be able to recognize the applicant tracking system keywords that you use then you should ensure that you do the following:

  • Use rich text format preferably as this is easiest for the software top read, otherwise a Word.doc file and avoid the use of PDF versions of your resume as they are often difficult to read for a ATS.
  • Use a font that is easy to read such as Arial, Courier or Times New Roman, fancy scripts will often not be readable by the ATS.
  • Avoid extra formatting and using things such as tables to organize your information.
  • Use acronyms and full spelling for things as either may be used by the searcher; so for instance Quality Management System and also QMS.
  • Instead of your career objectives section have a “qualifications summary” section or an “Achievements” section that can also provide a keyword rich area of text.
  • Don’t use fancy titles for sections, stick to the recognized and usual sections such as; qualifications, experience, education, skills, etc so as not to confuse the software.
  • Don’t overuse the keywords, excessive stuffing of keywords may be seen as an attempt to manipulate the software and it will reject your resume.
keywords for resume writing

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Where to find buzz words for resume writing

Finding the right keywords to use in a resume is also something that you have to consider. The following ideas will help you to find the relevant keywords for resume writing for your job application:

  • Look at the profiles of people that have the position on LinkedIn to see what keywords they have used in their profile.
  • Review job adverts to look at what specifically the recruiters are looking for; using a site like ToCloud or Wordle can help you analyze several job adverts to see what keywords are used the most.
  • Use Google Keyword Tool as this can provide you with terms that people search alongside terms that you would consider keywords for your application.

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