Resume Key Words: Are you using them correctly?

Key Words Help You Tailor Your Resume

Learning how to look for key words in a job post or job description and then applying them to your resume is a great way to tailor you resume for specific jobs.

Related: How to Beat an Applicant Tracking System (and land an interview)

Create a Word Cloud with Your Own Key Words

A good place to start is by taking your own resume and making a list of all of your skills. Having a handy list easily allows you to match them up to jobs. You can also use your skills list to search for ideal jobs to apply for.

Think of all the skills you have ever learned through your entire career and make a list. Put the most important ones at the top.

Second, run your resume text through a word cloud application. By copy and pasting the text of you resume into the word cloud application you can easily see the words you use the most and the ones that stand out. For example:

key words on a resume

Now you should have a pretty complete list of your skills. Not every single skill on your master list will be relevant to every job you apply for, but it is a good place to start.

Finding Job Postings That Include Your Skills

When you find a job posting or description that you want to apply for, skim the text for words that stand out and match your own skill set. It is also a good idea to look at several job listings for similar jobs and find the common key words. This can help you identify the really important ones.

Where do you put your key words?

Once you identify the key words that are in the job posting and match your own skill set, be sure to put those words in the beginning of your resume. Hiring managers and employers will typically skim a resume first for certain words before reading it more closely, if at all.

Having the right key words is also essential for making it through an applicant tracking system or automated resume reader. In these cases, key words are the only thing the system is looking for.

Make Your Key Words Stand Out

If you can relate some of your key words to numbers and statistics it will help them stand out. For example, instead of simply writing, “Created Reports” you can back it up by how it specifically helped the company:

“Designed, developed, and executed reports for automatic capabilities. Reduced work time by 30% and increased productivity.”

Isn’t that much more impressive?

How is your job search going?

We want to hear about your latest successes (and trials) with your job search. We are also here to help. If you need more help with your resume, cover letter, or anything else related to finding a new job, please contact us today.

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