If you’re in the process of looking for a job, you’ve probably spent hours editing your resume, obsessing over every word, trying to get it just right.
But did you know that your resume could be read by a machine before it ever reaches a member of human resources?
Most large companies use some form of tracking system which scans your resume for keywords.
This analysis is used to assign a ranking, which determines your chance of getting to the next stage.
If your resume doesn’t pass the test, it may never reach a human.
To make sure you have the best chance of getting your dream job, you need to stay ahead of the game.
I’m here to tell you exactly why using resume keywords is essential if you want to land interviews.
Ready to tweak that resume for the final time?
Let’s do it.
1. Ensure Your Resume Won’t Be Discarded at the First Stage
We’ve already touched on this, but let’s go into a little more detail.
Most companies now use an applicant tracking system, or ATS, to scan your resume before having it looked at by a human.
This means that you could be perfect for a job, but if you haven’t included the right keywords, noone will ever read your application. In some cases, even using the wrong form of a word ― like ‘manager’ instead of ‘leader’ (or vice versa) can hurt your chances.
It’s really important to look at the keywords used in the job description and person specification for the job and mirror these on your resume. These are likely to be the same keywords used in the ATS.
Don’t get carried away with adding resume keywords, though.
There’s no point in getting past the tracking system if your resume reads poorly to an actual human.
2. Resume Keywords Help You Focus on the Most Important Skills Needed
It’s tempting to list everything you’ve ever done on your resume, but this looks unprofessional and vague.
Honing in on specific keywords helps you to narrow down exactly which skills you need to include on your resume, making it much more focused.
More hiring managers won’t care that you played the flute in high school, or attend tennis club on the weekend ― and you can be sure that the ATS won’t.
3. Using The Right Language Shows You’re on the Same Page as the Hiring Manager
Managers like to hire candidates who they feel already understand the role and the industry.
Speaking the right language in your resume demonstrates that you’re part of their world and reassures them that you’re experienced.
Even if you say all the right things, using the wrong language can be detrimental. It’s the difference between saying, “I have effective merchandising skills,” and “I can make pretty window displays.”
Using the right keywords makes you stand out as a professional ― to the managers and the machines.
Why Keywords are Essential to your Job Search
Writing a great resume just isn’t enough. You need to make sure you include the right resume keywords to avoid having your application rejected at the first hurdle.
Start by listing some of the keywords that you see most often in job descriptions, then work them into your resume in an organic way.
You’ll get more interviews, and you might even start to find writing your resume less daunting!