Using Keywords In Your Resumes & Profiles

The art of resume writing has changed significantly in recent times, particularly with online platforms and social media technology playing a huge part in the way employers and search consultants work.

In the same way that websites rely on keywords to get to the top of search engine results, job seekers must also use keywords to get their resumes to the top of candidate searches.

Many consultants and employers rely on databases and digital searches nowadays when aiming to fill positions. As a result, resumes and online profiles must be much more keyword driven.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Keywords

The most difficult part about using keywords in your professional resume is understanding which ones will resonate with a particular employer or resume database. Luckily, job seekers can employ several techniques to help them choose the right keywords for their resumes and profiles:

1. Consider the job title: Job titles are one of the most common keywords employers will use when conducting searches. If you are set on a particular job role, include this keyword at least 2-5 times in your resume. A good way to determine if your keyword is effective is to conduct a search using this keyword yourself, either on a job site or via a search engine. If relevant job listings come up, you will know you’re using the right words.

2. Review the job posting: Job descriptions will often contain important keywords in the way of skills, credentials, responsibilities and competencies. Consider what your own ideal role involves and which keywords are being used consistently by employers across various job postings related to your field or industry. For example, if you notice that ‘thought leadership’ is used frequently, you will need to include ‘thought leadership’ as a keyword in your resume.

3. Visit the company website: The website of the hiring company will generally offer industry specific terms that can be used as keywords. By reading through the website content, job seekers will quickly learn the industry terminology or product/service titles that are most relevant to the employer.

Step 2: Using Keywords Properly

Choosing the right keywords is only half the battle when it comes to effective resume writing. Using keywords organically in your resume is important, and will prevent you from turning your resume or online profile into ‘spam.’ My best tips for effective keyword inclusion are:

  • Use the most important keywords at the start of your document, such as in the ‘summary’ or ‘profile’ sections.
  • Present your keywords in context. That is, write relevant sentences and descriptions that include your desired keywords. Don’t simply list your keywords, as this is ineffective and lazy.
  • Using keywords when describing your accomplishments can also be very beneficial. This will draw the reader to your achievements and show them in a clear and concrete way what you are capable of.
  • Include the most important keywords throughout your resume or profile, but only when they can be used naturally and relevantly. Many databases and engines will rank resumes/profiles based on how many times a specific keyword is used. However, if you include certain keywords for the sake it, your content will appear sloppy and unprofessional and the recruiter will instantly reject your resume.

Step 3: Adapting Your Keywords

Every resume should be tailored specifically for each different job application, but without compromising the quality or integrity of your experience and achievements. Although your online profile can remain the same, you should tweak each resume application to include keywords that are relevant to that position, job description or employer. This will help maximise your success and means that you’ll stay one step ahead of those keyword-driven databases and searches.

Resumes Australia is a leading resume writing and career guidance firm specialising in executive resume writing and online profile writing. Contact Us to learn more about how we can help you find and use the right keywords during your job search.

kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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