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5 Tips To Boost Your Resume Using Keywords

These days, a job posting can receive hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for a single position. Can you imagine how overwhelming that would be for a recruiter or employer? This is why many decision-makers will use applicant tracking software (ATS) to trim down the list to a more manageable number of applicants.

“Knowing how to use the right keywords in your resume is crucial in making sure your resume reaches the hands of a real person.”

Don’t JUST use the keywords in the job description!

Most savvy applicants will include the keywords they find in the job advert and role description, but this is not enough. Most ATS go beyond this and look for semantic matches.

For example, suppose you’re applying for a CPA position. In that case, ATS might look for accounting, financial, and other industry terms like this. Some programs will also look for the context the keywords are used in, so don’t just drop them in at the end but include them in various application areas.

Prioritise your keywords!

By examining the job description posting, you can determine which keywords are likely viewed as most important by the employer. Look for words listed in the job title, headlines, list of duties and selection criteria. Keep a watch for keywords that appear more than once, making them more critical than others. Including competitor names, phrases surrounding the priority keyword, and notable industry qualifications and memberships (if relevant) will also strengthen your application.

Have a chat with a friendly insider!

An HR manager, employer, or professional resume writer who works with others can be a goldmine when optimising your resume. Ask them what their ideal employee looks like and what skills they value in the industry.

Include keywords across your resume!

As well as looking for keywords, most ATS will look for their distribution in your resume, cover letter and selection criteria. For example, they may look for a specific keyword under your employment history. Place essential keywords in context throughout your resume, and if possible, in bullet points in descending order of relevance to the role description.

Be specific and relevant!

Most companies look for experts, not a jack of all trades. For example, instead of saying you have:

  • Management experience, use the term client relationship management.
  • Marketing experience, consider revenue growth or risk management.

“Remember, the end result of your efforts is to get your resume in front of a real person!"

Make sure you include everything relevant to the role requirements, including any specialised or additional experience or education, and use formatting that enhances readability. These steps make reading your resume easier for human recruiters and ATS.

Following these tips will boost the chances of your resume landing in the hands of an actual person. Making your resume clean, clear and concise will increase your chances of landing an interview too.

If you would like to know more about the author Kathryn Burke, click here.

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