It's July and depending on where you are in the world, the weather can reach 80, 90, or even 100 or more degrees! In other words, this time of the year is
But the temperature does not have to be the only thing that is hot. Did you know that right now many companies are hiring for the position you are looking for? Now is a great time to work on improving your resume to ensure that you get the job that you want. One of the best ways to capture the attention of hiring managers is by including keywords in your resume. Not just any keywords. You want to make sure that you are including keywords that are 1. specific to the position you are applying for, 2. will get you past the applicant tracking systems, and 3. helps you stand out from the competition.
Now let's look at an example of a task based resume statement without any keywords:
Influenced communication through various methods, including email and phone.
This resume's task based statement does not pull out any specific words that would link you to a position. It says "Hey, I know how to answer phones and send emails". From viewing this task based statement, a hiring manager could find someone from almost any background to fulfill the open position. It is important to make sure that your task based statements use keywords that are critical to the specific job you are applying for.
Now check out this example of the SAME resume statement with job-focused keywords added:
Ensured transparency by influencing communication with cross-functional project teams throughout all stages of product life-cycle.
This statement is HOT! It says "Hey, I know how to work with groups of people with different functional expertise to achieve a common goal". It also says "I am an expert at managing all stages of a product's life-cycle" -- which would be perfect for someone applying for a position as a Product Manager.
So at this point you might be burning up, ready to start spicing up your resume with some keywords. Before you jump into a pool of keywords, let's give you some pointers on how to get started.
Choosing the Right Keywords
You're probably wondering what keywords should be used in your resume to make it more effective. It's important to choose keywords that job seekers would look at and say "that's the person we want to hire!" Including keywords such as industry words, job-specific words, product names, job related skills, and professional organizations will take your resume to new heights. Let's say you are a Human Resources Specialist applying to be a Director of Human Resources. Throughout your career you've used ADP (Advanced Data Processing) Software to process payroll ...then mention it! The next company will be happy to know that they don't have to spend money (and hours) to train you on how to properly use the software. Now, let's say you've actually held training sessions for new hires on how to use ADP software...then mention that as well!
See how easy this is?
Keep in mind honesty is the best policy here. Never include keywords just to include them. If you do not have knowledge on how to use certain software, if you've never participated in specific projects...do not include it.
A great place to find keywords are in job postings and also on LinkedIn.
Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills
Think of Soft Skills as emotional-based skills and Hard Skills as intelligence based skills. Soft Skills would include keywords such as "interpersonal communication", "time management", "self confident", "positive attitude". Again, these are skills that everyone should be able to bring to the interview table, regardless of their industry experience. You want to stay away from Soft Skills and instead include Hard Skills as keywords in your resume. Examples of Hard Skills include: "computer programming", "project management", "statistical analysis", "curriculum design". Obviously you do not want to throw all four of these in your resume because they all come from different industries. Use the hard skills that you have gained throughout your education or work experience to heat up your resume. Here is another page with a great list of Hard Skills listed by industry: https://www.labor.ny.gov/agencyinfo/industrykeywords.shtm
Resume Keyword Techniques
There are two common ways that you can include keywords in your resume. You could use one or both to demonstrate your skills and experience. The first is a front-load technique where you create an "Areas of Expertise" or "Key Skills" bulleted section in your resume. This will quickly show a hiring manager the skills that you have and also help you pass the ATS systems. Below is an example of this, just incase you're not too sure of what it looks like:
Hopefully you will find all of these tips useful! As always, be sure to check out our free resume templates to help you get started with your resume project: Free Resume Templates. Also, our resume experts are always here to do the work for you, check out our order page to get started today: CSE Resume Order Page. Happy Summer!