Truth: Unfortunately, no matter how long or how much money you spent working on your resume, the average resume is looked at for just about 9 seconds. Most times your resume will be stored in a staffing agency’s database or an online job board to never be looked at at all. The best way to avoid this fate is to use keywords, and use them effectively.
Recruiters spend a large part of their day either searching their databases or job boards that contain thousands of resumes. On a typical day, they may view hundreds of resumes in just a matter of a few hours. Think about it. If you had to do this everyday, you would most certainly find an easier way to get your job done. A recruiter will undoubtedly find your resume using a keyword search. They’ll take keywords from a job description and search their databases or job boards for likely matches.
If you thought that using keywords was some sort of myth or urban legend, think again. The people that are getting it right are the ones getting their resumes seen and getting called for interviews. Here’s how you can get in on the action.
Use the right keywords
It is your job to identify all of the keywords that may be associated with the job that you are going after. A good tip is to check multiple ads or job postings for that particular role. Check the paper and the major job boards. You will begin to see a theme and the use of certain buzzwords. Make sure that you use these keywords prominently in your resume. Preferably somewhere in the beginning like the Professional Summary area.
Make the keywords stand out
Here’s a little SEO (Search Engine Optimization) trick that you can apply to your resume. Once your resume is found, make sure that it stands out by placing keywords in bold. Some job seekers are a little more savvy and place all of their keywords in a box at the beginning of their resume. This is also a nice trick, but it has to be done exceptionally well or you run the risk of your resume being a mash up of random words.
Use the appropriate job title
Surprisingly, there are plenty of Sales Managers and Project Managers that don’t use this as their title. Instead they use something like Area Customer Service Manager or Network Operations Manager. Wrong! The result is that your resume will probably not be found by a recruiter trying to fill a Project Manager role even though you have the experience to do the job. If you are looking for a job as a Sales Manager or Project Manager, be sure to use these keywords often in your resume.
Mirror the job posting
If you are applying for a specific opening, check the wording very carefully for keywords. Place those words and phrases prominently in your resume and cover letter. Remember what I mentioned earlier, recruiters are reviewing hundreds if not thousands of of resumes daily. Make their job easier and make it easier for them to find you.
Use action words
This is resume basics 101. Action words create a more dynamic description of your accomplishments, and paint a better picture of who you are. Instead of beginning statements with “I” or “We”, begin your statements with:
Led a team
Achieved target growth
Grew territory by
Check industry jargon
Many industries have language and certain phrases that they use. If you plan on staying in this field then its fine to use this jargon in your resume. If you plan to switch industries, then be sure to use phrases and jargon that is understandable by recruiters in other areas.