Keywords Part I: Where to find keywords to use in your resume

February 16, 2011 | Uncategorized | tom

You’ve heard a lot about using keywords in your resume. But just what are they? And, more importantly, how do you find the right ones to use in your resume?

Keywords are descriptive words or phrases that employers use to identify qualified candidates. The process is very similar to the way you research information on the Internet, where the words or phrases you use determine the quality of the information you find. Employers are relying more and more on electronic-scanning software to search resume databases for certain keywords or phrases that describe the types of candidates they’re looking for.

But the question is: how do you know what keywords employers are searching for? The answer is probably simpler than you think. With a little detective work, you can find plenty of keywords relevant to your job search.

Here’s a strategy you can use to find appropriate keywords for your resume. First examine three to five employment ads (or more) from different companies that describe the type of position you are targeting. Next, make a list of the words describing job -specific skills, capabilities, technical proficiencies, personal strengths, and degrees / certifications that are common throughout all of the ads. These will be your keywords.

Finally, identify 15 to 20 different keywords you can use. Of course, make sure that the keywords you identify accurately describe your capabilities. If they don’t, this may be a clue that you are possibly targeting the wrong position. If this is the case, it may be necessary to refine your job target.

Now you have a list of keywords to begin building your resume. Keep on adding to this list as you come across new positions that may contain additional key words. In the next post, I’ll discuss the best ways to incorporate the keywords you’ve into your resume.


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