Writing a resume has never been easy. Let’s face it- unless you’re a mind reader, it’s not going to be possible to include every element that every potential hiring manager is going to want to see in a candidate. Part of successfully getting a job interview does involve sending in your application to the right person, for the right job position, at the right time. However, there are a few tips and suggestions you can follow that will surely increase your chances of getting to the interview.
Keywords, Keywords and More Keywords
One of the most important aspects of your resume is, without a doubt, the quality of the words you are using to describe your experience. Sure, you can explain what your job entails in length on a day-to-day basis, but no one will end up finding or reading this information if your resume doesn't rank well in search results. For those of you who aren't aware, here’s a bit of information on how the resume-search process goes from a recruiter’s perspective:
Recruiters will use certain software applications or web based platforms such as LinkedIn to find candidates that are most relevant to a job opening. (This is why it is also important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date) Because, searching through all available resumes within one industry would be way too time consuming for recruiters (and virtually endless), they will run a keyword search in order to narrow down the results specific to the qualifications for the job. For example, if a recruiter is looking for an accountant with specific industry experience in wholesale and knowledge of import & export, they may search for keywords such as “accountant, wholesale, import, export,” etc... You may be an accountant and have all the relevant experience, however if you didn’t include the keywords wholesale, import and export in your resume, you are likely to show up last in the list since search results are sorted by relevance. This means that you are potentially missing out on a lot of job opportunities from people who are actually looking for a candidate just like you. When you upload your resume onto a site, it is transformed into an electronic version - search engines can then scan it for keywords as they are inputted into the search. If you have all the relevant keywords that a recruiter searches (or close enough), this can certainly improve your chances of coming up first among a list of hundreds of other resumes.
So, with that being said, make sure the keywords within your resume are relevant to your experience, and try to put in as many keywords as possible. If you have used the same skills in different jobs, don’t be shy to include the same keywords within the summaries for each. For example, if you are a software Developer and have used the same programming language on several projects, it would serve you better to include this skill under each project rather than once at the bottom of your resume in a list of skills.
Remember, the more relevant your resume keywords are to your experience, the better. However, make sure not to get carried away with your writing. Many resumes with too much writing or irrelevant information can appear to be redundant. It’s important not to lose sight of what a resume is supposed to be, even if you know how the recruitment search process plays out. Keywords are important, and keeping your resume structure to the point is just as important. The key is to find the perfect balance and of course, getting to the interview stage does include a bit of luck, too!