Does your resume say the magic word? How to best utilize keywords for resume success

by Rich DeMatteo on August 12, 2009 · 1 comment

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scrabble-tilesHow many times have you seen/heard this response after applying for a job, “Thanks for your interest in XYZ, we will review your resume and get back to you if this position, or others in the future match your qualifications?”   My guess is you’ve received this response more than once, and I bet each time you bring yourself closer and closer to shoving your bright yellow, #2 pencil, deep into your ear.  What really drives you super nutty banana party is not the canned response, but knowing in your heart that you’ll never, absolutely never hear from that company again.  OK, well you can relax and put the pencil down Corn Heads.  Kristi Daeda has a suggestion which may just have company XYZ calling you faster than you can say…KEY WORD!

On Monday night I found myself reading an interesting post on  Career Adventure, a blog by Kristi Daeda. In this particular post, Daeda writes on the importance of planting key words into a resume, which will help bring attention to you from a “phantom” source.  What’s this “phantom” you ask?  You win, I’ll tell you!  It’s the resume database, in most cases an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  An ATS can be a recruiter’s best friend, or worst enemy.  This depends heavily on features provided by the ATS, as well as how easy the program is to use.  So, what does an ATS, or resume database mean to you as a candidate?  Basically the same thing, but as Daeda writes in her article, if you build a resume with strategically placed keywords, then an ATS has a much higher possibility of becoming your best friend!  Click here for more information on Applicant Tracking Systems.

Daeda believes that each resume is written for three audiences:

  1. Recruiter
  2. Hiring Manager
  3. Resume Database or ATS

It’s likely that you haven’t thought about, or put much emphasis on writing your resume to be an ATS gold mine, and that’s OK.  Like Daeda, I believe that resumes should absolutely always target the recruiter and hiring manager first and foremost, but put in some time to update your resume with keywords specific to your industry or position.  Doing this will make your resume easy for the recruiter to find when they later look through their applicant tracking system, or resume database.

Daeda explains the following about resume keywords in her article:

What are keywords? – Specific nouns and phrases that you’ve undoubtedly seen on job postings when conducting your search.  Daeda explains, “These words refer to your background and experience.”

What are some categories of keywords? – Some listed categories are Certifications, Education, Industries, Techniques and Training, and Technologies.  Click here to view Daeda’s full list of categories. Make yourself a healthy list of resume keywords by going through job postings of your desired position.  Try to include words for as many categories as you can.

How to effectively insert keywords throughout the resume – In my opinion, the greatest tip Daeda offers is to make sure your resume still reads naturally, like normal human writing.  Take her advice, I don’t want my Corn Heads sounding/looking like Johnny 5 from “Short Circuit”. Yes, that’s a video clip from the movie.  I couldn’t resist.  See her article for more tips on how to insert keywords into your resume.

Click the link below to read all of Daeda’s tips on resume keywords:

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Great! Thank you for sharing!

Resume keywords are really important to make sure your resume makes it through the auto-filters. I use Jobscan to make sure I’m using the right keywords in my resume. 


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I think these resume writing tips would be really helpful for the freshers. I think they should carefully create their resume, so that they could easily get a job..