Keywords? So What?

 When you think of keywords, it probably brings to mind Googling the net for information on a particular topic. While that is accurate, —keywords are a vital element in a well-crafted resume.


What exactly are keywords in a resume? Quite simply, they are industry specific and  job-related terms that resonate with hiring authorities and decision makers. In an age where technology reigns, keywords in resumes are more critical than ever, especially since human eyes are often not the initial decisive factor in determining which resumes will be selected for further review.


Most large companies and recruiting firms maintain a database in which all resumes are scanned and stored. When a position opens, a database search is conducted using keywords. Those candidates who have keyword-rich resumes will typical come up first, even though other candidates, who might be equally as qualified, if not even more qualified will remain unnoticed!


How do you know which keywords to use in your resume? I recommend my clients review ads for positions that they are qualified for. So for example, an ad for  Software Sales Executive might contain requirements such as “10+ years of management experience in high tech, sales industry experience with leaders such as Oracle, Microsoft, etc., deep knowledge of ERP software, vertical and channel markets, and distribution partnerships. Ability to lead teams of up to 100 sales executives with cross-functional support groups”.(If you are lucky, the ad might even contain a keyword summary to help clue you in as to what hiring personnel want to see in a resume.)


Knowing this, it is important that these keywords like ERP, Microsoft, Oracle, vertical and channel markets to name just a few, get woven into the resume. This can be done effectively with the profile or executive summary “Respected software executive offering more than 10 years of sales leadership experience in ERP software for companies that include… Expert in channel and vertical marketing strategies…” Some of the other key words can easily be worked into a section called core competencies or areas of expertise, as well the professional experience section.


If you aren’t sure if your resume has good keyword density, ask for a complimentary critique by a certified resume writer or career coach. It can make all the difference in how quickly you rise to the top!