Copyright 2006 Joseph Turner
Too many books on resume writing are out-of-date. Although well intentioned and filled with other good information, most have not been updated for the job search realities of today.
Your resume will be seen by many eyes, including electronic. The computer will “score” it by the number of keywords (also known as “buzzwords”) the employer will find most relevant. If you don’t account for this, your resume will stay locked in some database while you sit waiting by the phone for the call that never comes.
Put in a “Keyword Competencies” section.
One solution for the electronic gatekeeper is to include a special section called a Keyword Competencies section. You want to focus on the words most likely to be used by either a Human Resources staffing employee or a recruiter. They search resumes by keywords. The greater number of relevant keywords you can include, the higher relevancy score your resume will be given.
You should include a separate section that lists all the relevant keywords pertaining to your career and skills. This section should best be listed at the beginning of your resume to introduce the skill sets you possess early on from an interviewing standpoint. Include no more than 75 keywords.
For example, if you were a Java Programmer, your Keyword Competencies section might look something like this:
“Java, Visual C++, perl, ticl, application development, visual basic, Windows NT/XP, programming, GUI, html, project management, layer 2, BSEE, etc”.
The idea here is to put in as many relevant, searchable keywords that describe your potential job title and skills. Be sure to include your technical skills, management or organizational skills, relevant software and/or mechanical abilities and expertise. Include anything that might be important to the particular job.
Added Tip: If you can locate a description of an actual job for which you are applying, copy in all the applicable buzzwords listed under required and desired skills. This includes education levels (if they require a BS in Electrical Engineering, then include “BSEE” as well).
If you spend some time on this, you should easily come up with a list of from 40 to 80 relevant searchable keywords to include here.
Summary There are several important elements to consider when building your resume, but if your document is not getting exposure then you’ve wasted your time. By simply adding relevant keywords you increase your resume’s odds of making it to the “possibles” stack and your receiving a phone call from a potential employer.