Resume Keywords – Understanding Keywords For Resumes

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It was only a few years ago (that is, pre 2005) when companies largely relied on human eyes to scan resumes and serve as screeners. Candidates could wow those humans eyes with action verbs alone, like “Implemented blah blah blah…,” and “Developed this and that…,” and “Conducted yada yada…”.

Those were the days. A simpler time. Porch swings and Andy Griffith come to mind. Jump cut to the present. The internet has changed everything and companies are now awash in resumes. To cut through the clutter and lend some sense of order to the candidate selection process, corporations today have to digitize the resumes of job seekers, warehouse those resumes in databases, and employ specialized software to search those databases to identify prospective candidates for position vacancies. What do those programs search for? Primarily what was implemented and what was developed and what was conducted. While action verbs are still important, the focus has shifted to the nouns. Welcome to the age of keywords – nouns (largely) that relate to the action performed.

Action Verbs, and their associated Resume Keywords – Real World Examples

In the following examples pulled from various professions, the action verbs should be fairly obvious. Their associated keyword nouns are underlined for example purposes.

– Designed and implemented JIT inventory control system.

– Managed successful product launch of a brand generating first-year sales of $5.5 million.

– Developed documentation to ensure compliance of Manufacturing Execution System.

– Designed interactive voice response language system tailoring customer service to clients’ unique needs.

– Developed and delivered diversity training modules.

– Exceeded targeted ROI (return on investment) by 50%.

– Designed and conducted customer needs assessment, increasing account retention rate by 20%.

– Established profitable vendor partnerships.

Keywords, Buzzwords and Jargon

Definitions, please. Keywords are most often industry-specific jargon or buzzwords. A keyword can be a single word, or a phrase. Jargon is technical terminology used by people working in a common profession or industry. A buzzword is jargon that has broken free of it’s industry and has begun to see use in wider society.

As a side note, buzzwords are sometimes appropriated by nonspecialists with the intent to impress listeners without having a real grasp of the terminology. Not good. Don’t be caught using words you have no business using. Be aware of the fact that you will need to be able to back up your use of buzzwords/keywords on your resume. Most likely in an interview – assuming your resume gets you that far.

Resume Keywords – You’re Invisible Without Them

The bottom line: keywords are a necessity on today’s resumes. Without keywords, your resume won’t get picked up by the automated database scanners, and you become the invisible candidate. Learn the relevant keywords for your particular industry and make sure they fit you well. Then plant them strategically in your resume.

Become visible. Become hired.

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