Here are a few typical examples of particular keywords that a computer system may be programmed to identify during a search. Obviously the search is going to be specific to whichever job you are applying, please take note of how the phrases are presented.
- Job positions: Accountant, Account Manager, Engineer
- Job descriptions: Laboratory Research, Accounts, Strategic Planning
- Education/Certifications: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, NCCC
- Equipment/Software: Microsoft Office Suite, C++, Linux
Companies are employing the use of computer programs to find their specific requirements using specialized search software. It is known as an Applicant Tracking System or ATS. This system ranks applicants according to keyword density. To simplify the process, the resume with the most matches, among other criteria, will be considered the most qualified candidate.
*Note: Avoid having too many keywords in your document. Remember to spread them evenly throughout your writing. Your resume can appear as though you padded it if you do not heed this warning. The page must seem natural and not forced even to a machine. Keyword density is the percentage of keywords compared to the rest of the text. It is different for each recruiter; therefore, we cannot give you a target percentage.
Writing Your Resume With Keywords
- Research the correct phrases that you believe a company will target in its hiring process, refer to the keyword examples above for suggestions. Experiment with variations of words and abbreviations. For instance, if you include that you have a Bachelor of Science some companies may recognize this if you write "BS" as well.
- Go through your resume and highlight all the keywords to physically see how heavily saturated your portfolio is. From this, create a keyword summary by listing all of your target words and phrases comparing them to the total number of words on the page to determine the ratio of words. Divide the word count of the whole page by the number of keywords to use. Do this for each keyword or phrase; a spreadsheet works well for this.
- Use a thesaurus to search for synonyms of words that you think should be changed or improved. Sometimes this simple step can make a huge difference in the way your writing is perceived.
- Be sure to use common certification and industry acronyms so that a computer system will more easily find the qualifications for which the company is looking.
- Research job postings made public by the company of interest to identify keywords and phrases that the listings themselves are using. Include this same terminology in your own writing.
Use these very same tips to enhance your cover letter as well as the rest of your portfolio. When there is a situation that could benefit from keyword optimization, you will have these tips to guide you. With employers using technology to search for talent from the job market, it is vital that you maintain an optimized resume. You must stand out and measure up to that for which a company's computer program is looking. Good luck with your job search, you can now get to work writing your no cost resume by clicking the button below. Then go ahead and optimize it with keywords using the info from this guide!