Did you know that, according to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study, more than 3 in 4 full-time employed workers (76 percent) are either actively looking for or open to new job opportunities?
That means in today’s job market, you need to find a way to stand out among the competition and shine. To accomplish that, the first step is to get the person on the other end to sit up and pay attention to your resume instead of tossing it into a pile of “maybes.”
One trick is to use certain keywords throughout your resume.
Keywords are descriptors of skills and attributes that industry insiders typically use to describe themselves and others in the profession. Hiring managers sometimes use computer programs known as applicant tracking systems — or ATS, for short — to save time and effort on their part. Keywords matter when they’re scanning your resume in these programs to gauge if your skill set is the right fit for an open position.
According to a Forbes article: “Depending on how a specific ATS works, the location and frequency of keywords within your resume can be extremely important. Typically, the better your resume matches the job description requirements, the higher you’ll rank in the ATS. Additionally, it’s common practice for companies to begin reviewing applicants from the top of the ranking list – bad news for job seekers who haven’t customized and keyworded their resume.”
3 reasons to use keywords in your resume
1. It helps you to get in front of a human being. Remember that applicant tracking systems use keywords to sort and organize resumes and cover letters. This is designed to save the hiring manager some time, so make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle simply because you didn’t use the right keywords.
2. It helps you hone in on what’s most important. Some job seekers submit resumes that are multiple pages long — and the truly important information gets buried beneath other achievements that are completely irrelevant (such as how many high school basketball championships you won when you’re applying for an accountant position). Making a list of keywords up front can help you to whittle down your long list of experiences to just the ones that the hiring manager will actually care about.
3. It shows you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager. Hiring managers use certain keywords in the job posting or description, and it’s important to show that you’re on the same page by using similar terminology to convey your specific skill sets, qualifications and experience.
Need tips on how to get your resume noticed by a company’s applicant tracking system? We did the homework for you. Check out our blog on how to get past an ATS and read up on some best practices on how to conduct an ATS-friendly job search.