Sending out a resume without using keywords in it is the best way to reduce your chances of getting yourself shortlisted for an interview. A resume is not about just jotting down your work experience, achievements, education, etc. on a piece of paper, and then mindlessly sending that paper anywhere and everywhere you apply for a job.
Different companies may have different job descriptions for the same job profile. You need to identify them and customize your resume as per these varied job descriptions to communicate to the recruiter that you have the ability to address the employment gaps that they are trying to fill. Using resume keywords is a great way to do this.
But, before we teach you how to use keywords in your resume to land an interview, let us first understand what a resume keyword is in the first place.
Resume keywords — what it is and why it is important
In simple words, resume keywords are particular requirements mentioned in a job description that describe the skill sets, work experience or educational qualification the candidate needs to have for that specific job. These keywords play an important role in the way your resume gets evaluated as recruiters tend to look for these specific keywords while scanning your resume.
Seeing these keywords in your resume communicates to them that you have done your homework, that you understand the requirements of the job profile, and that you have meaningful qualification and work experience.
Most importantly, resume keywords’ importance lies in getting you shortlisted.
Ask why, and here’s the answer:
Major multinational corporations today have started using Applicant Tracking Systems to shortlist resumes. These Applicant Tracking Systems are designed to look for keywords in your resume. The result? You have a higher chance of getting shortlisted when you use resume keywords.
Now that you know the importance of using keywords, let’s start off with how to include these keywords in your resume.
How to include keywords in each section of your resume
For the purpose of simplicity, we have broken down the process of making your resume keyword-efficient by discussing how to include keywords in each section wherever possible.
1. How to include keywords in your Resume Profile Title section
The best way to include keywords in your “resume profile title” section is to simply write the designation as it is written in the job description, i.e., if you have the right qualifications and work experience.
Example: “Digital Marketing Manager”
If you don”t have relevant work experience, do not use vague terms like “Marketing” as your profile title.
In such a situation, you can use keywords like “Marketing Graduate” as your profile title. Doing this demonstrates to a recruiter that what you lack in experience, you more than make up for it in its theoretical expertise.
It also shows that you’re already familiar with the tricks of the trade, which encourages a recruiter to hire you, despite the lack of work experience.
2. How to include keywords in your Resume Summary section
There is no better section than the “summary” section to include keywords because recruiters tend to scan your resume summary to get a quick gist of your work experience.
Your goal here is to optimize this section using keywords. To do this, include relevant keywords in your resume summary to catch the recruiter’s attention and structure your summary to create maximum impact.
To do this, begin your summary with the duration of your work experience followed by your designation. Again, this designation will come from the job description.
Example: “10 years experienced Senior Content Writer adept at …”
After doing this, complete your summary statement with a generous scoop of keywords listed in this job description. For instance, if skills like “syndication” and “SEO writing” are listed as keywords in the job description, then include them in the summary and explain how you can use these skills to benefit the organization.
Example: “… adept at content syndication and SEO writing to boost brand awareness and generate website traffic”
Doing this will leave you with a highly keyword-optimized resume summary, which will catch a recruiter’s attention and present you as the right candidate for the job.
3. How to include keywords in your Resume Education section
Most job descriptions clearly specify the educational background of the candidates needed for a given job position.
So, if a job description has mentioned “M.B.A. in Marketing,” don’t make the mistake of just writing “M.B.A.” Make sure that you write “M.B.A. in Marketing” in the “education” section of your resume.
Similarly, if the job description has listed “Master of Arts” as an education criterion, make sure you put this detail in your resume if you actually hold this degree.
4. How to include keywords in your Resume Key Skills section
When drafting your “key skills” section, highlight those skills that are most relevant to your target profile.
After you do this, optimize this section further by organically incorporating keywords that were highlighted in the job description. Illustrating these skills in this section will help you communicate your suitability for the given job, as it showcases that you are equipped with the skills that the hiring company is looking for.
Doing this will increase the chances of your resume to clear the Applicant Tracking Systems round, which, in turn, will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the interview round.
But while using keywords, make sure that you only incorporate those keywords that you can justify using. In other words, don’t blatantly cut-copy-paste.
Make sure that you are actually skilled in the skills that you have endorsed in this section.
5. How to include keywords in your Professional Experience section
Now comes the final part.
Stating that you are skilled in something by using keywords in your resume does not actually prove anything.
This is why it is important to incorporate keywords in the “professional experience” section, as it helps you explain exactly how exactly you used these skills in your everyday work life.
For instance, if the job you are targeting has listed “equipment deployment” as a keyword in the job description, putting this in the key skills section is not enough. Substantiate your skill statement by describing how you used this skill in the “professional experience” section.
Example: “Examined engine wear by deploying equipment such as infrared analyzers and compression gauges”
Doing this shows that you don’t just talk the talk, but you walk the walk.
In other words, it makes you look more credible because you are able to demonstrate your expertise by justifying the use of these keywords.
The bottom line
Now that you know how to pick keywords from the job description and how to include these keywords in your resume, go ahead and create a keyword-optimized resume and start applying for the job of your dreams.
Aditya Sharma lives and breathes Hiration — an online resume builder & AI platform to help job seekers around the globe.
Contributor writers at TUN are academic professionals, thought leaders and industry experts who have stories or wisdom to share.