Optimize Your Resume with Keywords Using These 3 Simple Techniques

Are you wondering if your resume best positions you to land the job of your dreams in a parallel market, new industry or higher level position? One area you want to be sure to check is your keywords.

Resume keywords are simply the words used to describe your hard and soft skills. Many companies today use keyword scanning software to organize and qualify applicant matches with available positions. Even if a company doesn’t use keyword scanning software, it’s still extremely important to mirror the keywords listed for that position as much as possible.

You can quickly and easily make certain that your resume attracts the right attention using the following simple steps.

Step One: Identify Your Favorite Jobs

First, through you favorite job aggregator or niche job board, identify at least two positions that would qualify as your dream job.

Next, print them out and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that best describe both what you love to do most, and any other strengths and attributes that match your skills. Even if the position is in another industry, highlight those strengths that match functionally.

Now, make sure these keywords are woven throughout your resume, especially the upper portion of your first page.

Step Two: Use Your 2-3 Best Keywords

You don’t necessarily have to redesign your resume for every job you want to submit your resume to. In fact, if you are finding this to be necessary, you might want to check your focus.

Many professionally designed resumes will have approximately three keywords in a bigger, bold font, right up at the top of their resume. I call these headline keywords. This is a powerful way to immediately target your resume to each specific job you submit your resume for.

Let’s say you are submitting for a job that stresses operations, global expansions and team building. If these are all matching skills for you, then you want to mirror these in your headline keywords. With this method you can simply shift a few main keywords and get maximum attention from your target audience!

Step Three: Consider a Keyword-Only Section

In my resumes I always like to include a keyword-only section. I call it “core competencies” or “skills and abilities.” A good list should include three rows of 4 to 5 bullet points per row. In the first row, include your strongest competencies; in the second, soft skills like leadership and management abilities; and your third row can include technical aptitudes, language skills and/or secondary skills, such as leading training programs or creating marketing collateral.

Using these valuable tips gives you a simple and easy way to make sure your resume is targeted for the positions you really want!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

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