Whenever an employer posts a job listing, they can expect an influx of resumes. The job market is rife, after all, and quality positions garner thousands of responses. Yet, only 2% of those applicants will even get close to serious consideration.
This low percentage is hardly surprising. An employer has to narrow things down somehow, after all, and many do this by disqualifying resumes off the bat for several reasons. Most notably in recent years, many have been relying on resume keywords to help them narrow down the candidates they would like to interview.
Much like how we use keywords to increase business relevance, this technique allows interviewers to narrow things down without having to read entire resumes. But, what exactly are the buzzwords employers are seeking right now, and how can you make sure to include them?
# 1 ‘Experience’
If there’s one word employers will skip-read a resume to find, it’s experience. Whether they’ve expressly asked for it or not, knowing that you’ve got knowledge in a similar or otherwise relevant role is always a plus. After all, the more experience you have, the better able you’ll be to settle in with minimal training. Even if you have no precise experience in your chosen field, then, you need to get creative. Find ways to link that weekend shop job to the office environment you’re aiming for, or think about volunteer work you’ve done that could transfer. Ultimately, you just need something that says you’re experienced enough for consideration. Otherwise, your resume is unlikely to even get past round one.
# 2 – ‘Qualification’
Qualifications have undeniably become less crucial than experience in many industries over recent years, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still feature as a close second. Once they’re sure you’re experienced enough for the role, an employer is therefore sure to skip to your qualification section. Here, you should list everything from your engineering MBA to that evening class in IT that you passed during college. Mainly, qualifications serve to prove that you’re capable of sticking with something and working hard. And, it can’t hurt if they’re somehow relevant to the role, either.
# 3 – ‘Skills’
Next up we’ve got skills, but perhaps not in the way you might think. Ultimately, a busy employer doesn’t want a paragraph about what a caring person you are. Instead, your skills should be displayed under a clear subheading (remember, this is a keyword,) alongside a simple bullet list of what you can do. Something like –
- Outstanding customer service
- Computer skills
- Understanding of (insert name here) computer program
Keep it short, snappy, and ultimately impressive to ensure that you’re one of the all-important 2%.
Resume keywords can seem like a strange concept when you begin to dabble in them but, as you can see, the logic of this method speaks for itself. So, return to your resume with this in mind and see what exactly keywords can do to improve what you’ve already got on paper.