Posted By Amanda Collins on April 16, 2009
If you’ve seen “Legally Blonde,” you remember when the main character was applying for positions using pink, rose-scented paper for her resumes. Certainly, that made her stand out – but was it in a good way? How do you stand out among hundreds of resumes in a fiercely competitive market? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, as much as I love pink and roses, scented and colored paper won’t do it.
Most employers use a scanning system to track their resumes, so you need to make your resume come up in keyword searches. As noted in Candice Arnold’s latest blog on CollegeRecruiter.com, keywords play a huge part in making your resume stand out (in a good way). Of course, the most obvious place to add keywords is in the keyword section, often referred to as “Core Competencies” or “Areas of Expertise,” this is a small section at the end of the summary that clearly illustrates your transferable skills. When I’m writing a resume, I write the experience section first, then seek trends across positions, summarizing them in the keywords area. Another great way to populate this section is to look at job postings. Employers usually are rather blatant about what they want from applicants, so use that to your advantage! As I tell clients, the resume information below “Professional Experience” will remain static, but the “Summary” area is dynamic. Reread it for each new position, making sure you have the right words and answer the questions posed in the job posting.
Get more keywords in your experience section by thinking about buzzwords in the industry. Some of these may include: training, business development, penetrating accounts, client / vendor / employee relations, mentoring, global, international, or companywide. Your keywords will be different from someone else in a different industry, so be aware of your industry. If you’re working with a resume writer unfamiliar with your industry, tell her what the keywords are (a good writer who knows her limitations will ask).
By adding in some great keywords on your resume – and cover letter – you’ll boost your chances of coming up on searches, which will increase your interview opportunities!