Bring Your Resume to the Top of the Pile

What makes a resume stand out?  When you consider that the hiring manager has to screen through hundreds of resumes for each position, it becomes apparent that you only have a few seconds to make an impression.  Effectively using keywords is the best way to ensure that your resume passes through both the electronic and the human screening.  Here’s how to do it:

Step 1:  Review the job advertisement.  Highlight all the words that are repeated as well as those that seem to be emphasized in the ad.

Step 2:  Review your resume and highlight the same words.  If you haven’t used the keywords, then add them in.  Each keyword should be used at least once and the most important keywords should be used more than once.

Step 3:  Imagine that you were hiring a candidate for the same position and that you were searching in a database of resumes.  Which keywords would you use?  Make sure that you include those keywords in your resume.

Step 4.  Talk to people who work in your field and ask them which keywords are important.  Add those ones in too.

By using keywords, you give your resume a better chance of passing the first screening and you make it easily searchable and retrievable.  Work the keywords naturally into your resume and demonstrate that your skills and experience make you the perfect fit for the job.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: Scott Chan/


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