If you have ever looked for a job, you know that resume is an irreplaceable aspect of this process. No company will ever consider inviting you for an interview without checking out your educations, skills, and work experience first. All that can be found in the document called a resume in which a candidate provides a brief narration about his or her qualities, and in fact, persuades an employer to choose him or her instead of anybody else.
So, a resume allows you to get a job. However, do you know that writing a resume where you explain why you are such a good employee is not enough? Do you know that recruiters carefully check each candidate’s job application looking for specific resume keywords? They work as signals indicating that a particular person satisfies the requirements of the position. The low amount or absence of them significantly reduce the chance of being hired for a desired position. That’s why besides the proper format, structure, and organization, as well as the satisfaction of the job requirements, you should include certain keywords that will tell explain why you are the right candidate.
Resume Keywords Examples and Why You Should Not Use Them All
If you think that there is a magic list of keywords which will guarantee a job, you are mistaken. Such a list simply does not exist because all positions are different, as well as requirements to people who occupy them, so the keywords for each position also vary.
Just imagine that you decided to buy a new smartphone. You know exactly what functions this device should have. You visit a shop, find a huge amount of smartphones, but when you start reading their descriptions, it turns out that smartphones are not what they actually are. The descriptions of these gadgets contain information about microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, and toasters. How is that possible? Why are the descriptions of the smartphones wrong and contain information about absolutely different devices, though they all look like smartphones and work like smartphones? Confusing, isn’t it? That’s what happens, when people start using in their resumes keywords which are not supposed to be there. It is as if you gave a wrong description, and as a result, a recruiter skipped such an application, although the candidate might have been the right person. So, your resume has to include keywords, but it should not include all of them, just those which correspond to the job specifics and requirements.
So, what keywords to use in a resume? In general, they can all be subdivided into two categories - job keywords and action verbs. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Examples of keywords for resume
The category of job keywords describes your primary qualification and skills for an applied position. Let’s take a look at a few examples so that you could clearly understand what it means.
- Marketing manager: Digital marketing, Email marketing, Google Analytics, Social Media.
- Nurse: Effective Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Adaptability, Stress Management, Critical Thinking.
Examples of Action Verbs
The category of resume action words is necessary to show exactly what duties you are able to accomplish. They are used to stress that you can perform certain functions or have successfully achieved some results earlier. Take a look at the examples of action verbs below.
So, there are two types of keywords, and you need to use them both in your resume. The first one is responsible for your skills. You list the things you can do or what technologies you are familiar with. The second category strengthens the effect of the first keywords category informing a recruiter that you have mastered those skills or achieved a certain experience.
These keywords work like a beacon for a recruiter so that he or she could understand at once whether you are a right candidate or not. However, as always there should be a balance, and overusing these words will have the opposite result. Even if you really can do a lot of things, there is no need to list them all. You should concentrate only on those which are the most crucial for a position. Too many keywords will make your resume look like a spam letter. And what do people usually do with such letters? - Right, they send them to the trashbot, and that’s exactly what most recruiters do when they see a resume overloaded with keywords. They just skip it and go further looking for their best candidate.
Another important thing that you should keep in mind is avoiding exaggeration. Despite the fact that a resume should look attractive and has to be an excellent advertisement of you as a skillful and professional employee, you need to keep balance and not push too far. Of course, shyness has always been a stumbling block for many decent candidates which often prevented them from getting a good job, although they could cope well with the duties. But the point is being neither too shy nor too loud when you are describing your strong sides. Just tell the truth and remember that you may be asked questions about your working experience and achievements at your previous workplace during an interview. And if you have overstated that information or simply lied, then you have already missed your chance of getting a job in a company. Nobody wants to have a dishonest employee in a team.
How to Write a Professional Resume Title Using Job Keywords
The presence of the necessary keywords in your resume will significantly increase your chances of being noticed among the huge amount of other candidates. However, before a recruiter starts reading your resume and makes a decision about you, there is one thing that he or she will do first. The thing that will either attract a recruiter or make him or her go on checking other candidates and skip your resume. We are talking about a resume title. That’s the first thing which every recruiter pays attention to without any exceptions. Before deciding whether your resume is worth to be read at all, he or she looks at the title.
One may compare a resume title to a book title or even a movie name, but that is not a very accurate analogy. The names of movies and books may not always correspond to the plot. In case of a resume, there should be a 100% match. The title you write in your resume has to give a complete answer to the question of who you are and what you can do. For instance, if the company needs a Digital Marketing Manager, then the recruiters will check only those applications whose resume title includes the mention of a Digital Manager. All other types of managers are not interesting, even if they have relevant experience and probably may do the required work.
There are two more things that you should remember choosing a title for your resume. The first thing is avoiding generalization of a position. Be as specific as possible. So, if you are a manager, tell exactly what kind of a manager you are, like a Digital Marketing Manager. If your position suggests that you may perform the functions of several similar positions, then write more than one. For instance, designers may be experienced in a few spheres. Since putting just a Designer is not enough, you may write the following - Graphic Designer, Motion Graphic Designer, UI/UX Designer.
The second thing you should do is avoid long titles. The functions you are able to do may be applied to several positions, but it can hardly be more than a few. Do not make a huge list of all possible positions that you think you may occupy, even if you can. You may be an expert in two or three of them, but will hardly be a real pro in 5 or more professions even if they are closely related.
Companies are first of all oriented on candidates who are real experts. They have little interest in people who can do a little bit of everything, but nothing perfect in a particular. Indeed, some positions predetermine that you must have skills in various aspects of work, but that is the secondary thing. To make it clear, let’s return to a position of a designer. For instance, the company X is looking for a web designer, and consequently, it needs a person who is good at creating great designs for websites. Candidate Jimmy is the one who has such experience and suits the job requirements the best. However, since Jimmy has worked on a position of a designer for over 10 years, he is also familiar with some other relevant technologies like making visual effects. Nevertheless, his primary work has always consisted in making beautiful design, and visual effects were something secondary that he didn’t polish to perfection.
That’s why Jimmy should write that he is a Web Designer in the title of his resume and avoid putting Visual Effect Designer in one line with that. If Jimmy mentions all the possible positions that he can occupy as a designer, that will be a huge list of about 20 items. However, in this list, Web Design will be probably the only thing that Jimmy can do better than anybody else, and that’s what is necessary to highlight.
Besides, putting so many titles will not give an advantage to Jimmy. He will not look better than other candidates who compete with him for the same position. That will only reduce his chances of getting a job in the company because people who say that they can do many things well usually cannot cope even with one.
A resume title is like claiming to be the best in this position, and it is impossible to be the best in many things. So, choose carefully what to write in your resume title, list a couple of positions which you can do the best because quantity doesn't mean quality.
The Final Tip
To write a job-winning resume, besides the presence of the required keywords and a proper title, you need to determine your personal key benefits. To do that, answer several questions before writing. They will help you to make your letter of application more individual and provide your potential employer with an answer to why you are the best and right choice.
- Why am I better than others?
- Why should I get this job?
- What am I doing better than others?
- How do I differ from my colleagues?
- What have I already done in my career?
- What are my life achievements?