Resume Keywords

Do they really matter?

Oct 9, 2018

At some point in your life, you have created (or are about to create) a resume for a potential employer.  You have the basics - your contact information, a professional summary, past work experience and a list of certifications.  Done!  But is it really?  Recruiters quickly scan resumes for keywords related to the open position, so it’s important to include those each time you submit a resume.  Without them, your resume just might get passed over.  So what exactly are keywords?

Keywords are individual words or phrases that relate to a particular requirement for a job. They include skills, abilities, credentials, and qualities that recruiters look for in a candidate.  Employers receive numerous applications and resumes, and these keywords distinguish your submission from the others they have to review.  For companies that use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the software automatically scans the resume for these keywords.  If the program does not detect any of them, the application might get thrown out.  By embedding keywords in your resume, you will demonstrate to the recruiter or ATS that you fit the requirements of the position. 

For Example:  The open position is a Forklift Operator with at least 2 years’ experience.  No certification required.  John Doe submits his resume.  He has 5 years of warehouse and 2 years of shipping & receiving experience, but failed to include the words “forklift” or “operator” anywhere on his resume.  John knows he has operated electric forklifts, as well as pallet jacks, and he assumes, based on his years of experience in a warehouse environment, the recruiter will know that, as well.  However, John Doe’s resume did not specifically include those keywords and, because of that, his resume might not even get a second look. 

Tips for Finding Keywords

To find the ideal keywords, first, take a look at the job posting or search a job position similar to what you are looking for.  The terms used in the description will often be in precise terms specific to the job, such as qualifications, responsibilities, or certifications. Then, incorporate those keywords into your resume.

  • Be specific. Include keywords that are as closely related to the specific job as possible. The more focused and specific you are in your language, the better chance you'll have at showing you are a good match.
  • Use as many as possible. Make sure you have touched on most, if not all, of the keywords that are highly relevant to the position.  Incorporate as many keywords as possible that help you match your qualifications to the job.  Do not use a keyword if you do not actually have that skill.
  • Utilize different types of keywords. Include a mix of different types of keywords, including soft skills, hard skills, industry buzzwords, certifications, and more. Using a wide variety of keywords will show that you have all of the diverse qualities necessary for the job.
  • Put them everywhere. In order for a recruiter or ATS to find your keywords, be sure to include them throughout your resume. You might incorporate these words into your professional summary, skills section of your resume, and any other part of your resume that seems appropriate.

Don’t be like John Doe - add those keywords.

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today.


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