When you’re looking for a new job, updating your resume to ensure it features the right keywords is essential. Many companies rely on an applicant tracking system (ATS) to perform initial application screenings, and most are programmed to seek out specific keywords to determine whether a candidate is a potential match. As a result, you need the right keywords to increase the odds that the hiring manager even sees your resume.
Additionally, hiring managers typically skim resumes for specific keywords during their first review. If you don’t have the right ones in your application, they can remove you from contention with surprising speeds.
In many cases, figuring out which keywords to use is tricky for candidates. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s a look at important keywords to use in your resume.
Keywords Listed in the Job Description
In most cases, the most critical keywords to feature in your resume are those listed in the job ad. Typically, the terms and phrases that companies use to describe must-have skills in the listing are the exact ones they input into an ATS before screening applicants. Using the same spelling and phrasing you see in the vacancy announcement increases the odds that the ATS views you as a match.
Additionally, since the hiring manager often selects the keywords present in a job description, the words and phrases included are what they usually focus on finding when reviewing resumes. Again, by matching the terms and phrases to what’s present in the listing, you’re more likely to seem like an excellent fit to the hiring manager.
Precisely what these words and phrases do varies by position and employer. As a result, you need to review the job ad carefully when making your selections.
Keywords That Describe Soft Skills
Regarding more universal keywords, those describing soft skills are potential targets for any ATS or hiring manager. As a result, it’s wise to work some into your resume before you submit your application, even if these aren’t explicitly included in the job ad. Here are some examples of soft skill-related keywords you want to consider:
- Customer Service
- Time Management
In the end, which ones you include will also vary by position. It’s best to showcase those that are most relevant to that specific hiring manager and the nature of the role you’re trying to land. Consider which capabilities provide the most value in regard to that job, making those your focus.
Ultimately, adding keywords to your resume is essential for job search success. Make sure to review the job description to identify terms and phrases used to describe must-have skills and traits. Then, mix in some soft skill keywords that are highly desirable in general, allowing you to highlight relevant characteristics, too.
If you’d like to learn more or are actively looking for a new position, GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us today.