Resume Writing: Include Keywords to Stand Out from Your Competition

As a job seeker in the midst of an extensive search, sometimes it can feel like you’re submitting resumes that drop into a black hole. While this is a bit hyperbolic, the sentiment actually isn’t too far off  – research has shown that hiring managers on average spend just seconds initially scanning resumes. Another scenario that may be behind your resume not being noticed is the use of software that automatically filters resumes based on preset parameters. Help beat the system and get your resume to stand out both to managers and software by focusing on the right keywords.

Relevance to Job Description

If it isn’t clearly obvious at first glance that you have the right qualifications for the job, your resume is likely to be tossed aside. Hiring managers don’t have the time to read between the lines to determine that you’re a good match. Make it known without a doubt that you’re right for the job by scanning the job description for specific words and phrases and including them in your resume. If a hiring manager (or application software) scans your resume, seeing the familiar keywords will likely catch their attention.

Action and Outcome

A common resume tactic is to list out one’s responsibilities and skills and interject them with descriptive terms (such as “strategic thinker” or “go-getter”). This information isn’t necessarily helpful for standing out as a top candidate because it can be a bit redundant (hiring managers can ascertain your responsibilities based on your previous titles) as well as subjective (anyone can praise themselves as a “team player”). Focus on what hiring managers are really looking for: how you can perform. Use actionable language to describe your past achievements and include objective metrics when possible (such as, “Increased cross-sales by 20%”).

Soft Skill Indicators

Hiring managers certainly care about candidates’ expertise and performance, but what separates the top candidates from the rest is soft skills. These are intangible, personality-based skills (such as honesty/integrity, problem solving, collaboration, work ethic, positive attitude) that are desirable and necessary for success, but difficult to evaluate. When describing your previous achievements, don’t stop at technical aptitude – include your soft skills as keywords. For instance, if describing a project you were part of and had great results, also mention that you worked with others and adhered to deadlines through proper time management.

Crafting your resume is only the beginning of the job search – getting it into the hands of employers looking for candidates like you is what counts the most! Gain access to unlisted opportunities of local employers on Guam by working with GuamTemps. We provide temporary staffing services, as well as direct placement, for various industries. Learn more about our job seeker services and how GuamTemps can be a resource to help you find your next job opportunity.

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