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Get Your Resume Selected by Using Keywords

(Back to Resume Index)

Most employment agencies and large companies today use databases to quickly and efficiently match job openings with qualified job-seekers Since all resumes, once submitted, are standardized and screening is carried out wholly on the basis of content, it becomes extremely important for a job searcher to use text-based or scannable industry- or job-specific resumes by incorporating keywords and phrases related to the specific position applied for. The general rule is to have a resume containing 25-35 keywords that relate to the job or industry. These keywords can be job-specific skills, technological terms, technical expertise, job titles, certifications, names of products and services, industry buzzwords and jargon, types of degrees, names of colleges, company names, and even area codes (for narrowing down searches geographically). Awards you've won and names of professional organizations to which you belong can even be used as keywords.  Keywords are the nouns that explain to hiring managers what things you performed the actions on.

Below is a list of sample keywords and key phrases relevant to particular career fields.

ACCOUNTING
Account Management
Accounts Receivable
Accounting Software (Lotus 1-2-3, QuickBooks Pro)
Accounts Payable
Benefits Administration
Collections
Departmental Budgeting
Line-item Accounting
Profit & Loss Reports

ACCOUNT CLERK
A.S., Accounting
Client Base
Disbursements
General Ledger
Governmental Laws and Regulations

ADMINISTRATION/MANAGEMENT
Business Alliance Building
Business Development
Contract Negotiations
Contractual Relationships
Departmental Operating Budget
Employee Relations
Leadership Development
Logistic Operations
One-time Agreements
Operational Development
Performance Evaluations
Departmental Policy & Procedures

ADMINISTRATIVE/SECRETARIAL
Customer Development
Database Administration
Front-end Operations
Multi-line Communication System
Office Maintenance
Quality Customer Care & Retention
Word/Data Processing

BUSINESS MANAGER
10 years of related manufacturing experience
strategic planning
product management
program management
business plan
line management
pricing
team player
CAM
marketing
product strategy
vendor
general management
OEM
profit and loss

BUSINESS OPERATIONS SPECIALIST
bachelor's degree
4 years of related experience
production schedule
project planning
DESIRED
ability to implement
CList
data analysis
off-shift
team player
automation
ability to plan
customer interaction
VM, CMS, JCL
REXX, UNIX
MVS
analytical ability
customer interface
network
skills analysis
automatic tools

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER
Project management
Supervisor
Autocad
Estimator
Schedule management
Records
Safety
Inspection
Subcontractor Management
Permits
Specifications

ENGINEERING
Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Engineering, Manufacturing, Mechanical, Computer, Biomedical, Human Factors, Materials Science
Blueprint Reading
CAD Concepts
Design Realization
Electronic Communications & Technology
Electrical Circuits & Instruments
Equipment Measurement & Control
Fluid Mechanics
HVAC Distribution Systems
ISO Auditor
Kinematic Analysis
Linear Integrated Circuits
Metrology
Microprocessor/Microscontroller Systems
Optoelectronics
Programming
Programmable Controllers
Psychrometrics
Technical Mathematics & Physics Skills

FINANCIAL ANALYST
BS in finance or accounting with 4 years of experience or MBA in related field with 2 years of relevant  experience
financial reporting
financial statement
Excel
financial
trend analysis
financial statement
results analysis 
strategic planning
develop trends
financial modeling
microcomputers
DCF
presentation skills
team player
financial analysis
forecasting
process improvement
policy development
business policies
PowerPoint
Microsoft Word
analytical ability

 

GRAPHIC ARTIST
Illustrator
Photoshop
Web
HTML
Project Management
Designer
File Formats
Web Palettes
Illustration Skills
Multimedia
Portfolio

HOTEL MANAGER
Hospitality
B.S.
Front Desk
Catering
Food and Beverage
Guest Relations
Spanish
Occupancy Rate
Convention Management
Trade Shows
Sales

HUMAN RESOURCES
Affirmative Action / EEO Regulations
Employee Orientation
Employee Relations & Mediation
HR Program Development
Labor Relations
Performance Development
Personnel Training
Pre-employment Screening
Recruitment Programs
Staffing/Scheduling Requirements
State & Federal Rules and Regulations
Training/Orientation

KEY ACCOUNT & SALES PROFESSIONAL
Aggressive Marketing
B2B and B2C Clients
Fortune 1000 Companies
Marketing Tactics
Platform Functions
Revenue Increases
Sales Cycle
Software Presentations
Strategic Sales
Top Sales Recognition
Usability Features

LEGAL
Family Law
Law Office Management
Legal Researching & Writing
Litigation Procedures
Probate/Probation
Subrogation Logistics HEALTHCARE
Assessment
Assisted Living Housing
Benefit Eligibility & Determinations
Coding
Congregate Housing
Emergency Response System
Extended Care
Holistic Healing
In-home Services
Initial Therapies
Intake Personnel
Medical Billing & Transcription
Medical Evaluation
Medical Terminology
Patient & Quality Care
Short- and Long-term Care
Skilled Level Care

ORGANIC CHEMIST
Amino acid
Asymmetric
Bioorganic
Catalysis
HPLC
Kinetics
Nucleosides
Photochemistry
Polymer
Structure Flucidation
National Merit Scholar
Mechanistic Studies
Process Development

PROCUREMENT/PURCHASING/INVENTORY
Backorders
BidNet Interface
Business-to-business
Buyers, emphasis upon transportation
Cash Control
Containerization
Equipment Assets
Import/Export
Inventory Control
Just-in-time (JIT)
Loss & Damage Claims
Production Control
Purchasing Procedures & Techniques
Repairable Assets
Supply Chain Operations & Management
Tariffs, Claims, and Rates
Transportation Negotiations & Logistics IT/IS
Technicians, Programmers, Engineers, Specialists, Analysts, Administrators, Consultants, Architects, Development Managers, System Operators, Editors, Designers, Writers, Advisors, Project Managers, Estimators, Planners, Developers, Integrators

SALES
Client Base
Client Relationship Building
Event Marketing
Lead Groups
Marketing Strategies
Material Forecasting
Networking
One-call Sale
Outside/Inside Sales
Promotional Tactics
Selling Strategies

TECHNICAL/COMPUTER-RELATED
Client/Server Environment
Programming
Database Management Systems
End-user Software Applications
Hardware & Software Troubleshooting
Help Desk Assistance
Internet/Intranet
Software & Network Operations
System Maintenance & Upgrades
Technical Support
Technician/Analyst/Specialist
User Support
Web Applications
Web Server Administration

 

 

Keywords Within a Job Description-see keywords that are highlighted

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Using job announcements to your advantage can make a huge difference in the number of interviews you attend. Take the following classified ad as an example:

ACCOUNT CLERK WANTED. Candidate is expected to handle general ledger accounts, process disbursements, AND collect from a business and consumer client base. Educational requirements: A.S. in Accounting or related financial field. Candidate should possess experience with governmental laws and regulations.

Keywords include:
A.S., Accounting
Client Base
Disbursements
General Ledger
Governmental Laws and Regulations

Since the hiring company is searching for someone with these skills, a candidate would be wise to place these words prominently, yet not blatantly, within their resume. Offset your new keywords with complementary skills, qualifications and experience, and consider using different word variations. Let's say, for example, you work with general ledgers. It's common in the "accounting world" to list is as an acronym: GL. Using different word variations can also add visual appeal, because acronyms, numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts draw attention when mixed into a full-text document.

Take a look at the below sample resume statements. Make note of the keywords and key phrases mentioned throughout the text:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
KEY ACCOUNT & SALES PROFESSIONAL
Top Sales Recognition / Account & Business Development / Strategic Sales

High-impact sales and account professional who has worked with Fortune 1000 companies. Conduct aggressive sales and marketing tactics to B2B and B2C clients with a track record of significantly increasing revenues. Technical know-how to conduct software presentations, address platform functions and usability features, troubleshoot, and oversee the sales cycle.

Keywords include:
Aggressive Marketing
B2B and B2C Clients
Fortune 1000 Companies
Marketing Tactics
Platform Functions
Revenue Increases
Sales Cycle
Software Presentations
Strategic Sales
Top Sales Recognition
Usability Features
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Systems administrator with in-depth engineering, management, and interface experience, including extensive technological and user support functions with high-profile customers. Integrated within cross-functional technology teams to ensure continuous database updates and equipment functionality and availability. History of performing administrative duties at multiple locations while utilizing internal and external personnel. Expertise at a glance…

Systems Engineering – security, integration, implementation, configuration, and methodologies

Business Process Management – scheduling, budget allocating, manpower, and troubleshooting

Support – presentations, user and training assistance, layman’s terms (regardless of area), operations logistics, technical analysis, apply new technologies and up-to-the-minute concepts

Project management – projects ranged from $300,000 to $1.5 million; management team networking, installation, assistance, database administration, field support, systems development, and project lifecycle

Software / Database – Ingres Databases and Computervision CAD/CAM: user support, system administration, installation, projects, and instruction

Keywords include:
Rather than strategically placing industry-related “buzzwords” within the body of the summary, this candidate opted to include words within an easy-to-see, bulleted listing. The list allows the reader to see various skills and abilities “at a glance,” rather than scanning throughout the document. Remember, your resume will have a pitiful amount of time to make the hiring manager react.

The candidate also opted to emphasize upon a large number of keywords due his career field. The IT field demands extensive knowledge within varying areas of hardware, software, networking, interfacing, project management, and technical analysis; therefore, mentioning all aspects of this experience is important to the candidate being called for an interview.

The software that allows scanners to read your paper resume and turn it into an electronic resume is able to do just that. Resumix, one of the most widely used applicant tracking systems, reads the grammar of noun, verb, and adjective combinations and extracts the information for placement on the form that will become your entry in a resume database. Its expert system extraction engine uses a knowledge base of more than 120,000 rules and over ten million resume terms. It even knows the difference between Harvard Graphics (a computer software program) and Harvard (the university) by its placement on the page and its relationship to the header that precedes it (Computer Skills or Education). Aren't computers amazing?

Because of this complicated logic, and because companies and hiring managers have the ability to personalize the search criteria for each job opening, it is impossible to give you a concrete list of the thousands of possible keywords that could be used to search for any one job.

For instance, in one high-tech company I interviewed, a keyword search included the following criteria from two different hiring managers for the same job title:

Financial Analyst / Senior Accountant

REQUIRED
BS in finance or accounting with 4 years of experience or
MBA in related field with 2 years of relevant experience
certified public accountant
forecasting
REQUIRED
BS in finance or accounting with 4 years of experience or
MBA in related field with 2 years of relevant experience
accounting
financial reporting
financial statement
Excel

DESIRED
accounting
financial
trend analysis
financial statement
results analysis
trends
strategic planning
develop trends
financial modeling
personal computer
microcomputers
DCF
presentation skills
team player
DESIRED
ability
customer
new business
financial analysis
financial
forecasting
process improvement
policy development
business policies
PowerPoint
Microsoft Word
analytical ability
______________________________________________________________________


You can see why it is so difficult to give definitive lists of keywords and concepts. However, it is possible to give you samples of actual keyword searches used by recruiters I have interviewed to give you some ideas. Let me emphasize again that you should list only experience you actually have gained.
Do not include these keywords in your résumé just because they are listed here.

Business Manager (Central Archive Management)

REQUIRED
BS in engineering or computer science
10 years of related engineering and/or manufacturing experience
strategic planning
network
product management
program management
DESIRED
business plan
line management
pricing
team player
CAM
marketing
product strategy
vendor
general management
OEM
profit and loss
__________________________________________________________________

Business Operations Specialist

REQUIRED
bachelor's degree
4 years of related experience
production schedule
project planning
DESIRED
ability to implement
CList
data analysis
off-shift
team player
automation
ability to plan
customer interaction
VM, CMS, JCL
REXX, UNIX
MVS
analytical ability
customer interface
network
skills analysis
automatic tools
___________________________________________________________

Senior Software Engineer

REQUIRED
BS/MS in engineering, computer science or closely related field
8 to 9 years of experience
DESIRED
C++
customer
hiring/firing
prototype
structured design
code development
DASD
methodology
real time
supervision
communication skills
experiment design
problem solving
software design
testing
____________________________________________________________

Secretary

REQUIRED
high school education or
equivalent
5 years of experience
typing skill of 55–60 wpm
interpersonal skills
oral communication
DESIRED
administrative assistance
clerical
data analysis
file maintenance
material repair
PowerPoint
project planning
reports
screen calls
troubleshoot
answer phones
communication skills
document distribution
mail sorting
Microsoft Word
presentation
publication
schedule calendar
secretarial
appointments
confidential
edit
material
policies and procedures
problem solving
records management
schedule conference
telephone interview
 

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