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Scannable Resume Design :Keywords

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Keywords are nouns or noun phrases indicating a candidate’s skill set or qualifications as they pertain to the current job search.

Examples of keywords for an Administrative Assistant might be:
  • Typing 90 wpm
  • Dictation
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Reception
  • Phone Support

For an Accountant keywords might be:

  • Tax Accounting
  • Reconciliations
  • General Ledger
  • Profit and Loss Statements

Where to Find Keywords

1.  Current and Previous Job Descriptions.

In most positions, employees are given job descriptions.  Using these, pull out nouns or noun phrases of what you do on a daily basis, so long as those tasks are still relevant to your current job search.

2.  Resumes.

Cull data from the Professional Experience and Skill sections of your current or old resumes.  These daily duties will provide relevant and significant keywords for your scannable resume.

3.  Job Postings.

These are perhaps the most significant resource a candidate can use.  By dovetailing past experience with required qualifications and skills, a candidate is effectively targeting the new job, while enhancing candidacy.

How to Use Them

Here, you have two options:

  1. Create a keyword list for inclusion at the very beginning of your resume.
  2. Sprinkle keywords throughout your resume.

A keyword list at the beginning of your resume would read like this (for a Senior Product Manager):

Pharmaceutical Marketing. Territory Growth.  Market Share.  Opportunity Mining. Physician Rapport. Marketing Strategies. Budget Oversight. Targeted Goals.  Sales Force Leadership. Problem Resolution. Market Data Analysis. Sales Forecasting. Productivity Monitoring. Performance Enhancement. Sales Representative Training. Product Launches. Microsoft Office. Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Excel. Master of Arts in Marketing. Medical Doctor. Emergency Room Experience. Zithromax. Diflucan. M.D. Bilingual. Spanish Fluency. English Fluency.

Keywords in a Qualifications Summary would read like this (for a Senior Product Manager):

Dynamic, effective Physician and Pharmaceutical Marketing Professional with a strong background in maintaining standards of honesty and integrity while mining new opportunities for territory growth and market share. Easily establishes rapport with physicians based on a background that includes a Master’s Degree in Marketing, a Medical Degree, and emergency room experience. Creative problem solver experienced in devising new strategies for Zithromax and Diflucan to eliminate lost sales to generic brands. Client-oriented with superb communication and organizational skills in preparing successful marketing strategies, overseeing budgets, and leading a sales force towards targeted goals. Fluent in Spanish and English. Technically proficient in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and Outlook.

Remember, the more closely your background matches the qualifications of the new job, the more likely it is that you’ll be invited to interview.

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