Keywords are an integral part of the executive resume writing formula and will help to propel your resume from a database of competitive candidates and bring it in front of hiring managers.
If you think that a recommendation may be enough to get you in, well, think again. Even if you’ve established a personal connection with a corporate recruiter, in many corporate entities that you wish to apply to, your resume will still be put through a keyword search to ensure that the candidate (you) has the required expertise and matching skill sets that fit the job description.
Large and small corporations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to narrow down their job candidates. If you don’t know about these systems, see this article for more information.
Here are 3 tips on how you can incorporate keywords in your resume to make sure it gets seen:
Sprinkle (not stuff) keywords effectively
Start by jotting down buzzwords from the “must have” qualifications from the job listing. Additionally, search for job descriptions from your past and current positions or from resume samples of people in your industry with similar roles. A glance through the LinkedIn profiles of other executives will also help you in creating your keyword list.
A good executive resume needs to be concise, clear and to the point. Hence it is an art in itself to include buzzwords in the resume without getting suspected of “keyword stuffing”. Use the keywords naturally throughout the resume and also ensure that they are highlighted as your key strengths in the cover letter as well.
Use the right tools to find the right keywords
The job description will primarily have everything that the employer is looking for, including the keywords you should be targeting. However, in a text description, it is difficult to gauge the importance of the keyword. This is where a graphical representation created by sites such as Tagcrowd and Wordle can help highlight the critical components of the job requirement and elicit buzzwords for you.
Employ SEO techniques and use keyword variations
Recent SEO techniques make use of keyword variation and inclusion of keyword phrases so that they are not flagged by the robots filtering the document. Same is true for your resume to ensure that it gets past the ATS system.
In order to get through the ATS, avoid including all of the desired skills sets and requirements listed in the job description. Limit to using the most vital keywords (close to 60%) on your resume. Try to also incorporate keyword phrases or buzzwords as part of a summary or sentence.
It’s also important to stay away from acronyms that may not be universally accepted, and it is always better to spell out the proper name of the acronym, so that the system does not raise a red flag and your resume is well received by the hiring manager.
Make sure to write your resume in a way that keeps in mind the corporate culture, ideals and values that are important to the company you are applying to, which makes you stand out as the perfect executive for the position.