How to create a keyword-optimised resume

Imagine being inundated with resumes, many of them from people entirely unsuitable for the job, and you'll understand just how hard an employer works to separate the wheat from the chaff. Make the task easier for them and show off your suitability by optimising your resume with keywords.

Automated resume sorting

When faced with a pile of resumes, recruiters will often do a quick scan for those who appear to be a good fit for the role. Scanning the pages for relevant keywords is the easiest method to do this.

For larger companies, it's likely that it won't even be a human who carries out this role. Instead, automated software will hunt through resumes and highlight the ones with the best keyword ratio.

Identifying the most suitable keywords

Optimising your resume can help you get past the crucial first stage and one step closer to an interview, but how do you select the correct keywords for the role? By paying close attention to the job description, it should reveal exactly which words are most important to the employer.

Save time and improve accuracy by copying the job ad's text into word-cloud generators, such as TagCrowd and Wordle. They'll provide a visual representation of exactly which words the recruiter is most focused on.

Inserting keywords naturally

Once you identify the keywords, you need to incorporate them into your resume in the most natural way possible. Even if you're initially passing through an automated process, it will still be a human who ultimately decides on the effectiveness of your application.

Useful areas for unobtrusive optimisation include job titles, previous skills and experience, education and training, as well as in your summary of qualifications.

Be honest and relevant

Don't be tempted to stuff your CV full of keywords – add them only where appropriate. And don't try to hide extra keywords under white text. Most recruiters are aware of this devious trick to game automated-selection systems and view this practice as manipulative.

Get noticed for all the right reasons and make your CV stand out.

Need additional career advice or assistance with your job search? Contact your local Robert Half office.

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