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Job seekers are continuously searching for effective resume-writing techniques to elevate the content of their resume and boost response rates.  One tried and true practice is ensuring that the appropriate content and keywords are integrated into your resume.  If you would like to increase your response rate, following are two simple ways to incorporate the proper content every time.

Let’s begin with an understanding of the basics.  You and I both know that the actual job posting will give you an insight into the requirements and responsibilities of the job.  At the same time, the job posting will be chock full of pertinent keywords that are essential to include in your resume.

Why are incorporating keywords critical to winning an interview today?

Because of the onslaught of job hunters versus the number of jobs available, companies have resorted to using automated tracking systems (ATS).  Employers utilizing these systems are essentially relying on scanning devices to enable the electronic handling of their recruitment needs.  In other words, these devices filter candidate applications based on company-specified criteria such as years of experience, technical skills, education and schools attended.

In fact, research shows that Monster, CareerBuilder and various job search boards have employment and job conceptpartnered with other ATS companies to help parse the thousands upon thousands of uploaded resumes.  Obviously, their end goal is to help align jobs with the best candidates available. Our end goal is to land you an interview.

As you can see, it’s critical to make effective use of keywords in your resume to boost the number of “hits” you will receive.  Part of my standard process when writing a resume is to print the entire job posting. I read these postings like I am reading recipes in my cookbook. Line by line — and that’s no joke.

How do you make sure you are using the correct keywords?

Below are two fail-safe methods for deciphering the keywords you will need for your next job application.

  1. Google it! In this case, all you need to do is simply Google “keywords for {the job you are applying for}.” In almost every case, a laundry list of keywords will pop up. Review these words and compare them to your job posting.
  1. Use TagCrowd or Wordle. How do you obtain key words with these applications? There are three ways of entering text to generate a word cloud. It’s really very simple.
  • Upload a plain text file (such as a job posting or description) to visualize
  • Enter the URL for a web page you wish to visualize
  • Paste (or type) the text (job posting or description) you wish to visualize into the text box.

Resume Word Cloud Concept

After inserting your text, just hit the Visualize button, and bingo! The result will look like a cloud of words.  These are the keywords to incorporate into your resume.

Writing an effective resume is downright tricky today.  Incorporating crucial keywords from a job posting or a job description will ensure that you achieve a higher hit rate with the ATS scanning systems. Remember when reviewing the job posting, highlight any technical skills, degrees, or specific experience/background that are listed as a requisite.  Look at the buzzwords, phrases or soft skills that stand out.  You can also find additional keywords by reviewing the same position at other companies. Making sure you incorporate essential keywords will undoubtedly result in a higher response rate and also ensure that your resume or application does not land in the infamous black hole.

About Mindy Thomas

Mindy Thomas is a cutting-edge career consultant, professional résumé writer, professor, and entrepreneur. Through her company, Thomas Career Consulting located in Philadelphia, she leverages her 25-year business background with a solid foundation of career solutions for challenging times. Email Mindy at mindy@thomascareerconsulting.com , follow her on LinkedIn , and visit her website to learn more about her expert career consulting services.


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