Make Your Resume Keyword Rich and Scanner Friendly

Research your prospective employer and the field it is in to know what message to convey. Your resume will potentially be read by a scanner (a computerized tracking system) that is designed to spot keywords. You want to fill your resume with as many of these keywords as possible. Since keywords are industry or job specific, keep a log of keywords that apply to your occupation or industry. You may also find them from the sources below:

– Job postings – either printed or online
– Job descriptions
– Industry association websites
– Career related discussion forums
– Yellow pages – either printed or online
– Job related publications 
– Resume and career exploration books/material
– Corporate websites, and 
– Other resumes that have been posted online  

You want your resume to survive the critical preliminary evaluation and avoid the waste basket. The following tips will help:
1. Style

– Proofread for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
– Use action verbs and strong adjectives
– As much as possible, use present tense and active, not passive, mood.
– Avoid repeating words or phrases.
– Use simple words and brief sentences.
– Avoid using pronouns. The resume is all about you.
– Be consistent and use the same grammatical style throughout.
– Avoid self-flattering terms such as “highly skilled, outstanding, or excellent.” Let your readers evaluate your qualifications and decide for themselves.  
– Be honest and accurate, but not overly modest.

2. Format

– Limit your resume to 2 pages. You can be expansive in the interview.
– Make the page reader friendly: simple font, eye-friendly font size, and leave sufficient vacant space.
– Select a format that suits your qualifications. Do not adopt someone else’s which may not suit what you have to say. Do not mix formats.
– Underline, bold face, and use bullets to emphasize your credentials. Avoid long paragraphs.

3. Content

– Highlight skills, accomplishments, capabilities, and work experience. Give proof of your claims. Show not only that you completed tasks but that you completed them well and contributed to organizational goals.
– List relevant data only. For example, courses which have been most important in your education and will be relevant to the type of work you seek. Do not list all the courses you have taken.
– Omit irrelevant details such as memberships in sports club, age, marital and health status, and information that is repetitive, implicit (e.g. high school graduation for a college graduate), or out-of-date. If you are a US citizen or hold a permanent resident visa, include this if the recruiter might have a reason to think otherwise.
– Be creative. Choose catchy and self-explanatory headings, e.g., “related experience”, “overseas experience”, or “special skills” rather than “employment” or “others.”
– Cite numbers to convey size and/or scale of project, budget,
– Give examples to demonstrate desirable personality traits such as leadership, interpersonal facility, confidence, and independence.
– Leave out salary expectations, religious or political affiliations, and references.