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Keywords (part 1)

by - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service

As discussed in step four of the résumé writing process, using the right keywords for your particular experience and education is critical to the success of your résumé if it is ever scanned or e-mailed into an electronic résumé database. Without the right keywords, your résumé will float in cyberspace forever waiting for a hiring manager to find it. If your résumé contains all of the right keywords, then you will be among the first candidates whose résumés are reviewed. If you lack only one of the keywords, then your résumé will be next in line after résumés that have them all, and so on.

Remember, your keywords are the experience and skills that come from the specific terminology used in your job. For instance, operating room and ICU immediately classify the experience of a nurse, but pediatric ICU narrows it down even further. Don't try to limit your résumé by using fewer words. Recall, however, that you only need to use a word one time for it to be considered a "hit" in a keyword search. Try to use synonyms wherever possible to broaden your chances of being selected.

You should also understand the difference between a simple keyword search and a "concept" search. When a recruiter opens an electronic résumé file in MS Word and sends the computer on a search for a single word like marketing—which you can do in any word processing program with a few clicks of a mouse or function key—he or she is performing a keyword search. You are also performing a keyword search when you type a word or combination of words into the command line of a search engine like Yahoo or Excite.

A concept search, on the other hand, can bridge the gap between words by reading entire phrases and then using sophisticated artificial intelligence to interpret what is being said, translating the phrase into a single word, like network, or a combination of words, like project management.

The software that allows scanners to read your paper résumé and turn it into an electronic résumé is able to do just that. Resumix, one of the most widely used applicant tracking systems, reads the grammar of noun, verb, and adjective combinations and extracts the information for placement on the form that will become your entry in a résumé database. Its expert system extraction engine uses a knowledge base of more than 120,000 rules and over ten million résumé terms. It even knows the difference between Harvard Graphics (a computer software program) and Harvard (the university) by its placement on the page and its relationship to the header that precedes it (Computer Skills or Education). Aren't computers amazing?

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Scannable Resume

From Designing the Perfect Resume,by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.


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