How to Optimize Your Resume for Keywords in Two Easy Steps

Modern applicant tracking systems scan resumes for keywords. Most candidate searches are done using keywords. If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords, or if the keywords aren’t placed correctly throughout the resume, you risk never making it in front of the hiring manager.

Here are two steps you can take immediately to optimize your resume for keywords and be found!

Step One:

Do you use Microsoft Office daily? Is part of that using Excel and Word? If the way you have Microsoft Office represented on your resume is simply as “Office” and you have nothing else, such as no mention of “Excel” or “Word”, you are risking the chance of not being identified.

For some industries like engineering, writing keywords in your resume is critical if you are to be discovered. CAD and AutoCAD should both be in your resume just in case someone is searching for one and not the other. A “Professional Engineer” and “P.E.” should both appear in your resume if you are a registered professional engineer.

Here’s one way to optimize an engineering resume for keywords. When describing projects in your resume, write out “Printed Circuit Boards” as well as use industry known abbreviations like “PCB”.

Go through your resume and look for software programs you use every day that is important to your industry. Then make sure you’ve done a good job of writing it in ways that’ll help you be found. Use both abbreviated and fully spelled out versions of industry projects and certifications.

Step Two:

Insert keywords throughout your resume. Modern applicant tracking systems don’t just look for keywords to simply be in your resume, they also look at where they are located.

Are you using AutoCAD at your current employer? Be sure to write that when describing your role.

Did you use AutoCAD at previous employers? Applicant tracking systems look for number of years spent with a program. Be sure to optimize your resume with keywords throughout.

Don’t just have a giant stockpile of keywords at the bottom of your resume hoping to capture every possible search. Use that space to capture different versions or spellings of programs. If you used AutoCAD to describe your current position, use CAD at the bottom.

David Coreen is the president of DAVRON. The Tampa-based firm provides staffing, outplacement and resume writing services in engineering, architecture and construction.

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