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Former recruitment agency experts answer employment questions, candidly suggesting how to negotiate your salary, find a really good job, handle phone interviews, and more.

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Resume Key Words

Many larger companies use resume scanning software that include a keyword identifying and sorting system which ranks resumes based on the number of "keywords" contained in the resume. Having the right keywords in your resume will not guarantee you a job but not having them in the resume almost assuredly guarantees that you won't get an interview.

As an additional benefit, identifying the key skills and experience that will be needed for your next job is an essential part of your career development plan. Savvy professionals will undertake this keyword exercise in order to identify both current weaknesses in their experience and knowledge as well as future skills and experience that will be needed in order to get promoted!

Steps in identifying keywords, essential skills and experience. How do you identify the "correct" keywords to use?
Start with the job description for your targeted position. In addition review the want ads for other closely related jobs in order to identify the key terms they are looking for.

Identify the key values of the company you are targeting. These values can generally be found somewhere on the firms website, or in the firm's mission statement, or annual report.

Next look for any key 'competencies' that the firm lists on its website.

Then go through the job description and want ads for the specific job you are targeting.

Repeat the step above for the job description and the want ads of the target firm's competitors. Capture all the key words they list since many firms try to emulate the practices of their best competitors.

Also go through the job descriptions and the want ads of any related jobs in the same firm to see if there are words that are continually used by the firm. If the company's ads keep repeating certain things then it is likely because this is an important factor for them them.

Look at the job description for the job that is "one level above" the job you are targeting at that firm. Add key words from the "higher" level job ad if you expect to get a higher than average pay rate (or if you wish to be promoted soon).

In addition to reviewing job descriptions reading about the latest trends in business and technology is also essential. Scan the the better magazines and journals for your profession for keywords.

Sorting and ranking keywords:
Try to use each words at least three times in your resume and cover letter.

The most important key words should appear early in each section of each job description on your resume (generally in the first line or two).

Although it is possible to get an interview without 'loading' your resume with keywords, including them will definitely improve your chances.

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