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The One Thing That Will Improve Your Résumé

Joe Turner, Career Coach

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Too many books on résumé writing are out-of-date. Although well-intentioned and filled with other good information, most have not been updated for the modern job search.

Your résumé will be seen by many eyes, including electronic. Computers "score" résumés by the number of keywords (also known as "buzzwords") the employer will find most relevant. If you don’t account for this, your résumé could stay locked in some database, never to be even seen by anyone while you wait for a call that never comes.

Write a "Keyword Competencies" section.

One solution for the electronic gatekeeper (or applicant tracking system) is to include a special section called a "Keyword Competencies" section. You want to focus on the words most likely to be used by either a HR administrator, hiring manager or recruiter. They search résumés by keywords. The greater number of relevant keywords you can include, the higher relevancy score your résumé will be given.

This section should list all the relevant keywords pertaining to your career and skills. This section is best listed at the beginning of your résumé to introduce the skill sets you possess early on from an interviewing standpoint. Include no more than 75 keywords.

For example, if you were a Java Programmer, your "Keyword Competencies" section might look something like this:

"Java, Visual C++, perl, ticl, application development, visual basic, Windows NT/XP, programming, GUI, html, project management, layer 2, BSEE."

The idea here is to put in as many relevant, searchable keywords that describe your potential job title, technical skills, management or organizational skills, relevant software and/or mechanical abilities and expertise. Include anything that might be important to the particular job.

In addition, if you can locate a description of an actual job or one similar to the actual job for which you are applying, copy in all the applicable buzzwords listed under required and desired skills. This includes education levels (if they require a BS in Electrical Engineering, then include "BSEE" as well).

If you spend some time on this, you should easily come up with a list of from 40 to 80 relevant searchable keywords to include here.


As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their career. You can discover more insider job search secrets by visiting http://www.jobchangesecrets.com.

Last Updated: 23/09/2008 - 12:58 PM


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