Your resume speaks volumes about you before you ever get your foot in the door. Learn more about what employers consider good practice.
How Employers Use Resumes to Screen Candidates
What Employers Need to Find in a Resume
Resumes and Keywords
While you may have fears about creating your resume, believe it or not, employers have fears too. One of the biggest employer fears is hiring the wrong person. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer for a moment. Consider you have 200 resumes to review for one position. The quickest way to weed out the wrong people is to use a resume as a screening tool, essentially eliminating anyone whose skill and experience descriptions don’t match the job requirements.
Employers use statements on your resume to develop their interview questions. They use resumes to judge an applicant’s communications skills, and eliminate any resumes with obvious errors in spelling or grammar. They use resumes to remind them of an applicant’s qualifications when it’s time to hire a new employee.
Employers look at resumes to find people who will benefit their companies or organizations. Your resume should convince the employer that you’re the best person for the job you’re applying for, and that you can contribute to their company’s success. You can be assertive enough to say, “Here’s what I can do for you.”
Many employers don’t know every aspect of every job description in their company or organization, so they look for resumes with accomplishments, results, and keywords that describe what they’re looking for. To address these employer needs, it’s important to include measurable results and achievements in your resume.
Employers look for employees who have achieved results that will help their companies. Results to include on a resume are quantifiable achievements such as increasing sales, profits, client satisfaction, or staff productivity. Other results can be reducing costs, suggesting or implementing new and innovative procedures, and building a company’s reputation.
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Many employers now scan resumes received via mail, email, or fax into their own searchable software databases to look for specific keywords associated with the job description. Keywords are specific words or phrases that potential employers may use to find the right candidates. They are nouns and noun phrases, such as “Manager” and “Assistant Manager.” Keywords are used as search criteria in the same way you do research on the Internet. The more specific keywords you use, the more likely it is that an employer will locate your resume out of a stack of a thousand.
For example, if hiring managers typed the word “retail” into the software that combed thousands of resumes, they are likely to get thousands of resumes in return. However, if they type “sales manager,” they are likely to get far fewer and more useful results.
To find the right keywords, research your industry online and look for trends in words used to describe the specific jobs you’d like. As well, all major career sites (Monster.com; Indeed.com; Careerbuilder.com) use industry-specific keywords to help you in your job search. Borrow these to make your resume more “findable”.
Another great way to find keywords and phrases is to study the description of the job being applied for and use these words and phrases in your resume. Customize your resume for each job you apply for to include keywords from each job description. You’ll be sure to make your resume scannable and searchable!
Some examples of keywords include:
- Engineer – software, electrical, Microsoft, .Net
- Daycare Worker – children, childcare, day care (as two words), preschool
- Mechanic – car, avionics, aircraft, engineering, photo
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