Attract attention by using keywords in your c-level resume.

You c-level resume should use keywords to attract attention.

Keywords in a resume? Who needs them? If you’re trying to land a c-level position, you need them! More than three quarters of employers rely on keywords to narrow their vast pool of applicants to choose the most promising and bring them to the interview stage.

Why Keywords Are Important in a Resume

Recruiters looking for the winning c-level resume for a specific position rely on automated resume databases to cull through hundreds and often thousands of online resume submissions collected by a firm. When a recruiter places an ad for a position opening, he or she usually includes a punch list of must-have criteria for the successful applicant.

Similarly, when sorting through resumes of applicants responding to the position, he or she will use must-have keywords. These might include the name of the city where the position is based, specific skills, required foreign languages, programming languages or educational degrees. The recruiter enters these keywords into his or her search criteria and may immediately cull 4,000 resumes down to 76. He or she will then quickly scan those 76, spending literally seconds on each one to decide if it is a “keeper.” The more must-have keywords he or she sees in that brief scan, the more likely that candidate will move to the next stage and land a phone or in-person interview.

Effective Ways to Use Keywords to Boost Your Interview Odds

You can use keywords to your advantage when you know how important they are. When you are applying for a c-level job, jot down buzz words from the punch list of “must-have” qualifications in the job posting. In addition to using these words often and as near the top of your resume a possible, use them in your cover letter. Recruiters expect a good executive resume cover letter to be concise and to the point and to spell out quickly why they should take a closer look at the resume it is introducing. Fitting in the most important keywords without appearing to “keyword stuff” your cover letter is an art. The best approach is to enlist guidance from the best resume writing service you can find to boost your chances.

Beyond creating an intriguing executive resume cover letter, it’s a good idea to create a “skills” punch list to include in your resume. Regurgitate the “must-haves” from the job listing into a “skills” section for your resume. Last but not least, use keywords naturally throughout your resume to boost the odds a recruiter’s automated system will flag you as an outstanding candidate.

Invest in Skilled Professional Help

When you’re seeking a c-level position, your c-level resume should change with each job you apply for. This can be time-consuming and a bit mind-boggling if writing isn’t your forte. Don’t risk losing out on a perfect position because your resume or cover letter wasn’t up to par. Do yourself a favor and hire a pro with a proven track record. Contact us and leave the details to us.

a visual view of resume keywords

Have you ever made a word cloud? The most popular version of a word (or tag) cloud generator is Wordle, but there are many other options out there. Teachers love creating word clouds for visual learners because it helps the student see the most frequently used vocabulary in a text.  But you can use your favorite word cloud generator to compare the frequency of words in a job opening and your resume.

Here’s why I think this is a good idea: you’ll quickly see if any words in your resume match the words in the ad.

What you are seeing in that word cloud is the key vocabulary in the text — keywords. Resume keywords play an important role in getting your resume into the “call for interview” pile on an important desk. You’ll also get an idea of how often you use certain words to describe yourself. Does your resume word cloud show an active, effective candidate? Does anything match the word cloud of the position you are applying for? If it doesn’t, then you have some work to do on your resume.

The closer your language matches the language in the ad, the more apt you are to be seen as a “match” for the position. It should go without saying that I’m not telling you to make stuff up, because lying on a resume is a bad idea. But highlighting the similarities between your qualifications and the qualifications of the candidate they are seeking is a good idea.

If you are a visual learner, using a word cloud generator to evaluate your resume and the job opening is an easy way to see which words are being used most often and decide what to do with the way your resume is written.

keywords vs cliches -- the branding debate

How often are you told you need a LinkedIn Profile that is keyword rich, then you read an article on LinkedIn that tells you, “Stop Using These 16 Terms To Describe Yourself“? The main thrust of the article is that the keywords generally are cliches and should be left out of your branding vocabulary. However, keywords are very necessary in terms of being found on LinkedIn. Whenever I read an article like that, I try to take the time to read all the comments because there will generally be a debate! This particular article, though, has over 3,000 comments so that is probably not going to happen this time.

One common reality that many readers mention in this debate is the fact they won’t even make it to the interview without the keywords/cliches in the resume so the search engine brings it up to the person who decides on the viability of the candidate.

Words are tools. Tools can be poorly made and fall apart the first time used, or finely crafted and used by generations to build things. The goal isn’t the tool, although tools can be very beautiful. The goal of a tool is its usefulness in helping the user achieve their goal, what ever it is. But even the best tool cannot do anything without the user’s skill.

When you look at our LinkedIn Profile Development service you see how an expert views this debate: you need both the keywords/cliches and the humanizing factor. The keywords often are cliches, but an experienced wordsmith knows how to use them to get past the computers to the people. If all you have is cliched keywords, the resume stops here. It’s that human factor, the individuality brought out by a skillful resume/profile writer, that connects with the person reading about you.

There are too many profiles out there for a person to read all of them. That’s what search engines are for! And search engines are computers looking for keywords. The words are tools we use to get you to the person’s notice and to bring your “brand” to the front, where all that makes you unique can shine. That’s the “humanizing” factor and the other leg your online branding stands on.

Use the words that make up your online brand/presence wisely. Remember that you need both the keyword/cliche AND the individual spark that makes you recognizable.

 

 

 

 

How Can Keywords Improve Your Resume?
A resume is used to show off your best qualities to an employer. It shows your skills, work experience, and accomplishments. With all that information, how do you emphasize your best features? You can tailor your resume and pick only your most impressive entries, but you can also use keywords that will help you stand out and impress your potential employers.

Keywords will do a few things: they will keep your resume focused, they will make certain traits stand out to employers, and they will make your resume different than your competition, making you stand out even more.

  1. Keeping your resume focused: Keywords will keep your resume focused because everything you list or say will go back to reinforce those keywords. This will make your resume coherent, consistent, and focused.
  2. Make certain traits stand out: Instead of your potential employers looking at many traits that are desirable, using keywords, especially those found in the job posting,  will make specific traits stand out so that they know exactly what they can expect from you as far as skills and expertise go.
  3. Make you stand out among the competition: Not many people know to utilize keywords in their resume, so if you do, then your resume not only stand out, it will be picked up by scanning machines used by recruiters and employers to week out non-candidates.

So now that you know how keywords can improve your resume, you need to know how to utilize them.

  1. Pick out about three keywords you would like to use. A few good ones could be, Customer Service & Relations, Operations, Information Technology, Sales & Marketing, Staff Leadership, Finance, tc. The keywords can be anything that make you stand out and emphasize the things you are best at, but they should also relate directly to the skills/qualifications outlined in the job posting.
  2. Insert the keywords wherever appropriate into your resume. Keywords can be incorporated into your career summary,  your skills (keyword) list, your professional experience, and accomplishments. Make sure that potential employers see these keywords and have a clear understanding of your areas of expertise.

Using the appropriate keywords throughout your resume will help to ensure that YOU will be the candidate called for the inteview.

So many people are put off by the idea of writing a resume, and ignore doing it until the absolute last possible minute, many times when it is too late. Using a resume that is written properly will save you a lot of heartache in the end, though—and is worth the time investment. Taking advantage of keywords to write a resume is an excellent idea, particularly if it is done well.

One of the main reasons keywords is such a hot topic is because of company scanning machines. Employers use scanning machines to search for keywords in a candidates resume that match their requirements, weeding out everyone else whose resumes don’t match that.

In the last decade or so, it has become the norm for resumes to be sent out over the internet through search engines—particularly the job hunting search engines. Employers will take advantage of these particular search engines, and feed in the required information for each job posting, and a set of tags. In other words, the tags are the keywords that they are looking for in resumes. These tags not only help the companies, but they help you by permitting you to select categories that you feel fit your skill level better. By knowing what category you picked the job from—operations, finance, sales and marketing—you can re-word your resume using relevant keywords to fit the job description (posting) you are interested in. So, how do you know what keywords to add in a resume?

Make a rough list of what you need to add to your resume. Consider the jobs that are on your resume already. What things do they have in common? Start to think about what words you could conveniently place to attract prospective employers’ attention throughout your resume—words that are part of your past experiences–and relevant to the next position. Previous experience managing a manufacturing company can be turned into a keyword, or two—manufacturing operations or operations executive.

Place the keywords appropriately in your resume. Make the sentence or title that they are in seem natural, yet the placement of the keyword will gain attention, especially in the search engines. Consider a bulleted keyword list under your career summary.  Grabbing the attention of human resource managers or the hiring person is easier if you have a keyword list.

Now that you know how keywords work in a resume, take the time to rework your resume. A little bit of extra effort quite often pays off in the long run—especially when you’re looking for the job of your dreams.

Keywords are an essential piece to a well-written resume. Why? Because they are the words that describe what you do. They also let the reader know immediately whether or not you are a potential candidate for them.

Keywords are “buzz” words or industry specific jargon that communicates a message about your qualifications, accomplishments, credentials or responsibilities. They are action-driven and demonstrate your value to the company.

Each keyword has a message attached to it. For example:  Operations Leadership message is– process performance improvements, operational compliance, cost reductions, safety implementation, etc. They help tell the story in conjunction with action verbs (created, developed, launched, delivered…) to pack more of a punch and keep the reader interested.

With companies receiving thousands of resumes per job opening, they have come to rely on keyword-searchable databases to weed out candidates that don’t fit the position and save the candidates that do. These machines are programmed with certain keywords and receive “hits” for resumes that match the data. Keywords are also being used on job boards and professional networks like LinkedIn.  Hiring managers can go to LinkedIn and type in “Pharmaceutical Sales Representative” and if you have those words in your resume, you become a match.

Keywords can be used throughout the resume. You can add them to your career summary at the top, or in your job description, and within your accomplishments to bring out your strengths. Here is an example of keywords within a career summary. I added bold so you could tell which ones they are:

“Dynamic executive leadership career of diverse organizations with a rich mix of finance, operations, internal/external processes, sales and business development. Intimate knowledge of financial processes, accounting practices, operating results and profitability. Expert in executing team-driven process improvements to increase revenue growth, operational efficiency, and overall profitability.”

See how keywords are peppered all through there? This resume will be able to stand up against company keyword machines.

Take a close look at your resume and make sure it is keyword-saturated. If you need help with keywords, go to Amazon and buy a book of keywords. Definitely worth the money.

Many executives make the mistake of believing their experience and expertise speaks for itself on a resume. However, you aren’t the only one with similar experience, so writing resumes that get you hired isn’t as easy as it sounds. This is especially true if you haven’t crafted a resume in a while. There are many reasons why your resume could benefit from professional executive resume writers, and here are some of those reasons.

Your Aspirations and Goals Have Changed

When you last applied for a job, your goals and aspirations may have changed between then and now. Updating your resume from this standpoint goes beyond just removing and adding a few sentences here and there. When writing an effective resume, your goals and aspirations have to be clear and supported by your experience, which is more difficult to portray if you aren’t experienced in writing resumes.

Your Last Job Search Was Several Years Ago

Things change quickly, and your resume could be outdated if you haven’t updated it in a few years. You may have written great resumes in the past, but recruiting practices constantly evolve, meaning your older practices may no longer be effective. Everything from the format, the layout, keywords and the general content used in your resume can be addressed by professional executive resume writers.

professional executive resume writersYou Aren’t Sure What to Include in Your Resume

You never want to include too much information on a resume, but you also have to make sure there’s enough information to highlight your attributes. Professional executive resume writers will critique your resume and determine what should be removed or added to give you the best chance to be noticed by a recruiter.

You Have a Bumpy Work History

Everyone’s employment history is different. In many cases today, employers aren’t worried too much about a bumpy work history as long as there is some sort of explanation about it. The key to writing resumes that get you hired is filling in employment gaps or other complications. You can’t change your past, but you can shape your future by writing an effective resume.

Professional Resume Services is here to help you in any way regarding your executive resume. We bring years of expertise to the table and always keep up with the latest job search trends. If you’re in need of a resume critique or just need to start from scratch, feel free to reach out to us at any time for a consultation.

With the digital age we live in today, it’s easy to think platforms like LinkedIn have completely diminished the importance of a traditional resume. While there are plenty of benefits to having a great LinkedIn profile, it was not created to replace your resume. There are actually more differences between the two than similarities, although they can be used in the same ways at times. Here are the main similarities and differences between the two to keep in mind.

How Are Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Similar?

When you write resumes that get you hired, you’re going to put your past jobs, skills, experiences, projects and accomplishments on it. These are facts you should also put on your LinkedIn profile, even though they will be displayed a little differently. You also want to focus on your value with both LinkedIn and your resume, along with incorporating the right keywords to make them both stand out.

best executive resume writersHow Are They Different?

The best executive resume writers will tell you to have multiple versions of your resume for different positions you apply for. However, having multiple LinkedIn profiles can just lead to confusion. Your LinkedIn profile should be more general, while your resume is more specific.

The tone used is also a key difference. When writing resumes that get you hired, you need to use a formal tone. LinkedIn is best for more of a social or conversational tone. Also, your resume should be brief, while your LinkedIn profile can expand on points a little more. In a way, your LinkedIn should provide more context and stories behind your factual points, which should not be included on a resume.

Both Are Useful and Effective

Your resume and LinkedIn can’t replace one another, but they can be used effectively in conjunction with each other. Many recruiters will look at your LinkedIn after reading through your resume, so simply duplicating the information is not what you should do. LinkedIn is designed to provide a bigger picture of your accomplishments, show your personality and show off all of your achievements. Today, both are needed and can be extremely valuable when used most effectively together.

Professional Resume Services has a team of the best executive resume writers to help you with your job search. We know how to maximize your resume and LinkedIn so they can work together most effectively and present your experience in the best way possible. Utilizing your resume and LinkedIn effectively can be tricky, so feel free to contact us at any time to see how we can help you separate the two, while still making them both work to your advantage.

Being aggressive with an executive job search doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be pushy or demanding. Aggressiveness actually means spending a significant amount of time developing the best resumes and cover letters tailored to the job and company you’re applying for. There’s still a time and place for a follow up after you’ve applied for a position, but the vast majority of your work should be done beforehand. Here are some tips to consider throughout your job search.

executive resume biographyTailor Your Resume Specifically For The Job

Writing general resumes and cover letters won’t get you very far. One of the best things you can do is look at the details of all the requirements and insert the keywords you identify into your application papers. You may think an HR manager or recruiter won’t be able to know you’ve sent in the same resume to multiple different companies, but they’ve likely filtered through thousands of resumes in their career to know the difference between a general and specific one.

Read The Job Application Thoroughly

Missing a critical detail in a job application is a guaranteed way to be removed from consideration. For example, if a specific work sample is required for the application, not including one shows your lack of attention to detail. No matter how much you follow up, they will remember you didn’t follow directions from the application, so what makes them think you can follow directions if they hire you?

Make Connections

Once you’ve put together your best executive resume biography and filled out the job application perfectly, wait a week or two before following up. In the meantime, feel free to make connections with the HR manager or other company personnel via LinkedIn or other networking platform. Just be sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile before your reach out so it helps your case instead of hurting it.

Follow Up At Appropriate Times

Following up on a job application is important and effective if done at the right time. As mentioned, wait at least one week after you submit your application before you follow up. There’s sometimes no way to tell if your resume and cover letter get lost in the shuffle, so sending a quick email displaying your interest is recommended. A follow up email is an aggressive way to move your job search forward, but be sure to draw the line between being aggressive and being pushy.

Professional Resume Services wants to be involved with all aspects of your executive job search. We can help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, craft the perfect cover letter or resume or even provide tips on how to show the right amount of aggressiveness during your job search. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re in need of assistance at any point during your job search.

writing a professional resumeYou’ve likely heard of the six second test when it comes to writing a professional resume. If not, it simply means you have an average of six seconds to impress a recruiter with your resume. If you don’t pass the six second test, it will get put to the side and never looked at again. Passing this test seems difficult on the surface to some executives, but when you break it down you’ll see it’s not as impossible as you think.

Incorporate White Space

The best executive resume writing service will tell you to incorporate just the right amount of white space to create the most effective resume. White space serves as a pause for the reader, and it makes your resume look less cluttered overall. Plus, it will make your most important accomplishments stand out since they are easier to identify on the document.

Use Keywords Early

Use keywords straight from the job description and list of qualifications early and often in your resume. If you’re lucky enough to get through the applicant tracking system with your resume, and into the hands of an actual human, they will scan the resume quickly for keywords. And if the recruiter can’t find any keywords within a couple of seconds, your chances of them continuing to read the resume drop significantly.

Numbers Stand Out

Numbers will stand out when writing a professional resume. A recruiter will identify numbers and read those sections first, since they usually provide information on how effective you were at previous jobs.

Demonstrate Leadership

One thing the best executive resume writing service will look for is whether your resume demonstrates leadership. Companies today don’t just want to fill an open position. They want to find a leader who is capable of growing the company and leading by example. When you demonstrate leadership qualities on your resume, you’ll impress the reader enough for them to consider you.

Have Social Media Links

By having social media links on your executive resume, you’re giving the recruiter easy access to more information about yourself. When the recruiter knows they can easily go to your LinkedIn page, they may set your resume at the top of the list of candidates to filter through.

Professional Resume Services has the answers to the question of, “how do I create the most effective executive resume?” The main secret is passing the six second test. When you do so, you’ll give yourself much greater odds of getting noticed. Feel free to reach out to us for a resume evaluation to help you determine whether your executive resume passes the six second test.

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