Palladian Career Resources

Keyword Summaries on Resumes

Keyword Summaries on Resumes

If you are planning on posting your resume on the internet or applying to large corporate sites, it’s important to include keywords in your resume.  It will be tough to be found if your resume doesn’t appear in the search results.  This is even more of a problem if the company uses database software to conduct the first screen of the resume.

It’s easy to put keywords into your resume.  They should naturally occur within the text.  To ensure you appear in every search that matches your background, you may want to include a keyword summary section. 

Here’s what I saw on a resume today.  The resume started with an executive summary, then had a keyword summary and then the work experience.  The job seeker was from a non-technical executive position.  The keywords listed included things like training management, organizational development and project management. 

The order is the first place where the job seeker got it wrong.  The keyword summary isn’t important enough to go at the top of the resume. Having the words "organizational development" at the top of a resume do nothing to differentiate the candidate. 

The other big mistake was calling the section a keyword summary.  The keyword summary is essentially a listing of skills.  Call it a skills section and write it in a format that appeals to a human reader.  The content will still help with search results and it won’t detract from the presentation. 

What if you’re in a highly technical field?  Then you may want to put your technical skills near the top of your resume.  For technical roles, the technical skills can be the most important information on your resume.  They are one of the primary selling points for you.  For most job seekers though, the skills section is information that is important, but a much lower priority than the work experience and education.

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