But, while some career experts still advise a bare-bones spewing of keywords labeled “Keyword Summary,” a more accepted approach is to sprinkle keywords liberally throughout a section early in the resume labeled “Summary of Qualifications,” “Professional Profile,” or simply “Profile.” Instead of a mere list of words, the summary or profile section presents keywords in context, more fully describing the activities and accomplishments in which the keywords surfaced in your work. This contextual collection of keywords that describes your professional self in a nutshell will certainly hold the interest of human readers better than a list of words will. Ideally, keywords are tied to accomplishments rather than job duties, so a good way to make the leap from keyword to a nice, contextual bullet point to include in a profile section is to take each keyword you’ve identified as critical to the job and list an accomplishment that tells how you’ve used the skill represented by that keyword. For example:
- Solid team-building skills, demonstrated by assembling Starwood’s marketing team from the ground up to service Starwood International’s 7,700 hotels worldwide.
- Savvy in e-commerce marketing concepts, having participated in design of two company Web sites, and conducted a symposia series to instruct hotel executives in the value of Internet marketing.
Keywords should also appear in the rest of your resume beyond the profile or summary section. Most applicant-search software not only looks for keywords but also ranks them on a weighted basis according to the importance of the word to the job criteria, with some keywords considered mandatory and others that are merely desirable. The keywords can also be weighted and your resume ranked according to how many times mandatory words appear in your resume. If your document contains no mandatory keywords, the keyword search obviously will overlook your resume. Those with the greatest “keyword density” will be chosen for the next round of screening, this time by a human. Generally, the more specific a keyword is to a particular job or industry, the more heavily it will be weighted. Skills that apply to many jobs and industries tend to be less weighty.
Since you also don’t know the exact form of a keyword that the employer will use as a search criterion, it makes sense to also use synonyms, various forms of your keywords, and both the spelled-out and acronym versions of common terms. For example, use both “manager” and “management;” try both CRM and Customer Relationship Management.