Keywords in your resume are nothing new--they've been around for years--but now, they're becoming more of a necessity. If you're not using keywords on your resume, both generic and industry-specific, there's a good chance it might not make it to a hiring manager's desk.
Most resumes get processed through a keyword search before a hiring manager or HR personnel sees it, and without important keywords in your resume, you won't make the first cut. While your resume should have industry-specific keywords that will make it stand out, here are a few generic ones that apply to every job-seeker to get you started.
Critical analysis is a necessary skill in even the most mundane, repetitive job. Your prospective employer needs to know that you can analyze and think beyond the surface of a particular task or project and dig deeper into which actions will generate what results. It's crucial to your job search that you are able to adequately show what your analytical skills are and how they've helped you get the job done in the past. Be as specific as you can, although simply having this keyword in your resume will put you ahead of the pack.
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Resume readers don't want to know what you've done in the past, so much as they want to know what you can do for them in the future. Knowing that you learned A++ in college is helpful; knowing that you're competent in this skill is more helpful because it is forward-thinking rather than backward-looking. It's a small distinction that can make a big difference; prospective employers want to know what you can do now, not what you could do at your old job.
Even if you're not applying for a management position or a team lead, it's important to know what leadership skills you do have. Even the so-called underlings of a team need to have some measure of leadership skills, because it's important to know they can take the initiative in certain projects. Even if you know you'll never be called upon to lead a group, it's important to list what leadership skills you have. Be specific, and show exactly what you've done and can do to exhibit your leadership skills.
Most people interact with others at some point in their workday; almost no one works in a completely isolated bubble. It's important to know that you're pleasant to be around and that you will represent the company to others well--whether it's a customer, the general public, or even your work team. This means being polite but firm when necessary, using good manners and presenting the right public image. It also means presenting a neat, hygienic, and personable image of your company.
While it's been said that a messy desk is a sign of a genius, it may also be a sign of a messy, cluttered, scattered mind. At work, your desk should display a modicum of organization, and you should have a system in place that allows you to do your job professionally and be prepared. Your messiness may affect others in the workplace, so noting your organizational skills on your resume shows your respect for the job, the company, and your colleagues, as well as yourself and your own career.
Keywords are often industry-specific and are all but required on resumes. But these general keywords are helpful for anyone in the working world. Having these five keywords on your resume will help you get noticed. You can also check out LiveCareer's Resume Builder to get more information on using keywords in your resume.