I’ve seen plenty of resumes with keywords…to be more specific, resumes with keyword sections, usually placed near the top or close to the bottom of a resume. Of course I believe keywords are critical for any resume, but in all honesty, I don’t think placing keyword sections on your resume is the best idea. Why not? I’ll actually get to that in a moment…
During the process of developing resumes for my clients, I always work to incorporate keywords into what’s called the "summary of qualifications" section. Basically, a “summary of qualifications” section is about 4-6 (8 at the most) bullets of copy that display your greatest, most significant skills, qualifications & achievements throughout your entire career. This is a critical section, because it’s something employers can quickly glance at and get an overview of how qualified you are & what skills you can bring to the company.
Many companies today will accept resume submissions, then scan and store these resumes into their company database. Later on they may decide to conduct a search, using certain keywords and phrases related to whatever position they're currently hiring for.
This is why I always stress to my clients that once they receive the resume I've developed, to be sure and change the capitalized career title I’ve placed at the top of the resume so that it will correspond with each position they decide to apply for.
For example, if I've developed a resume for someone with a capitalized position title reading "Customer Service Representative," and they decide to apply for a position as an "Administrative Assistant," then I always stress to change the title on the resume to "Administrative Assistant." This takes a bit of time, yes, but it's most definitely worth it, because you wouldn't want your resume that’s already stored into the company database bypassed simply because the appropriate career title isn't on your resume.
Back to resumes with those defined keyword sections…like I mentioned before, I've never been one for placing these onto resumes. Why not? I feel like these keyword sections are an actual waste of valuable space and that they're simply generic phrases. These phrases might indeed be helpful in getting your resume to appear in the search results of a company's database, but that's where it stops, as far as how useful these phrases are.
Instead, these phrases can be even more useful by skillfully weaving these words into working sentences and valuable bullets of copy that are properly and effectively highlighting your skills and career achievements.
It's deeply similar to what's called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is what I'm consistently doing for my own websites to raise my rankings in the search engines like Google of course, and Yahoo, ect.
Search Engine Optimization is basically developing the wording on your website (or in this case, your resume) in a way that peppers the copy with the most frequently searched for words and phrases linked to what you're selling, but at the same time, getting your copy to naturally flow. In other words, strategically placing these words and phrases throughout your resume, but in a way that's smooth and readable, so that it doesn't seem as if these words and phrases were awkwardly dumped onto your resume.
So when developing your resume, my advice is to do your best to place certain keywords and phrases into your resume copy, especially into the "summary of qualifications" section.
This way, the chances of your resume being pulled up through a company database search will be greatly increased.