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Resume 101: Use These 3 Steps To Add Relevant Keywords And Get Hired3 min read

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resume 101

It can be challenging to get your resume noticed by employers. However, thankfully, there are ways to fine-tune it and move it beyond the applicant tracking systems that most employers use to screen job applications. In simple terms, relevant keywords on your resume hint at the skills, abilities, credentials and qualities that a hiring manager looks for in a candidate. They are the words that will show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the job. By including relevant keywords in your resume, you increase your chances of landing a job interview. Here are a few simple changes you can make to help your profile stand out from the crowd of resumes when an HR reviews it.

Step One: Finding The Right Keywords

For your application to rank high, your resume needs to contain the right keywords. Your best bet is to tailor the content to make it appealing and engaging. Your resume should include keywords that are specific to the job description.

Review job postings that are similar to your interesting positions to scan for the buzzwords. Also, search for job listings that match your background and experience. The keywords will be sprinkled throughout the job listing in the ‘description’, ‘qualification’ and ‘responsibility’ sections.

Kool Kanya Tip: When it comes to acronyms, include both the spelt-out version and the shortened one. The automated scanning systems don’t always recognise abbreviations. For example, it won’t distinguish that “MBA” is the same as “Master of Business Administration.” To balance between the system and human eyes, consider writing the abbreviation in parenthesis as such: ‘Master of Business Administration (MBA)’.


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Step Two: Personalise Your Keywords

Know the company’s value proposition. This is what sets it apart from their competition. Make sure your resume’s keywords are formatted to reflect the company’s brand. Review the company’s profile and website for possible catchphrases. Visit the company’s LinkedIn page to see how they describe themselves. Utilise keywords that the company uses to explain itself to demonstrate that you are a good fit for them. You might find this language on the company’s ‘About Us’ page. For example, if the company identifies itself as ‘creative’, you could incorporate ‘out of the box’ and ‘innovation’ in your resume. Replicate the details including plural words, abbreviations and number. For example, observe whether the company spells it nonprofit or non-profit, three years of experience or 3 years of experience. Include the company’s terminology in your resume to ensure that your profile fits the job requirements.

Adjusting your wording for every application takes more time and effort than sending a generic resume, it’s well worth it.

Step Three: Add Top Keywords

LinkedIn’s exclusive data determines the top skills that employers are looking for at the moment. The most sought for soft skills in 2019 are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. Depending on your work profile, add these in your resume.

Similarly, the most searched for hard skills are analytical reasoning, artificial intelligence, people management, social media marketing, UX design, business analysis, sales leadership, digital marketing, data science and corporate communication. If you are in this field or do work that remotely relates to it, make sure you add these keywords.

“The first thing I’m looking for is the technical and hard skills that match the job description,” said Rakhee Shenoy of HRBP Group Corporate Functions at Welspun India Limited.


Different level of expertise call for different things to look for in a resume. “When I’m hiring for a senior position, I wouldn’t care much about the educational qualification, but for an entry-level job, the degree, institution and academic scores are of importance,” shares Abinash Das, Assistant General Manager of HR, Welspun India Limited.

Employers are usually looking for the following skills at different levels of professionalism:

Entry Level: Internships, volunteer experience, awards and recognition, awards and recognition, community activities, professional organisations, collegiate clubs and activities.

Associate/Mid Career: Collaboration abilities, continuous learning workplace improvements, leading teams and special projects and performance excellence.

Executive/Director: Leadership abilities, creating high-performance teams, peer-to-peer collaboration mentoring and coaching, strategic implementation and employee development.

Leveraging the right keyword will expand the scope of your resume’s appeal. Make the right keywords work for you in your job search. All the best.

An overzealous explorer with a knack for storytelling. A journalist doubling as an engineer who is passionately persistent for her craft. Always striving for unheard stories of the unusual from places unseen, she believes that technology can never create art on its own. Often deemed crazy for believing in the high power of true narratives, she is always on the lookout for stories in and about people around her.

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