I received a Facebook message today asking me, “Why is it important that my resume is keyword optimized?” Sometimes we all get focused on the details and fine points of our industries and we forget that everybody doesn’t necessarily understand the things that are obvious to us. And so, here is the answer to the question of what “keyword optimization” is, and why it is so vitally important for your resume.
The short answer is that your resume is not very likely to make past the computer scanners so that it can be read by human eyes without being keyword optimized. You are likely to be eliminated before you are even considered for that job that you want.
Industry statistics say that there are roughly 250 applications submitted for every job opening (although some are a lot more and some are less). Almost every single employer or hiring agency uses computer “bots,” called ATS’s (Applicant Tracking Systems) to look for specific words or word chains. In order to get your resume past the ATS’s and into human hands, you need to know what keywords the bots are looking for, and exactly how their search parameters are set (some are set for to look for frequency of keywords, some for placement within the document, and so on).
Having made it past the “bots,” the next challenge is to get your resume put in the stack of resumes of interest. The same set of industry statistics say that the average resume is scanned for 6-10 seconds before the reader decided whether to remove it from the stack or continue investigating. So you need to convey, in the most succinct way possible, that you are the perfect candidate for the job. This does NOT mean listing everything you have ever done professionally but rather showing that you meet (or surpass) all of the qualifications for the job.
Of course, I would like everyone reading this blog to use our service, www.professorofresumes.com, but whether you do or not, I urge you to seek out a professional who understands the essential elements of creating a resume that will help you to get invited to interview for this job. It will pay for itself and save you from a lot of frustration and lost job leads. Good luck with your job search!