When writing a resume, cover letter, curriculum vita, or even your LinkedIn summary, incorporating keywords will help you stand out from the crowd.
A great place to find relevant keywords are in job descriptions. Using the same words as the potential employer can help you sound like the type of candidate they are looking to hire. However, be cautious not to over sell yourself by choosing words that do not truly describe you. Even if you get an interview, any employer will be able to see through exaggerations on your resume.
Below is an example of a job description taken from the advertising agency BBDO, and a portion of a sample resume incorporating some of the keywords.
Digital Project Manager, BBDO proximity
Overview: The Digital Project Manager will manage the planning, execution and completion of all digital projects. Responsibilities include executing project plans, budgets and schedules for one or multiple projects. Candidates must have a strong understanding of the principles of web design, development and the digital creative process. Must have at least two years experience in advertising/marketing.
Intern, Ad Agency, Duluth, MN September 2010-May 2012
- Contribute to design of websites for a variety of clients
- Execute digital projects for 1-2 clients at a time and present results upon completion
- Assist in creative process and development of internet advertisements
Again, you do not need to use every keyword from a job description. Only use words that directly apply to your experience. Elaborating on how the words relate to your experience is the best way to show an employer you are not exaggerating.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article summarizing a survey conducted by LinkedIn on the top ten overused buzzwords.
This was their list:
- Extensive experience
- Track record
- Problem solving
The article suggests avoiding these words to really set you apart. This can be done by finding synonyms or by using words that are more descriptive. Check out the list of action verbs from our Career Handbook for more assistance.
For more information of how to use keywords, visit a Peer Educator or Counselor in our office, and check out these articles: