Understanding their Importance in Your Resume
There has been a great deal of discussion on the topic of incorporating keywords into your resume... what is the purpose and how do you know which keywords to use?
Whether you email your resume to a school district that places the document into a database for screening, or if you post your resume to a job board or school district site online, the simple fact is - all resumes are searchable by keywords, also known as buzz words. This method of screening speeds up the process for the hiring personnel, but can hinder your job search if you are not including these "hot" words. Whether you oppose or support this screening method, it is nevertheless a reality today. It is in your best interest to be prepared in case your resume does get scanned. This method of reviewing resumes is steadily increasing across all industries, therefore it is critical to a successful job search that you incorporate keywords when developing your career documents --- this includes both the resume and cover letter.
When creating a list of keywords to include in your resume and letter, put yourself in the position of the recruiter. Ask yourself what words, phrases, or nouns would a hiring authority use to find a successful candidate (such as yourself) to fill the position you are applying for? Consider using job titles, profession/industry specific tools or techniques, and skills that are unique to your position/industry/job function. Examine job advertisements, industry trade magazines, district websites, job descriptions, professional associations newsletters, informational interviews, etc. to get an idea of the customary words used. You may want to list relevant industry or professional organizations to which you are a member.
Education such as your degree, major or certificates are also important. To a scanning device, it doesn't matter where your keywords are situated on the page, but placing them near the top of your resume will trigger interest if it reaches the human eye. Many job boards have a specific entry to place keywords... use this option to your advantage.
For example, if you were searching for an Elementary Education Administrator position, you might want to include the following words in your resume and letter:
- Community Relations
- Individualized Educational Plans
- Academic Goals & Standards
- Parent/Teacher Liaison
- Extracurricular Direction
- Student-Centered Instruction
- Technology Integration
- Discipline Management
- Positive Learning Environment
- Multicultural Awareness
- Process Improvement
- Program Management
- Strategic Planning & Leadership
You can include applicable keywords in a visually appealing table of "core competencies" or "areas of expertise" at the beginning of your resume under your Profile and/or include them in bullets under each listed employment throughout the document. These bullets will serve to reinforce the keywords. The first bullet may be the keyword "Discipline Management" and the next, "Individualized Educational Plans" (IEPs). Under your listed employment, a bullet may sound similar to:
- Collaborated with teachers to reinforce and reward corrective behavior; instituted a consistent, fair discipline management plan that significantly reduced negative behavior.
- Collaborated with parents, teachers, and other school faculty support team members to develop Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs), enabling all students to advance toward individual academic targets.
Keywords can also include area codes, geographical areas, or certain districts.