The Most Common Resume Keywords Mistake

resume keywords

The Most Common Resume Keywords Mistake

Most job seekers don’t know how to use keywords in their resume.

It’s the truth.

They ask me “What keywords should I use in my resume?”

Even if I was able to tell them specific resume keywords to use for their specific profession on the fly without knowing anything about them or their aspirations, they will most likely use the keywords improperly.

Here is how most job seekers use keywords… and it’s wrong:

They list them in the core competency section and outline how they did that task in their employment sections.

That’s it.

And recruiters don’t call them… and they wonder why.

I’ll tell you why!

Recruiters don’t call them because they didn’t outline how well they did the keyword task.

And other job seeking competitors did include how well they did that keyword task—and most likely received the interview call.

How do I know?

I saw it all the time when I recruited. I would get a well-written, task-focused resume and I would think to myself, “Well they sure know how to play the keyword game, but can they do any of the things they stuff their resume with?”

There were no achievements listed.

So I would move on to the next resume to find someone who told me how well they did their job and not just that they were keyword masters.

It’s a mistake to rely too heavily on keywords.

You need to know how to write an achievement-based resume bullet to rise above your competition to land interviews.

Use our 3 tips below to make the most of your achievement-based resume bullets:

1) Focus on CAR or STAR formats.

Using well respected interview techniques can make your resume writing process a lot easier when trying to focus on achievements. CAR, for instance, stands for “Context, Action, Result”. The objective is to introduce a problem that you solved by providing the story behind it.

STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is similar in so far as you are also telling a story and highlighting how you are the hero in a situation. If you’re writing a resume bullet you can call upon these two techniques to help you find content.

Obviously you don’t have room to go into the entire story on your resume (save that for the interview!), but you can use it to help you find the achievements.

Let’s say your company was running up against a major sales deficit. Your current model wasn’t working and as the Global Operations Director you noticed that perhaps you needed to adjust pricing and focus on some cross-selling. The end result was a huge increase in company revenue. A bullet in this case may read, “Increased margins by 14% and revenues by 27% with pricing and cross-selling initiatives”.

2) Ask yourself some key questions while writing bullets.

For every job description bullet, you should ask yourself “How do you know you did a good job?” or “What did that good job look like?” This helps you focus on the results you achieved while at work. Ultimately, by helping yourself paint a picture you can then do the same for the person reviewing your resume.

It’s important to note that these numbers may not be so focused on revenue numbers. For example, if you are an HR executive you may have helped expand the company into new markets. That may read like this, “Led HR function on 2016 Asian expansion, which currently has 240 offices and 7000 employees.”

3) Focus on size and scope of environments worked.

When it comes to resumes, numbers talk. Figures can be extremely telling if what kind of environment you worked in and what results you accomplished.

For instance, strategic planning for a $5 million startup tech firm is a different job than strategic planning for a $200 million division of a $1.7 billion consumer products firm. So be specific with business situations when describing duties. This is when you can mention the size of budgets, number of employees and how much a company is worth.

I’m going to cover the importance of achievement-based bullets and much more during my upcoming no-cost resume Master Class on Tues. 9/7/2021 or Thurs. 9/9/2021.

Reserve your spot for the session of your choice:

Don’t miss it!!


Lisa Rangel – Executive Resume Writing Services

Chameleon Resumes

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About Lisa

Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6 or 7-figure role faster.


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