Résumé Writing Tip: Steal Keywords From Job Posting
Copy specific phrases and buzzwords from the job posting into the résumé and build them into the bullet points.
FSU’s Brent Miller has a provocative column at The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Why I Tossed Your Résumé.” Having been at this working thing a couple of decades now, none of it struck me as novel or noteworthy except for this:
You didn’t speak our language. Here’s a trick I have used to land jobs myself: I copy specific phrases and buzzwords from the job posting into my résumé. Then I build them into the bullet points. “Instructional design a plus” from the posting becomes “experience in instructional design” on my application. (Obviously, I only do that when the statements are true.) I don’t refer to instructional design as something else, such as “building course materials.”
I have found that committee members who quickly scan résumés often look for the specific phrases they put in the job posting. Using other phrases to describe the same activity might cause a committee member to unknowingly pass over critical parts of your experience while they speed read. I have also heard of some corporate employers using an automated filter that electronically weeds out applications if they lack the right “keywords,” which essentially are the words from the job posting. I don’t know of any colleges that do that—yet. But in the emerging age of digital applications, that point doesn’t seem too far off.
I’ve done the keywords thing in cover letters but it’s never really occurred to me to do so for the résumé. While perhaps a bit cheesy, it’s likely a smart strategy.