Resume Show and Tell: Keep the Keywords

I was talking with an HR professional the other day who is really just burnt out by the number of  resumes he has seen with the same keywords over and over. He said to me, “I would love to ban keywords and buzzwords from every resume submission.” Of course, you cannot do that when the recruiting software uses a scanner or indexer to match up resumes with job requirements. However, I think he was getting at the heart of the mistake that so many resume writers make: they tell, but they do not show.

It is critical that you use keywords on your resume; the need for them isn’t going away anytime soon. But if you are going to put “team player” in your list of skills, then you must show how you are a team player in your job descriptions below on the resume. Example: “Collaborated with the recruiting department to source five solid candidates for a new business analyst position.”

Skill: Problem Solver    Description: “Located a new background check vendor to replace a vendor who raised their rates.”

Skill: Positive Track Record (Be prepared to quantify how you helped your company and/or affected the bottom line.) Description: “Recruited over 40 medical professionals for a drug clinical trials study, bringing in over $500,000 in fees.”

Skill: Communications (Highlight your verbal and written communication skills.) “Description: Presented at the USC Pharmacology Career Conference.” Or, “Authored online resume guidelines for pharmacology jobs.”

Skill: Thrive in a fast-paced environment (Describe your ability to multitask and meet deadlines) Description: Managed three drug research projects simultaneously, while following protocols and meeting report deadlines.”

While you are probably tired of tweaking your resume, resume writing is a process of show AND tell, or really, tell and show. Tell succinctly what your skills are and show how you put them into action in your past positions.

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