How to make your resume stand out

Is your resume missing the keyword to unlock a job?

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If your resume is missing just one keyword, it could be the difference between getting an interview or not. How do you know what the keyword is? Keep reading.

We know looking for a job is hard. Getting a job is even harder. There’s eight people out of work for every job that’s advertised. Depending on the job, there’s often 25-200 people applying for the same job as you.

When you apply for a job, your resume ends up in a stack of other resumes on the desk of the person looking to hire you.

How to spot keywords in a job ad

It’s hard to impress your future boss with a piece of paper. But, there is a way to get the edge over the other people in the stack. The secret is finding out what the boss is looking for – the keywords – and make sure you put those in the resume. Take a look at this job ad:

How to spot keywords in a job ad for your resume

At first glance, you may think the business is looking for someone with experience with truck tyres. Keep reading and you’ll see they want someone who can work in a fast paced environment. They need you to be physically fit and to be able to confidently use hand tools. They also want you to have a reliable vehicle and to live locally.

How to use keywords in your resume

The words I have put in bold are your keywords. As simple as it sounds, put these exact words in your resume, exactly as they are in the job ad and your resume will stand out. It ticks all the boxes the business is looking for and you are more likely to get an interview – and more likely to get the job.

keywords are needed in your resume for all jobs

Why are keywords more important than ever?

More and more, a computer will read your resume first. Its name is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). A computer program will scan your resume for keywords. If you have the right keywords in your resume, you’re more likely to get to the top of the pile.

The only way to impress a robot is to do exactly what it wants you to do. You could have all the right experience. You could have all the right skills. Unless you write them in the same way the robot is looking for, it could shunt you to the bottom of the pack.

All the more reason to scan job ads for keywords and customise your resume with those exact keywords. The more you do it, the better you get. You need to do this for every job you apply for.

Practice right now! Go to, search for a job that’s right for you and highlight the key words. It’s easy once you know how.

Images: istock


  1. How many people who are perfectly qualified for a role are missing out on jobs over people less qualified but who had the ‘perfect’ CV? There’s got to be a better way than spending so much time and worry on getting the right CV for each job one applies for. It’s demoralising, exhausitng and to a degree, a pointless practice perpeturated by advice from so called job experts.

    1. Hi Ross, I really appreciate your thoughts on this. I know looking for work is often demoralising and exhausting. Lots of businesses tell us that they love it when someone has done research on their organisation. If you can match your skills to what a business is looking for, you’re much more likely to get on the top of the pile. In that sense, if you’re just sending the same CV to everyone because it’s easier to do that, you’re inadvertently sending a signal to the business that you’re not interested in them.

  2. Thank you so much for your time and your tips.
    In my world Sounds to good to be true , followed up after followed up . Luck after luck ended up no job interview or hire would be impossible to even spell on my 📝 note . WORLD AND PROFESSIONAL WORKFORCES This days or even in the previous era Had and have always SUBJECTS TO DOMINANT and DISCRIMINATION ( the person hires Have to be married to GREEK WOMEN in their love life if they don’t , opportunities never been there).

    BLUNT ME 🤔

    Kind regards ,

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