Since applicant tracking systems (ATS) were integrated into the recruitment process, job-seekers have been frantic about getting the right keywords into their resumes. Is that still important? Yes and no. Here are my thoughts:
Yes, it's important to have the right keywords but don't get so caught up in it that you forget the most important purpose of a resume, and that is to be read by a human (computers don't decide who gets interviewed). I often review resumes that don't make a lot of sense because the applicant has been so focused on integrating keywords in every possible spot. At that point it becomes obvious to the reader that you're simply trying to get your resume into their hands, rather than telling your true story.
Focus on the most obvious keywords that a recruiter may search for. If you are a store manager, I would make sure you have "retail" and "store manager" somewhere on your resume. If you are a district manager, I would add "district manager" and perhaps "multi-unit manager." They don't need to be at the very top (although that's probably the best place) but they should be somewhere. Make sure to include your city, state/province, and zip/postal code as well.
Don’t worry so much about “business” keywords such as process optimization, business development, market analysis, etc. There is nothing wrong with including them as skills if they are accurate and relevant to what you're applying for, but I wouldn't bother adding them just as additional keywords. You really don't know which terms a recruiter will choose to search for and there are just way too many to include everything.
It's better to integrate keywords into the different sections of your resume as much as possible, rather than simply creating a list. There's nothing wrong with a list but it often comes across as an attempt to fit in as many keywords as possible. As mentioned earlier, the main keywords are best in a bold headline at the top of your resume. For example:
TOP-RANKED RETAIL STORE MANAGER | DISTRICT MANAGER CANDIDATE
Bottom line: Keywords are related to your overall job search strategy. If your strategy is to get your resume into the hands of the right person through networking and relationship building (which I think should be the top priority), you won't have to worry about it being found in a database search.
Final note: These recommendations for keywords also apply to LinkedIn profiles, which serve a similar purpose to your resume when you are job searching.
Hope that helps. Cheers!
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