The Best Resume—The Buzzword Resume

Want to have a truly outstanding resume? Then get to know and use the buzzwords that apply to the job type or industry you are seeking. If you merely list the "features" of your background from a product-driven approach, you will most likely fail. Make sure you take a customer-driven approach and list what is important to your customer. What are the buzzwords? They are the industry or job-defined words and keywords that have special meaning to those within that particular industry or job type. Acronyms are used in almost every industry. Information systems is a prime example. To list the following under the Summary section of the resume of an Information Systems major would be entirely appropriate:

  • Developed C++ and .NET interfaces for SQL Server database.

Or within Supply Chain Management, the following might be an example:

  • Developed JIT Inventory Control system using A-B-C hierarchical FILO process.

That critical first scan of your resume is when the buzzwords should jump off the page and capture the attention of the reader.

Buzzwords solidify your standing as an insider. By using them correctly and in proper context, you communicate that you understand the terminology of the field and are able to speak the language fluently. In addition, most Internet and applicant tracking system resume searches are based on buzzwords or keywords. If you have properly included them, you will be found. If not, you may never surface. Note that the words do not have to be acronyms or technical specs to qualify as buzzwords. Every industry and job type has its own set of commonly used buzzwords. Get to know them via your course work, subscriptions to the leading industry trade magazines and/or membership in an industry trade association. Start to acquire the "language" of the field you are entering. Using buzzwords in resumes is just the start—you will find them used throughout the job search process and throughout your future career.

One final note on buzzwords—please do not use them simply because they "sound good" but do not actually apply or, even worse, you have no idea what they mean. Make sure you understand what the buzzwords really mean before using them. Proving your ignorance via inappropriate use of specialized terms quickly moves you into the "no interest" category when screening decisions are being made.

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