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Writing a Keyword Summary: What You Need To Know

WordleIf you have ever seen Keyword Summary listed on a resume but are not sure what the purpose of it is or how to write this section properly, you're not alone. The Keyword Summary is a new addition to the resume building process and was added when electronic resume submissions became commonplace.

How the Keyword Summary Works

When a job seeker submits a resume to a job search site, such as Monster or CareerBuilder, they have the option to make the resume public. This means that any employer can search through the resume at anytime to see if the applicant is qualified. To do this, the employer uses an applicant tracking system to find certain words in the resume and make sure that the applicant has the skills required to do the job (this method is much more efficient than having to open each resume and read through each one).

Understanding what function the Keyword Summary serves on a resume allows you to decide whether or not you feel that you would need that heading on your resume. You would only use it if you plan on making your resume public (for employers to search).

How to Write a Keyword Summary

All you need to do is make a list of words separated by commas. It really is that simple. If we refer back to how the Keyword Summary works, we know that a machine scans for certain words, so we do not need to list an entire sentence to explain one key point. Just one word or even a few words are sufficient to be effective.

The most important aspect is deciding what words to include in the Keyword Summary. You want to list any words that reflect the position or industry that you are trying to target. These can include job titles that you have held, skills and job responsibilities that you have gained, education or certifications that you have earned, and even acronyms and industry jargon. Also, add actual words/phrases from the job posting for the position, because those will more than likely be some of the words that will be searched. The more that you choose to use, the more you can benefit, because the applicant tracking system ranks applicants upon the number of words that match their criteria.

A question that may have occurred to you is: "What if all the keywords that I would use in my summary are already in my resume?"

There are a few different ways to answer this question. First, you may have already included all the necessary words throughout your resume and may not have a need to add a separate section to the resume. Second, there might be terms used that are considered acronyms that would be beneficial to spell out in your list as well. You are not supposed to use acronyms in a resume, so if you are a nurse and have written out Registered Nurse for RN, you may want to write RN in the keyword summary for additional search queries. Like I said above, the more the merrier in the Keyword Summary!

Here is an example of what a completed Keyword Summary should look like. The example used is for a nursing resume.

Keyword Summary Example:

Medical, Nursing, Health, Hospital, RN, Dedicated, Acute Care, Family Advocacy, Superior Patient Care, Administrative, Care Provider, Patient Advocate, Lead, Healthcare, Charting, ICU, CCU, Triple Lumen CVP, AV Fistulas, IV Therapy, ER Procedures, Clinical, Management, Caring, Quality of Life, Satisfaction, Team Building and Leadership, Critical Procedures, Operation/Recovery, Medication, Management, Optimal Delivery of Treatment Plans.

Have you ever used a keyword summary before? Do you think they're helpful? Leave us a comment and let us know!

About the Author

Cassi Lenth has been a Customer Support Specialist at Pongo Resume for two and a half years, and holds a Certified Professional Resume Writer certification. Along with helping customers get hired, Cassi’s passion for the written word set her on her way to obtaining her Master’s degree in English Education.

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