The main reason clients engage a professional resume writing service is the belief that the resume writer is more in tune to the words and phrases that will make their resume stand out versus the competition.  Most clients feel that if the resume is sprinkled with theoretical “Key Words” or “Key Phrases”, their resume will garner more attention and thus secure more interview opportunities.  While it is true that engaging a professional resume writing service to author a well structured and strategically crafted resume can significantly increase interview opportunities, the client should know that there is no magic set of “Key Words” or “Key Phrases” that will make your resume more effective than another.

Over the past 15 years, “Key Words” and “Key Phrases” are concepts that have become more prevalent with the advent of computerized resume screening systems that search for specific qualifying elements within individual resumes.  The thought is, if the automated system or human screener sees enough of these theoretical “Key Words” or “Key Phrases” in the document, it will increase the candidate’s chances of getting an interview.  While the practical theory makes sense, the reality is there is no magical set of “Key Words” or “Key Phrases” that will better position your resume against the competition.  Let’s examine this idea further.

All job postings, and the companies that post them, are unique and distinct.  Specific skill sets and responsibilities that are going to be important to one company or position, may not be relevant or important to the next company or position.  With this being the case, one cannot possibly determine a theoretical set of “Key Words” or “Key Phrases” that will satisfy each individual posting and make the candidates resume more effectively stand out versus the competition.  The variableness in each posting will not allow for a magical set of “Key Words” or “Key Phrases” to exist.  The question then becomes, how do I word my resume to attract the most attention?

Remember, simply repeating words or phrases in a job posting does not make you a unique candidate.  Actually, it just makes you one of the crowd.  Whether you write your own resume or engage a professional resume writing service, the solution is to focus on yourself, not a job description.  Summarize your work history by starting the resume off with both a Professional Summary and Areas of Expertise section.  When possible, integrate specific, unique and/or quantifiable responsibilities and accomplishments within your resume that defines your work history.  Provide the reader with not only a description of your responsibilities, but also provide them with the results of those tasks.  Establish a fact pattern of consistent performance within your resume.  By doing these simple things, your resume will most certainly contain universal wording and phrasing necessary to secure interview opportunities across a broad spectrum of job postings.

Action Resume Service is a professional and executive resume writing and career development company serving a nationwide client base for the past 23 years.  To learn more about professional and executive resume writing and career development services, visit or call us at 610-613-3907.

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