Get a Career Today by Building a Ten-Minute Resumé with Keywords

In this photo from, an entrepreneur considers applicants.

About the author: Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college English professor and writer from Chicago who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and Creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

These days, getting a good job or career is similar to publishing online content: you have to have good keywords to attract traffic. In layman’s terms, keywords are simply important words or phrases used to attract your audience which, in this case, is employers. After landing plenty of interviews from simple delivery jobs to professor positions, I’ve been able to use keywords to make my resumé standout, regardless of how bland or tacky it looked. Today, I will explain to you how to make sure your resumé almost certainly gets you the interview and career you want.

Find the skills or qualifications section on [a live] application [or job posting] and copy and paste them into a resumé template.

To begin with, first search the position you’re looking for and find a real job listing. So, for instance, if you’re looking for a tutoring position, find a listing on a site like and locate a tutor position listing. Find the skills or qualifications section on that listing and copy and paste them into your resumé or template.

Now, you’re wondering what template to use. As long as you stick to the following rules, your template is not very important. Employers recommend using a basic format of 12. Times New Roman black font. It is clear and easy to read. Of course, you may be tempted to use glamorous cursive font to make your resumé standout; don’t. What makes your resumé standout is the words on the page not the decoration of the words on the page. Use a basic template, and make it easy for the employer to read.

In this photo by, a job seeker looks over her resumé.

Moreover, shorten up your resumé. Some say your resumé shouldn’t be more than two pages, three at the most. On the contrary, one page is enough. Say more with less. The shorter, the better. We live in a fast-moving society, COVID-19 aside. No employer has time to flip through a three-page resumé. Have you ever listened to someone tell you a story for an hour that should have taken less than five? You’d want that person to hurry up and get to the point. That’s the same thing with resumés. I’ve kept my resumés one page, and it has worked out well landing me interviews.

Also, those employers evaluating your resumé are likely millennials. Those in leadership positions continue to be younger and younger. These younger leaders are social media frequenters who have the attention span of a distracted toddler. They do not want to read a three-page resumé. So, do not insist on putting your whole life on a resumé.

If you want to be a mail carrier or work in IT, your experience mopping as a janitor is not relevant.

To continue, you’re probably saying, “I have many years of experience. How can I make it all one page? What do I include in my work experience?” There are two ways to handle this issue. In the “experience” section, you can either list the last three employers you have had or your last ten years of experience. Include only work relevant to the current position. If you want to be a mail carrier or work in IT, your experience mopping as a janitor is not relevant. You may use whatever experience you have in any field, but the more relevant the experience, the more likely it is to get your resumé acknowledged. For the work experience area, I usually put three past work experiences and include three one-sentence descriptions of the duties I performed. If you are currently employed at a job listed on your resumé, describe your duties in present-tense; use past-tense if you are no longer employed by an employer listed on your resumé.

In this photo from, an insightful professor fills his students in on what is expected in the job market.

As for the skills or qualifications section, this is where your previous search of a live position within your field comes in. Your skills/qualifications descriptions are usually one or two words such as “management” or “computer savvy” and these can be found in active job listings. The reason to do a search on a live job listing is because many applications are run through algorithms before they even reach the eyes of a real person. An algorithm is software used by employers to calculate how well an applicant’s resumé matches their job listing. Adding keywords from one active application will almost guarantee you an interview. Additionally, choosing one good application to pull keywords or phrases from will help your overall job search if you use that same resumé to apply to similar positions.

In this partial resumé screenshot, the applicant’s qualifications are listed in no more than three keywords copied and pasted from an active job listing

Moving on, as far as the “objective” section on your resumé, keep it at one simple line. The urge here sometimes is to write a paragraph about how great you want to make the employer, and this is not a great approach. The “objective” section should read this way: “To obtain a (whatever position you want) and help the company grow (in a specific way such as customer acquisition, gaining new accounts, retaining customers through good customer service or in any specific way).” Keep it simple and specific.

On another note, you don’t want too much negative space on the page. A sheet of paper with scarce information is a turnoff to employers. It tells them you’re a bland person and have no experience. Even this is true, you don’t want to reflect that on your resumé. If you’re short on experience, use volunteer experience. You don’t have any? Well, add in awards, hobbies or more skills. Do anything to make your resumé appear full enough to eliminate too much negative space.

In this post from Instagram, successful businesswoman Rosetta Thurman enjoys a gentle squeeze from her hubby.

In closing, using the methods above, I’ve become a college professor. You can do the same with the right resumé. Getting an interview is about having a good resumé with the right words. Search keywords or phrases by finding live job posting and copying the listed “skills” or “qualifications” onto your own resumé so that the employer’s algorithm selects your resumé. Keep the entire resumé at no more than one page. Cut what you must. Following these instructions, you will have a job interview within days of building your ten-minute resumé.

For the follow-up articles showing how to create a cover letter and what to do once you get an interview, subscribe by clicking here.

Published by J Reed

J Reed is a Chicago-based fiction writer. When he isn't making a pretense of writing, he's making a pretense of working.

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