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 Keywords are Important

By Joe Stein

If you are someone who spends time on the Internet, then you are probably familiar with the term “keywords”. For example, when you use a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, you enter certain keywords in an attempt to find what you are looking for. In essence, utilizing keywords is a shortcut for you to find the information that you need.
 
Keywords serve a similar purpose for a Job Seeker when writing a resume. The difference is that the benefit is primarily for the reader, in this case a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. Keywords are used in a couple of primary ways in a job search.
 
·         Many electronic applicant tracking systems have keyword technology installed. This allows a summary profile to be created either on the applicant side or for the end user. If done on the applicant side, it can save considerable time when applying. The challenge is for your resume to be written in a way that the system can easily pull the necessary data. This will allow the importing of the information into a profile to be done accurately. Since some Recruiters may only review your profile and not actually read your Resume when doing a 1st review, this accuracy is key.
 
·         I have written a number of times regarding how Recruiters or Hiring Managers, when reviewing resumes, may only give the document an initial review of seconds. This quick review is done to determine whether someone should move onto the next level, which is usually a phone interview but may be an in-person visit. The key here is to use terms in a format that will catch the eye of the reader. That generally means the 3-5 items they most want to see and clearly enough that they can pick it out of document in a fifteen-second review.
 
For most readers, your resume is probably already, in your mind, done. I would argue that a resume is really never completely “done”, especially since it often should be customized for the position you are seeking. This concept of focusing on keywords serves as the perfect endorsement for reviewing your resume every time you are ready to send it to a prospective employer.
 
·         One of the best ways to write your resume using the keywords that the company is seeking is to match it to the Job Description. Now I know what you are probably thinking…how do I go about doing something like this? There are times when the Job Description for a position is not exactly easily accessible. This is a correct point; however, if you read a job posting or advertisement then most of a Job Description is probably at your fingertips. Read the posting carefully for specific terms mentioned or overall themes. Tailor your resume so that it is aligned with the posting you have just read. For example, if the posting emphasizes knowing certain computer software (and you have experience with it), make sure this is included in your resume. 
 
·         To further supplement your resume beyond the job posting, there are other ways for you to add keywords. You can attempt to learn some of the important terms by conducting a search using a word engine, such as those noted above in Yahoo or Google. Simply type in the job title you are seeking or even some words you are thinking of using, and see if it matches to what you are looking for. If it does, you have found some universal terms that may, in particular, help you with application software.
 
·         Make sure you have covered your basic areas when writing your resume. Clearly outline your previous work experience and education. Include any certifications or credentials that you have obtained in your career. Note some specific responsibilities you have had in your roles.
 
·         When writing your resume, you have already utilized your own expertise. Supplement your knowledge by asking others in your field to read your resume and offer suggestions. Ask them to look not only at your format, but also whether you are using the keywords necessary to be noticed by others.
 
All Job Seekers would like to believe that a Recruiter or Hiring Manager spends considerable time agonizing over everything that has been written. The reality is a computer software program will often do that work for them by scanning for keywords and inserting into a profile. If this is not available, the same type of work is done manually with a quick scan of the document to determine if it should be read further. It is, therefore, “key” that a Job Seeker focuses on “keywords” to make sure they are noticed out of all the other applicants.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!