Sunday, August 12, 2007

What Keywords Should I Use On My Resume? Job search question of the week - Page 3

The Effective Way To Use Keywords:

The most effective keywords are the ones that are relevant for a specific opportunity, a specific manager, and a specific company. Since no two opportunities, managers or companies are the same, they aren’t looking for the same keywords ... even for comparable positions. For example, a company may use entirely different words and phrases to describe the duties of an administrative assistant compared to another company - even if the actual jobs are essentially the same, they are described (and searched for) differently.

Effective keyword strategies come from research, to understand how the target company communicates, the words/phrases they use, their problems/issues/goals, and how these effect the hiring manager. The greater understanding you have of these data points, the better chance you’ll have at matching keyword searches by that company and for that opportunity.

Sources of effective keyword research:
  • The Job Description: Look carefully at the job description to find 5-10 key words in the description. Since HR typically just gets bullet pointed criteria from a hiring manager, it’s a good bet that those criteria are used verbatim in the job description.

  • Company communications: Read any public information you can get your hands on from your target company. Look for jargon and tone. Examples of public information that can be useful are:

    - Annual/Quarterly reports
    - News articles
    - Interviews with company managers
    - Press releases
    - Company website
    - Company brochures/marketing materials

  • Informational interviews: Informational interviews can be one of the best ways to uncover problems and to gain an understanding of a company’s communication style. Listen carefully.

  • Guerrilla Job Search tactics: See

Sure we’d all prefer the easy route, but aren’t we really after effectiveness in search? Seriously, how many candidates do you know who describe their job search as easy? Would you believe them?

Readers - Do you have any suggestions of where to find effective keyword research?

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1 comment:

Eureka Job Hunt said...

I give customers three primary sources for keyword discovery:

1) Gut feel. You know the jargon in use in your industry as well as anyone.

2) Adverts. Scrutinise ads, job descriptions and all the other written material you mention in your article. Tune into the topic areas that employers are interested in. Deal with these topics in your CV and incorporate associated relevant keywords into your content.

3) Ask a recruiter! When you speak to recruiters, ask them what keywords they would use to find CVs for the vacancy.

Keywords on a CV are fundamental to gaining employment. This fact is often not appreciated by those who have not been out of work for some years - in the meantime recruitment has become computerised and often a level of automation introduced. However, the human eye is scanning for keywords too. The recruiter will scan a CV in a matter of seconds and zoom in on relevant words that show the candidate is in possession of the appropriate skills and experience.

A good spread of keywords, including some niche tiebreakers will improve your chances of getting the call on average so the effect is cumulative but will shave weeks or maybe months of your jobsearch.