Job search today revolves mostly around the mysterious use of keywords. Whether you are a candidate looking for a job or a company looking for candidates to fill in a job vacancy, the importance of keywords can not be ignored.
Let’s take the first scenario. You are a job seeker in search of your ideal job. Chances are that you are using the internet to do so. Statistics reveal that nearly 90% of job seekers search for jobs online. Now, there are 2 basic ways of going about this – 1. You search for jobs online and apply 2. You upload your resume and the companies find you.
If you are looking for a job to suit you, it is important that you type in the right keywords for effective search. Keywords are basically nouns that describe the skills or job specifications and titles. They are usually industry buzzwords and jargons. Hence, when you are looking for a job in a particular field, ensure you know the buzzwords.
Most job search sites offer multiple search levels. They allow their visitors to search not only based on the skill set (although this is always the primary criteria) but also offer criteria such as location, years of experience, company, salary package etc. Use these parameters to filter the ideal job matching your needs.
If you are submitting your resume, ensure that it is ‘keyword searchable’. Recruiters always search for the candidate’s resume through keywords. They search the resume databases for various job vacancies using specific keywords. Does this mean that you need to customize your resume for each job? Ideally, yes. If your resume does not have the keywords thrown in enough number of times, chances are that they would not pop up when searched for, and hence, you would be filtered out.
But how does one know which keywords to incorporate? How do you know what words would the person at the other end be typing? Although there is no fool-proof way to get the exact keyword list, the answer usually lies in the employment ad itself! Scrutinize the advertisement and use the same words and jargon they have used. This is the safest and the most prudent way to ensure that you would not go wrong.
Once you know the keywords, the next crucial step is to integrate them effectively. It is a common belief that search engines go through the first 100 words of the document for keywords. But technology is developing fast and it is wise to throw in the keywords throughout your resume.
Ideally, load the first portion of your resume with the relevant keywords. You can call it your ‘Profile’ or ‘Summary’ or ‘Introduction’. However, ensure that these keywords are also used wherever they can in the rest of the resume sections. This will ensure that you get searched as well as not appear as if you have put the keywords just for the heck of it. Also, remember that this online search engine is just the preliminary round. In later stages, there will be humans going through your resume in detail. You definitely don’t want to get eliminated then! Another reason is that most search applications gives importance to Keyword Density, that is, how many times the keyword is used in the entire document.
Ideally, you should be creating customized resumes for each job you apply for. But this is not practically possible. Hence it is wise to have a basic skeleton of the resume, and tweak certain elements and words here and there to incorporate the required keywords to suit specific job vacancies.