You’ve heard all about job keywords and how important they are in the job search process, particularly for getting your resume read and landing an interview. But are you feeling at a loss about what exactly job keywords are and how to wield them?
Here are four steps to keyword domination.
1. Use the language of your industry
You want to include the jargon of your industry in your resume. How do you find out what that is? Easy. A bit of internet research can help you turn your resume and LinkedIn profile into a shining beacon for recruiters.
Make sure not to use too many terms, or very obscure terms, or you might alienate potential recruiters from other fields. Run your keywords by a person from another field to make sure they make sense to anyone who’ll read your resume, but still include enough specifics for you to be taken seriously within your industry.
2. Think about your most valuable skills
What skills do you use on a daily basis in your current job? Start keeping a running list. When in doubt, pull out your old job description for a few vital ones. Look to current job descriptions for positions similar to yours within your field. If there are skills common to all current postings for the kind of job you want, then those are pretty good examples of keywords to include in your resume.
3. Read the job description closely
Take out your highlighter and dissect the job description. Treat it like a grade school reading assignment, and ask yourself what this company is looking for? Highlight everything you think this employer requires, and then create a case for how you tick all the boxes.
Similarly, if a job description lists preferred or required skills, then those are the ones to focus on in your keyword use. Just be sure you don’t claim to have a skill or experience that you do not. Keep it honest.
4. Extract from word clouds
Get familiar with wordle.net or wordclouds.com to see how you can feed documents through these services and extract a word picture with the most commonly used words identified. This can save you a step with longer documents when looking for keywords.
When in doubt, remember to always back up every keyword you use with actual examples in your work history of how you wielded that particular skill or put out that particular fire. Use keywords intelligently and you’ll not only get past the computer screenings, you’ll get past the human reading the resumes and handing out the interviews.
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