Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

NO – that is the long and short of it.

Recruiters – agency or in-house all use key words and search terms when sourcing for resumes. Where are they looking these days? Beyond Careerbuilder, Monster and the industry specific job boards you are posting, we are also looking at Indeed (yes you can post your resume to Indeed), LinkedIn, Google and Google+, Facebook Branch Out, the list goes on and on. So first be sure that you are present and accounted for on all of the sites. Next, you need to really look strongly at your resume. This can be very overwhelming, I know. I have hundreds of tips and suggestions for resume but for this we are going to stick to key words and search terms.

There are lots of posts on this topic and you should by now understand that recruiters and hiring managers use similar search technology (that is more sophisticated) that you might use to find a fine dining restaurant in Seattle that is kid friendly and has a vegan menu. The point is that we are looking for is something very specific and with some work and adjustments in our search can typically find what we are looking for whether it is a restaurant or a SVP of Sales in Finance or an Administrative Assistant with Direct Marketing experience.

The key is to review job descriptions that you find yourself qualified for, don’t worry if the company, location or compensation are right, just look for well detailed job descriptions for which you are qualified and review them for key words. I will use what would appear to be a very simple job title, Administrative Assistant, which returned 44k results on Indeed. Just by looking at job titles some stand out to me that you want review and be sure you have in your resume right away. If they don’t apply, please don’t compromise your integrity by adding them.

Key word examples for Administrative Assistant:

  • Titles: Executive, Senior, International, Global, Operations Coordinator, Support
  • Tasks/Skills: Travel Arrangements, Organization, Calender Management, Correspondence, Marketing, Bookkeeping, Order Supplies, Inventory Management, Planning, Meeting Set up, Virtual Meetings, Coordination, Proposals, Call Routing, Filing
  • Software: Word, Excel, Go2Meeting, Visio, Outlook, HTML
  • Industry Specific Titles/Software/Tasks/Certificates: Be sure to use the acronym and the spelled out versions of certificates and programs in your resume. Are you a legal secretary and have your ALS be sure to write it out as well. If you have a customized software system put the description in parenthesis after the title of it, example: Bullhorn (applicant tracking system)

When you are reviewing the descriptions and relaying the information back to your resume be clear and quick to the point. Don’t use an excessive amount of wordy sentences. Be sure that your resume is something that can be skimmed over quickly and has the key points requested in most descriptions. If you are applying for an industry specific position such as legal, medical/healthcare, IT, manufacturing, accounting/finance be sure and add industry specific key words and details at minimum in your objective or purpose statements.

TIP: The more key words you have that match our search string the higher to the top of the list you will appear!

Views: 273

Comment by Randall Scasny on April 28, 2012 at 9:51am

Very good post! Let me tell you how I approach your advice

Since I operate a job search assistance service, I frequently rewrite resumes for job candidates who have credentials and experience, but are getting little market traction. This describes a lot of professional people in their late 40s-50s.

For starters, I ask the job candidate to find 3-5 job ads where they feel they are at the minimum 75% qualified. (This may sound low.....but this is the first step. Read on!).

With these jobs ads, I determine (a) if the candidate is seeking the right kind of job for their background and (b) I begin profiling the employer using a keyword mirroring technique I've developed over the years.

Once I have profiled the employer or set of employers (industry sector), I have a lengthy discussion with my customer (the job seeker). This is to give her/him a reality check based on market and competitive reality. Once, we have settled on an appropriate objective, I begin developing the resume/rewrite based on the following formula:

Job Title + Industry Experience + Unique Skill + Location

This formula written in plain language may sound like this:

Seeking a Logistics Manager in the Transportation Industry where both an expertise in Worldwide Port System software and an active security clearance is critical. Open to relocation but prefer the Washington D.C. area.

Everything in the resume rewrite is "married" to the above definition: summary, skills, highlights, experience and major achievements.

For someone with 5-10 years of experience, I shoot for a 2-3 page resume. More than 10, 3-4 pages. (Just wait a minute....I know what you are thinking... please read on! This is where it gets good.)

I then let the job candidate review the resume and I tell her/him to verify accuracy and I throw in: "Resume fraud is rampant so be honest!" (With all due respect to job seekers, I have found over the 10 years I've been in business that job seekers tend to have a subjective reality about their job skills.  A few I'd say are simply liars. But for most, they are stretching the truth so my caveat keeps the content credible.)

Then I test the resume in a large resume data base and track searches/views for a week (the most important time period) and chart it in Google Docs. I will create a variety of versions of the same resume based on similar job titles. I call this testing "crowdsourcing the resume." Basically, I am using the recruiter aggregate of a large resume database to unknowingly help my focus the job seeker's campaign based on data. After the campaign is focused, then I officially launch the job seeker's campaign. Results: I often take a job seeker who has been out of work for 2 years and get them market traction in 6 weeks.

Of course, my service costs money. While there is a bit of grumbling in the beginning ($$), they quickly see the results and become very happy campers.

Randall Scasny

Director FS5 Consulting



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