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Job Search Guide – Resume Keywords

Keywords can be used to help you find jobs, as well as to help prospective employers and headhunters find you.  Here’s how.

Finding a job right now is difficult, what with all the current competition.  Your resume may land in a pile with dozens of other jobseekers’, which seriously detracts from your likelihood of getting noticed.  To increase your chances of finding a job, it is important to expand your job search and apply for as many positions as you can find for which you are qualified.

Simple mathematics tells us that, sure, the more jobs you apply to, the better your odds are of finding one.  But finding more jobs to apply for is the trick.  Here are some suggestions for how to use keywords to expand your job search and improve your chances.

Identify Important Key Phrases

Next time you are searching the online job boards, pay close attention to key phrases employers use in your resume.  You can use these phrases to find other jobs you might be just as qualified for.

Come up with a list of keywords or phrases that you frequently find in ads for the sort of job you are looking for, making sure of course that they describe skills you already have.  Then plug these terms into your favorite job search engines, and you may be surprised at the range of jobs that come up which require the same skills!

Ignore Job Titles

Have you heard the saying that you should never judge a book by its cover?  Likewise, you should never judge a job by its title.  The title is usually chosen by the company, and may actually be a very poor representation of what the job actually entails — or what skills it requires.  This is why identifying keywords and phrases to search for, instead of the job title itself, is a good strategy to use in your job search.

For example, say you are looking for a job as a technical writer.  Not all jobs that utilize this particular skill set may be listed as a technical writer.  For instance, you might find that a position for a human resources person or a new employee trainer might be very similar, requiring many of the same skills you already have.

Get Creative with Your Searches

The key to a good job search is thinking outside of the box.  Using a job search website is really no different than using a regular search engine like Yahoo! or Google.  Think about it: When you search for something on the Internet, you often add or delete words or use quotes, depending on what search results you get back the first time.  The same is true for searching for a job.

Take a close look at the results you get back, and determine if there are specific keywords you should be including in your search terms in order to narrow your results, or if you should be removing words in order to get more results back.  Putting a specific phrase in quotes, such as the name of software that is often used in your line of work, can also help to identify jobs you might be qualified for.

Include Key Phrases in Your Resume

Once you have identified what key phrases to search for, be sure that you put them to further use in order to help recruiters and potential employers find you.  Although it is a less common way to find a job, some employers and headhunters search resumes on job search websites, looking for jobseekers that have a very particular skill set.  However, if you don’t use the right keywords in your resume, you may not turn up in their search results.

Remember that list of keywords you made while you were searching for jobs?  These are key phrases that frequently appear in job ads seeking people with your talents and experience.  It only stands to reason that employers and recruiters will use these same terms in their searches, as well.  Go through your resume and replace your descriptive terms with these frequently used key phrases, and don’t worry about sounding like a copycat — potential employers are more concerned about whether you have the skills they are looking for, and using industry accepted terms is the best way to show that you do.

As you can tell, keywords are an important part of any serious job search.  Jobseekers who utilize keywords and phrases may be able to find a broader selection of jobs to apply for; likewise, you can use keywords to narrow your search results to just those jobs you are exceptionally qualified for.  Incorporating this concept into your job search will vastly improve your odds of finding a job!

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