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Over the past few years there has been considerable discussion within the career services industry.
AND in the general media, about keywords and their impact on job hunting.
The phenomenon is due in part to the Internet’s influence on how we manage our careers.
What’s the big deal?
The significance of keywords is the result of two applicant-screening realities.
The first is the fact that employers don’t “read” re’sume’s. During a preliminary review, employers visually scan each re’sume’for 10 to 20 seconds before making an “include/don’t include” decision.
They simply don’t have time to read the hundreds of re’sume’s they receive.
The second reality is that an increasing number of companies screen re’sume’s electronically.
State-of-the-art applicant tracking systems enable employers to quickly search for skills and qualifications that match their talent needs.
What exactly are keywords?
Keywords are those “buzz words” which are commonly associated with an industry, discipline, or profession.
They communicate position-specific functions, responsibilities, skills and ac-complishments. Here is a sampling of keywords for three different fields:
Sales: key account management, account retention, consultative sales.
Banking: branch operations, credit administration, foreign exchange.
Senior management: benchmarking, business development, continuous process improvement, corporate image.
Keywords can also be position titles, certifications, industry-specific acronyms, geographic locations and languages.
Where can I find keywords?
If you are an industry insider, relevant keywords are already in your vocabulary. However, when changing fields you can research newspapers, trade publications, job postings, and re’sume’and cover letter books.
Once you have identified appropriate keywords, you will want to incorporate them into your job search communications. Sprinkle them throughout your re’sume’, cover letters and interview follow-up letters.
Before going keyword crazy, keep in mind that while keywords are a vital component of effective job searching, they are just one component.
Every keyword must be substantiated by your career track, expertise, and accomplishments.