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Increase the visibility of your resume with keywords


Have you been submitting resumes and not hearing back? A piece on dice.com suggests it may not be your lack of qualifications but more of a lack of keywords.

Keywords are phrases that communicate your job skills, responsibilities, and/or functions. The more you reference keywords that are contained in the recruiter's search, the more likely you'll get calls. Here's some advice from dice.com:

First, be aware that keywords are best when they refer to hard skills. In other words, "network engineer" and "Help Desk agent" are likely to get more direct attention than "team player" or "multi-tasker."

The physical location of keywords is also important. Dice says, "Providing a summary of keywords at the conclusion of your resume is an effective way to assure that your resume is selected during database searches. However, to help move you to the interviewing stage, list your keywords near the top." Deborah Walker, a certified career coach and president of Alpha Advantage in Portland, Oregon, suggests including keywords in the top four to five inches of your resume because the recruiter won't look beyond that when quickly reviewing a batch of candidate resumes.

And another little tip from the same article: If you're changing careers and don't have the relevant experience yet that would allow you to incorporate the keywords, you can include an "objective" that includes a list of skills you want to develop. That way, your resume will come up in keyword searches.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

15 comments
farhandude
farhandude

I agree that words play an integral role in one's CV. Farhan Najam

welchrt
welchrt

I think this is good advice for someone who is looking to get into the field

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Having been a business development manager for Canada's largest recruiting firm, I can tell you that "Providing a summary of keywords at the conclusion of your resume is an effective way to assure that your resume is selected during database searches." will get your resume blacklisted pretty quickly, in Canada anyway. They see this as spamming your resume. Another bad idea is to use the online systems for writing resumes full of buzz/keywords and especially online "services" which tell you exactly what specific companies are seeking so you can tweak your resume to fit their BUZZ words. Many future employers now use recruiters who add specific buzz words or sought out goals simply to identify who is using those services. They are all cross referenced now to weed out the BS resumes very quickly. Research the company yorself, create your own resume and write it with content that sells yourself and YOUR relevant abilities, it's easy to find teh right job that way and you don't get stuck in a pile of resumes if you look for employers that are not actually advertising but will want someone with your skills or business proposal. This way you end up with a roperly suited career that actually lasts.

hkilcrease
hkilcrease

As much as keywords are important, it is just as crucial not to list every single one of your skills. A lot of times candidates seem to look more as a (jack of all trades) (master of none.) IT Managers and good recruiters are going to know that if you have listed a certain skill the others will follow! A great tool for your resume is to make several small sentences explaining the roles you have actually performed. Try to stay away from the words helped and assisted, instead just use responsible for and performed, you still did the work just with a team. This way you can save the explanations for your interview.

Jester James
Jester James

Thought I hadn't had enough caffeine and was seeing double.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

I think Toni just wanted to make sure that you really got it! Or maybe it was just a little tool hiccup. Sorry for the confusion.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

who I refer to as "keyword monkeys" because they simply run a search for certain keywords instead of actually reading the resume in its entirety because they are either lazy, careless, or clueless. I have Cisco and Unix mentioned in a few line on my resume because I have integrated Windows servers with Unix servers and have installed a server running CiscoWorks, so now I get these idiotic recruiters emailing me positions for Unix admins and CCIEs' because their keyword searches found a match. Had they actually taken the time to read my resume, they'd see that I am neither a Unix admin or a Cisco engineer. Sometimes I wonder if I should completely remove all references to those words on my resume to prevent myself from getting bombarded with email from recruiters who are completely clueless about what I do.

don-johns
don-johns

so I had to read it twice, or four times?

zbatia
zbatia

I know that some of the job recruiters don't like my attitude simply because I suggest them to learn their skills first before sending me stupid offers or because I simply state that they did not read my resume at all, and there is no point to offer me a $60K job when I was working as Sr. Engineer for years not to mention Technical Director experience. That ignorance drives me crazy. Another problem is that they offer the job in another state when I stated clearly "no relocation". So, I am AGAINST search words even if they somehow help to filter the candidates down. I am sure that 95% of job recruiters use the search engines without actually reading the resume. It sucks.

tonoohay
tonoohay

Having been around a recruiter for some time the idea they are clueless is lame. Their are given clues all the time from hiring types. (internal managers if company based or if an outside contract type even less nailed down) The problem is something the US has laid claim too? Productivity! If the Primary viewer can't scan and select "X" number of Resumes within a very short time window then they are most likely seeking new employment soon. Then the Middle - Upper screener has an even narrower window of opportunity. And when push-comes-to-shove they 'repost the job? I get those silly 'off point' inquires all the time and see them as introductions to new contacts. As to the article, any way you can to be a positive item in someone's filtering is good!

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

because she supposedly "found" my resume online and emailed me about a position that was completely irrelevant to my skills and was lord knows where, even after clearly stating in my profile that I will only consider work within my local geographic area. I basically blasted her and told her that if she doesn't understand the industry enough to match potential candidates with appropriate positions and geographic locations, then she's is in the wrong business to be finding people jobs in the IT market. It's one thing to get some idiot recruiter from some body shop emailing me this crap, but for a supposed president of a recruiting firm doing the same doesn't say much for the success of their business unless they prey on the gullible and naive among our industry.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

I get an email from some idiotic recruiter seeking a Sr. Cisco Engineer. Yes, I make mention on my online resume that I have setup servers in a layer 3 switched Cisco network, so these keyword monkeys bombard me with Cisco positions when I deal with servers, not routers or switches. Check out the email below and you'll see what I mean when I say they are insulting my intelligence. My response: With ALL DUE RESPECT...do not insult my intelligence, as I know many recruiters that actually take the time to read resumes and understand what their potential candidates do and seek. You have not proven to be a competent recruiter based on your comments so far and your excuse of using keyword searches to justify your methods only reinforces that fact. His response: Well, we or any one in recruiting all over the world needs to use keyword search. You are probably misunderstanding because you are not a recruiter and don't know how it works. Thanks for your comment. My response: Well, perhaps that is where your problem lies with your useless keyword searches. In the famous words of Forest Gump..."Stupid is as stupid does"! His response: Doesn't require state. We search using major KEYWORDS. My response: Perfect match? Where on my resume do I state that I am a Cisco engineer? Perhaps you need to slowly reread the resume and actually understand what it is I do before sending me positions that have absolutely nothing to do with my skills. Please permanently remove me from your mailing list as it is quite clear that you guys are clueless. His original email: Hi ....., I found your resume at dice.com and it is a perfect match for one of our financial client's requirement. Hope you are available. If so please feel free to contact me. Following is the requirement for your review. Major Financial Client needed folowing eligibility:- Title: Cisco Network Engineer Skills: Routing Protocols, Cisco IOS Date: 12-12-2007 Location: Jersey City, NJ Area code: 201 Tax term: CON_CORP CON_IND CON_W2 Pay rate: Negotiable Length: Position ID: LE001 Dice ID: 10113844 Job description: CISCO 1. Strong Experience in working in a Cisco environment - IOS platform. 2. Strong experience in routing and switching. Specifically EIGRP, BGP, RIP, static routing, route redistribution, HSRP, etc... 3. Strong experience building and implementing Cisco configurations based upon design documentation. 4. Very strong experience troubleshooting Cisco configuration issues. Travel in U.S. for 1st 6 months. OTHER 1. VERY VERY STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS. We need somebody who speaks, reads, and writes English 2. A team player who can also work with minimal supervision. Travel required: 50% Telecommute: no Please contact us for your earliest opportunity. Thank you, UTC Associates, Inc. 82 Wall Street, Suite 701-702 New York, NY 10005 Tel 1-212-359-2621 Cell 1-646-387-5447

hkilcrease
hkilcrease

I feel for you that you had to deal with ignorance when it has come to recruiters. You are a recruiters client, and they should be well informed and educated before they contact anybody. The problem is that the companies take these college grads and offer they a good salary with potential for commissions and feed them to the dogs. There should be a standard, because recruiters are now becoming just as bad as telemarketers!

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