Sending your tailored resume in response to a job opening is effective, but posting a general resume online so recruiters can find you is efficient. If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to tweak your resume and get it online. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the right keywords and before you know it, you’ll have recruiters flooding your inbox.
When recruiters search job databases, they have specific keywords in mind for each position they’re trying to fill. Keywords range from position titles to specific certifications to languages to your location. Your goal is to make sure that your resume has a healthy dose of those same keywords. For example, when it comes to location you should list your current city, state and regional area on your resume. It seems redundant, but using all three increases the odds that your resume will match one of the recruiter’s keywords.
Unsure of where to find the right keywords? A great place to start is with job descriptions for your field. Make a list of the words and phrases that come up frequently in the descriptions and then add those keywords to your resume. If you’re having doubts about your choices, double check your keywords by entering them into the job search function on ClearanceJobs.
2. Choose the Right Position Titles
As if it isn’t hard enough already trying to convert a military occupational series into civilian terms, now I’m suggesting you do research to see which civilian term is the best to use. More work, I know. And while you may think it’s unnecessary to differentiate between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant, the numbers don’t lie. Some position titles are simply searched for more often than others.
To gauge the popularity of your position title, visit indeed.com/trends. The site compares all of the job titles you enter and will show you which one is searched for most frequently. For example, the term “PM” is actually searched for more often than its counterpart “project manager.” For the best results, use the top two titles throughout your resume. And if it seems appropriate, consider using a slash such as “Project Manager/Senior Project Lead” to maximize results when recruiters start searching job databases.
3. Spell Out Skills
It’s probably worth mentioning that in addition to getting that first look by the recruiter, it’s likely your resume will also need to survive a scan by a computer program. According to Quint Careers, more than 90 percent of employers place resumes directly into searchable databases to weed out candidates. This means it’s incredibly important that everything on your resume is spelled correctly and listed at its most basic. For example, rather than using Microsoft Office, you would list out Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word individually. Likewise, if you have a certification or license that’s abbreviated, make sure you list both the abbreviated and spelled out versions.
4. Include Internet Skills
Believe it or not, you should list your abilities when it comes to the Internet and/or apps that pertain to the job opening. For example, people interested in social media positions should list that they’re proficient with Facebook just as someone interested in online marketing should be familiar with Google Analytics. Make sure you’re including all applicable skill sets on your resume to ensure your resume gets picked up by the recruiter and makes it through the computer cut.
5. Location is Key
The higher up your keywords are on your resume, the better. One way to move your keywords to a higher position is to replace your resume’s objective statement with job titles that match your career interests. Or if you feel like your skills are lacking a bit, keep the objective statement and include a list of skills you want to develop. This ensures your resume comes up in database searches even if you don’t have all the necessary skills just yet.
It may seem like a lot of work to get your resume database ready, but the potential pay-off is huge. One, you’ll have recruiters actively looking for you instead of the other way around. Two, becoming familiar with those keywords is helpful once you hit the interview stage. And three, this may lead to the holy grail, also known as your next job. A few tweaks here and there and you could be saying, “they sought me out for this position” instead of “why aren’t they responding to my resume?”