By Abby Kohut
Job seekers around the country are all struggling with the same issues. A big one? They're "unfindable" by recruiters.
While you may think it's a recruiter's job to find you, it's actually YOUR job to try to be found. The more you help the recruiters, the faster they will find you online and the faster they will stop searching for your competitors.
Let's start with keywords
Do you know why we call them keywords? It's because they are THE key to your job search success, but not in the way that you think they are.
I'm proud of the job seekers that I meet with who have figured out all the appropriate keywords from their industry and profession. They have scoured the online ads and used Wordle.net to identify the words that are most commonly used. They have reviewed their old job descriptions and have poured through industry trades.
But ... here is the key to the keywords ... you have to include them multiple times on your resume Yes, I know that you have heard that you shouldn't repeat sentences on your resume, and I would agree that you shouldn't. But if you have your keywords mentioned one time on your resume, and someone else has them two times, guess who rises to the top of the list when a recruiter types them in?
As ridiculous as this all seems, it's unfortunately a game of hide and seek these days. As recruiters, most of us get thousands of resumes and the only way for us to sort through them is by using a large database called an Applicant Tracking System. We don't have time to look at each and every resume, so we use a keyword search to help us narrow down the applicants.
Will repeating the words twice get to you to the top of the pile?
The answer frequently is, it depends. What it depends on is how many times your competition has mentioned the word. In the past, there would be no way for you to know that answer, but with LinkedIn, you can scope out your competition like any recruiter would.
And since we're talking about LinkedIn, you may have been told to post job titles on your profile and just an itty bitty description of your jobs to entice recruiters to contact you. While that seems like an interesting approach, it doesn't work if a recruiter can't find you in the first place because you don't have enough keywords on your profile. Keywords are key on your resume and they are key on your social media profiles as well.
Use abbreviations and full titles too
Most applicant tracking systems aren't smart enough to know that CTO is the same thing as a Chief Technology Officer. So, if you want to be sure you're going to be found, you may want to have both listed on your resume like this: Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Be careful of abbreviations like Admin. Asst. because you won't get credit for being an Administrative Assistant.
What about 'white' keywords?
Some people say they've heard that they need to add keywords on the bottom of their resume in a white font so that the resume gets picked up in more keyword searches. While that may have been an interesting way to play the game in the past, these days, applicant tracking systems only read in one color – black. So, your white words appear on the bottom of your resume as clear as day. If those words were important enough to add to your resume in white, why not find a way to add them into your actual resume?
The bottom line: the key to your job search is to pretend that you are a recruiter trying to find you. What job boards would you use and what keywords would you plug in? Once you are sure you have your keywords identified, spell them correctly and cleverly weave them into different sections of your resume.
And that, my friends, is your key to recruiter magnetism.
Abby Kohut, who is known on the web as Absolutely Abby, has held positions from recruiter to Senior Director of Recruiting. Abby was selected as one of "The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search" and is one of the "Top 100 Influential People Online" according to Fast Company Magazine. Since 2010, Abby has been on a mission to educate 1 million job seekers, and is currently driving around the USA speaking at job search groups.
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