Jobseekers - You Are Not Human Anymore - You Are A Keyword!

I am calling this career movement the "job seeker keyword revolution." The way I see it, you have officially lost your DNA and it has been replaced by a keyword. Your "keyword" is the only way you are going to be found in this world; especially if you are in a job search.

Don't believe me? The way you get a job in today's world has changed dramatically. It is important you understand your resume and that your online profiles must clearly define your career qualifications and job skills by the use of keywords. That is why your resume with the words energetic and team player aren't getting any play in applicant tracking systems (ATS) and online searches recruiters perform on sites like LinkedIn and Google.

To really understand this, the first thing is to recognize how those hiring look for candidates. Companies with human resource departments recruit differently then staffing firms and headhunters. Both use keywords, just not it the same way. If you understand this, you can revise your resume and online profiles to fit.

How companies use keywords to find candidates:

Most large companies post jobs to sites like and get people to apply using their ATS (applicant tracking system). The form you fill out will require you to upload your resume and answer a ton of questions. Once complete, your resume will be "scored" (usually by a computer) with the overwhelming prerequisite for a high score being identical key words to the job you have applied to. If you are a workers' compensation claims adjuster and apply to a property claims job; even though you can do the job (you had previous WC experience ten years ago) your resume will not score high. TIP: If you can do the job you are applying to, make sure your keywords match the job description. If you are making major changes to your resume, you most likely will not be qualified.

For smaller companies where you email a resume, the email subject line needs to have the keywords for the position you are applying to without fail. "Applying to Paralegal position in Downtown Orlando". Again, your resume should also say the same. TIP: Your resume you attach should also be clear. (Objective: Paralegal)

Job Board Resumes Databases. Your resume title should be exactly what you do or what you want to do in your next job (assuming your background supports both). TIP: Employers read headlines.

How recruiters/headhunters use keywords to find candidates:

Recruiters usually seek you out. While they use job postings and job board resume databases, they really spend a lot of time with search engines like Google. They are trained to use "Boolean" search strings to search for resumes, social media profiles, LinkedIn profiles and articles hoping to return potential candidates that they reach out to directly. If you are in a job search, you want to be found by recruiters because a lot of the time, they have jobs that are not found anywhere. If your keywords are not included in all your profiles, you will not be found.

Google yourself and check the results. If all goes well and you have a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account, these should all appear on the first page. With each of these sites, you have the ability to create your profile. LinkedIn is self-explanatory but still needs to be optimized (just like your resume) to the skills and qualifications you have to the job you are trying to get.

An example of an optimized Twitter profile

Twitter and Facebook also have areas that you can populate with your keywords. With Twitter, as in my profile, you can put all your keywords about what you do in the header. Facebook is becoming a powerful resource for recruiters because of its new search engine. In your profile, you can add your keywords and you will be found by your profile. This is very powerful. 

Use Facebook's enhanced search engine to your advantage

By having all of your social media profiles optimized with keywords (especially during a job search) you increase your chances of being found by employers and recruiters. Good luck in your job search!

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