Why are keywords important when job searching?
Let me share a part of a free call I had recently with you:
Potential customer: “I am active in the wellness industry, and have a hard time finding the right vacancies to my experience.”
Me: “What do you mean by the Wellness Industry? Do you mean sauna, Sportscenter’s, can you elaborate a bit more?”
Potential Customer: “No, I work for a company that helps organisations to keep their workforce healthy and happy by implementing Wellness programmes in the company.”
This shows the importance of using the right keywords to get invited for an interview and find opportunities aligned with your experience. In this blog post, I’ll define what I mean by keywords, show a few examples of how they are used in the job-seeking process and provide some tips to find keywords that work for you.
What are Keywords?
A keyword is a word or concept with great significance. It’s a word which acts as the key to a cypher or code. Keywords are the words and phrases people type into search engines to find what they are looking for. People active in (social media) Marketing know the importance of keywords. If you know the keywords, you can break the code.
All companies are using software, the so-called ATS systems (Applicant Tracking System) nowadays to process applications. Knowing what the used keywords are, helps you to be invited for an interview or not.
Your LinkedIn use relates heavily to keywords as well. The algorithm is built on keywords. The right keywords in your headline might mean getting noticed by a recruiter, being approached by a recruiter and so on. This is why some people use loads of different words to describe similar things, to increase the number of visitors to their profile.
The screening of your resume relates to keywords as well. If someone does a quick screening of your resume, this person might look for certain words or phrases as well. Since recruitment becomes more and more data-driven every day, it becomes equally important to be aware of what keywords are used in your area of expertise. Also taking into account these keywords change over time.
Conversations, as described in the introduction of this blog, show you the use of keywords varies per country and continent. All the more reason to do your research and find the right vacancies for you.
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Why are the right keywords Important?
As mentioned: “If you know the words, you can break the code”.
This is the main reason why you should care about the use of using keywords. You wish to know about the important keywords used in your area of expertise to increase your job search success.
Real examples of the importance of keywords
To come back to the example provided in the introduction of this blog: The potential customer I spoke to was looking in the wrong direction.
Wellness in the Netherlands relates to sports and sauna and relaxation. In the country, this potential customer resides, this relates to employee wellbeing. If I would scout for opportunities aligned with her expertise, I would use keywords or phrases related to employee well-being like Vitality, Diversity and Inclusiveness and HR-related or consulting opportunities.
This is just one example of the use of keywords I run into almost daily. Another example I wish to share relates to the finance area. If you read previous blogs you must have noticed something about the importance of being specific or concise. Being specific helps you to create awareness of the things you’ve done.
Recently I had a nice chat with one of the members of the Career Connection Membership Programme about resume refinement. While her experience was specific and heavy related to the jobs she applied to, she forgot to mention the keywords used by employers on her resume.
When recruiting internationally we have to be aware of the different titles and educational levels used in other countries but as an applicant, we have to create an understanding of these titles and educational levels. In this case, the use of the right keywords might help this member to create more awareness of the amazing things she has done.
The third example I wish to share is meant for the teachers, education professionals, psychologists and other healthcare or well-being professionals among us.
When coaching this group of professionals, I notice you all focus heavily on age groups or target groups you have experience with. Yes, this is important – as well. The one thing I have to remind all of you about is the essence of your profession and has to do with its current. Every school, every psychology practice, health care institution or wellbeing organisation has a current, foundation, they work with.
Fundamentals that steer your approach. For example: Within education, we know Dalton, Montesorri and Jenaplan. Within psychology, we know CBT, positive psychology, sensorimotor approaches and so on. These currents within your profession come together with the use of certain methodologies and I would like to know about this experience when recruiting.
There is always the possibility to schedule a 30-minute free introductory call to learn more about the average duration of a job search for you specifically. Don’t hesitate to check my schedule over here and plan your call today.
How do I know what the right keywords are for me?
The use of the right keywords requires research. Requirements of a vacancy often describe what an employer is looking for. You can find them in the full vacancies, not only in the list of requirements supplied.
The keywords can be found in the introduction, the description of the main tasks and responsibilities and so on. Digging in helps to create awareness on your end on this aspect of your job-seeking journey.
Tips and reminders for the use of keywords
Before closing off, let me share some tips and reminders:
- #test different keywords
You might want to test and try out what attracts attention and what doesn’t. Sometimes the use of one keyword attracts the attention you’re after, other keywords don’t.
- #mix up the keywords
We use different words to describe the same thing. This also goes for soft skills. A simple way of showing you what I mean is the use of “creative”. You can use “creative” and “creativity”, but also “imaginative”, “Original” or “Inventive”.
- #dont overdo it
Yes, you should use keywords throughout your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter, but please don’t overdo it. We cannot do anything and everything, so I don’t believe in using an endless list of skills and capabilities to receive a job interview invite. It will only raise eyebrows on the recruiters’ end.
- #different companies use different language
It sounds so easy and yet it can be so difficult. Updating every resume toward the language used by the company is doing yourself a favour. So, update the keywords in each resume you send out to ensure that they match the target company’s language.
Wrap-up and Key Takeaway
The use of keywords is tailormade to your needs and desires. May the key takeaway of this blog be that knowing what keywords match your experience and your ambitions can help you to increase your job search success and decrease the number of applications you sent out.
Have questions about this topic?
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