Two Keywords Passing in the Night

By Jessica L. Benjamin - Recruitment Advertising - Boston

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Before you get the interview, in fact, before a recruiter spends approximately five to seven seconds scanning your resume, it has to reach their screen.


I spend a lot of time helping recruiters search resume databases and see a large disparity between what many jobseekers put on a resume and the search terms that recruiters use to locate appropriate resumes for viewing.


Before you can trumpet your accomplishments, you need to make sure your resume is searchable by the keywords a recruiter would choose to enter.



I’ll use sales as an example. It seems most every recruiter searches for “cold calling,” and “Excel.” I work in sales, and it would never have occurred to me to put either of those terms on my resume because they seem so obvious. Of course I cold call (or warm call, as I like to call it) and doesn’t everyone who has worked in an office know how to use Microsoft Office?


I think you need to look at your resume as someone who knows nothing about your profession, as some recruiters will not. There are lists of the basic skills for most professions that are easily found with a search engine. After finding the twenty or so magic words that someone in your role should possess, try to work them into your existing resume. The rest can be listed at the bottom under “skills.”


My ideal resume format starts with a reverse chronological list of positions, followed by education. Anything else you feel the need to add can go at the bottom, including what I am about to add to mine, a mind-numbing list of all of the skills one would expect to find in a Senior Account Manager.


I would also suggest to recruiters that they avoid adding titles to resume searches. A person like me could be called an Inside Sales Person, a Telesales Person, a Senior Sales Representative, an Account Executive an Account Manager, A Key Account Manager, etc. I have held many of these titles while doing, basically the same work. Adding a title just limits your results.


Instead, I would suggest being a little more clever and searching on the word “sales” and other sales-related words that are indicators of past achievements and predicators of future success such as “President’s Club,” "award," "overachievement," “above goal,” etc.


Once an awesome candidate adds the needed keywords to their resume and the recruiter starts searching for words that predict future success, more of the right people’s resumes will end up in the hands of the right hiring managers.


Note: Jessica L. Benjamin works at Monster Worldwide. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect her employer’s. Follow her on Twitter.


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