By Susan P. Joyce
Seemingly trivial word choices, like using the job title “Administrative Assistant” or “Admin Assistant” on your LinkedIn profile or resume, can be the difference, right now, between being found by an employer or recruiter and being invisible.
Keywords Are Critical to Job Search Success Today
Employers and recruiters use online searches to find qualified job candidates in LinkedIn (and also in Google, Applicant Tracking Systems, job boards, etc.).
Don’t assume that you know the terms that employers are using to find job candidates for their openings. That’s a dangerous thing to do.
For example, if job seekers have several years of experience working with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus to promote their employers’ brands. Should they describe themselves on LinkedIn as:
- Social Networking Specialist
- Social Media Specialist
- Social Networks Specialist
The term they use to describe their experience is significant, even though they look the same. If they use the “wrong” term — the term most employers don’t use — they will be found in many fewer searches. So, their visibility will be more limited.
To find qualified candidates, employers and recruiters search using the keywords that are important to the job they are filling. Those keywords are job titles, skills, education, certifications, locations, and much more.
You want to use the most appropriate job title(s) for the job you want, the right terms for the skills you have, even the best way to describe your education, and more. Include in your LinkedIn profile the terms that employers use most often to describe the requirements so that your profile appears in their search results.
How to Discover Your Best Keywords Using Indeed.com’s JobTrends
Job-Hunt sponsor Indeed.com has the largest collection of job postings in the world. To help job seekers understand how employers are describing jobs, Indeed provides an excellent (free!) tool to analyze the keywords in that enormous collection of job postings: JobTrends.
Assume that you hold the Project Management Professional certification, and you’re trying to determine the best keywords for you to use in your LinkedIn profile. Let Indeed’s JobTrends help you figure out the best terms to use.
1. Go to the Indeed.com/jobtrends page.
2. Type the terms you want to compare in the box at the top of the page (see below).
Replace the “HTML5” already in the search box with your terms, separated by commas. In our example, you would probably check: Project Management Professional, PMP certified, certified PMP, and PMP certification.
3. Click on “Find Trends” after you have typed your keywords into the search box.
Millions of people lose their jobs every month. If you are the one who has just lost your job, knowing you aren’t alone isn’t much consolation. The good news is that millions of people also land new jobs every month, and you will join that group, too!
Whether you loved or hated that job, now your focus is to move on to the next stage in your career.
1. Deal with any anger you may be feeling.
Being angry is a very large roadblock to future employment — recruiters won’t refer you, and potential employers will avoid you.
No one wants to hire a “nutcase” who might “go postal” in the new job!
You may be completely justified in being angry at the incompetent former boss or calculating co-worker(s), but remaining angry with them can sabotage your future success. That anger will be apparent in your language, facial expression, and tone (both written and live).
The anger may negatively impact your job search in many ways:
- Scaring people away in your social media interactions.
- Offending the people in your network.
- Limiting your view of potential opportunities.
- Keeping you from focusing effectively on your hunt for a new job.
All of this will prevent you from “moving on” to the next step in your career.
So, don’t let the anger take you down:
- Recognize and acknowledge to yourself or to a counselor that you are angry.
- Dump the anger and frustration out in a way that won’t hurt you or anyone else, like writing it down in a notebook you keep to yourself (or destroy later) or in a document on your computer that gets deleted (NEVER sent to ANYONE!).
- Determine to move on with your life and career without letting that bad experience permanently damage your future.
- Count your blessings (from family, friends, health, and home to ice cream in the freezer and the electricity that makes the freezer work, etc.) on at least a daily basis — hourly, if needed.
- Consider that you might possibly be wrong about why you lost your job, if you are blaming one person or situation. Unless you have perfect information about everything involved, you are guessing about the reason you lost your job.
The worst part of the anger is the long-term impact it can have if you don’t get rid of it. You can end up burning bridges that may prove permanently damaging to your career — like when a potential employer does a reference check.
You’ve made it to the interview, and all that’s standing between you and your dream job is the hiring manager — but winning her over may be easier said than done. So what will it take to make her like you? Well, one thing you can do is avoid annoying her. We reached out to several hiring managers who shared their biggest pet peeves on the condition of anonymity.
1. When you don’t understand the company or product
There’s nothing a hiring manager hates more than wasting time, and you will definitely be seen as a waste of time if you don’t understand the company or the product. It’ll show that you’re not even doing the basic research you need for the interview. Why should they even consider you if you’re not putting forward the effort? It’ll seem like you don’t have any passion for or interest in the company, which is one of the biggest pet peeves of any hiring manager.
2. When you don’t ask questions
When you don’t ask questions, it shows disinterest and lack of effort. One hiring manager told us, “It makes me feel like they’re just looking for any job. Anyone can make up good answers to an interview question, but I want to see how they think and what they care about.” Need some help with this step? Check out some great questions to ask during the interview.
4. When you don’t follow directions
The job listing says to email and not call or maybe that a cover letter is required. Follow those instructions to a T, because if you can’t follow simple directions, it’s likely that your application will be ignored.
Anyone’s who’s spent more than a few seconds Googling ‘résumé mistakes’ knows that the Internet is awash with blog posts warning about the dangers of spelling mistakes and a failure to use action verbs on your résumé.
While there’s a sea of such tips available, most of the information out there is painfully obvious, and not particularly helpful to someone with even the tiniest modicum of common sense.
Further, most of it fails to address the less obvious, but equally crippling résumé mistakes below that I see qualified and capable candidates make on a daily basis.
3. You didn’t quantify
Recruiters know what a Head of Operations, General Manager, VP of Marketing, or Account Director does in their day-to-day work, so providing a laundry list of your duties isn’t particularly impactful.
What does make a difference is demonstrating scope, and for that you need to share hard numbers.
Recruiters want to know size of budget and P&L accountability, number of direct and indirect reports, reporting structures, and organisational size and hierarchy… all of which they use to piece together a picture of the candidate.
Whenever you can, quantify your duties and accomplishments, being as specific as possible.
8. Your résumé is not tailored
You can’t be all things to all people, and nor can you have one résumé for all roles.
Candidates who think they can get away with a one-size-fits-all résumé give the impression of trying to slide by without putting in the requisite effort. Worse, they often fail to address the core competencies needed for each.
While you don’t need to rewrite your entire résumé for every role, you do need to consider what’s important for each.
Create several versions of your résumé and fine-tune bullet points, key skills, assets, and keywords to make each one fit-for-purpose.
9. You listed every job you’ve ever had
When it comes to preparing your résumé, more is not better.
While I understand the impulse behind including your entire work history — after all, you want to look experienced — a ‘greatest hits’ strategy is a far better approach.
My team typically details between 3 and 6 of the most recent and relevant roles from the past 10 to 15 years, listing earlier career history in a summary section that includes titles, organisations, and tenure.
We also take a ‘Russian Doll’ approach, whereby your most recent roles are allocated more real estate on your résumé than those further back in time.
3. Remember it’s what you can do for the employer
The best way to sell is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.
Take the time to think about what benefits and skills you bring to the table. Read over the job description and envision the concerns and needs of that employer.
By speaking about how you can deliver the desired results, you are more likely to get an offer and, when you do you have more leverage negotiating the salary you want. In essence, give the employer what they want and you will get everything you need.
4. Be approachable and likable
When interviewing, the hiring manager is going to look for intangibles such as whether you are going to fit in with the corporate culture a.k.a. will you get along with the employees and enjoy working there.
The best way to make the interviewer confident that you’ll fit in is to be approachable and likable throughout the interviewing process. Don’t play hard to get, remain easy going and connect with the individual on a personal basis. Remember to smile.
9. Ask the right questions in the right manner
When you ask questions, don’t come across as skeptical or prying, rather ask the questions because you want the information. People don’t like hidden agendas and interviewers are no different. Prior to interviewing, formulate some interviewing questions that you are comfortable with and deliver those inquiries in a non-assuming, intelligent manner.