A Word about “Keywords”

To some it may be obvious, to others it may be confusing.  What are “Keywords” and how do they affect my job search?  View this information as Your Introduction to Keywords: 101.

It is really quite simple.  Keywords are words that an employer will use to screen candidates for an open position.  They are the “Key” words needed to ensure that the background of the candidate matches the needs of the company.  For example, say an employer is looking for an attorney with experience in Tax with a specific focus in Real Estate and Estate Planning.  If the employer is using a software system to do the first round screening of resumes submitted, the system will be programmed to scan all incoming resumes for “Keywords”.  If the resume contains the specified Keywords it will be put aside for further, possibly human screening. 

In this case, the words “attorney”, “lawyer”, “Tax”, “Real Estate”, Estate Planning” may be the Keywords that must be found in the resume in order to get through the first round of computerized screening.  Words like “U.S. Tax”, “Federal Tax”, “State Tax”, “International Tax”, “IRS or Internal Revenue Service” may also be considered Keywords.   Therefore, candidates who apply for that position should have those words appear in their resume in order to be selected as an appropriate possibility for the position.  The first clue in ensuring you have the Keywords in your resume is to look at the job description and see what specific words the employer used to describe the position and the requirements necessary and make sure that a significant number of those words appear in your resume.

Taking the extra few minutes to personalize your resume to reflect the Keywords is a worthwhile use of your time.  The content of your resume should not have to change you may just have to insert the specific words in the appropriate places.  Check all areas of your resume including skill set, education, certifications and experience.  The more matches you have to the company’s Keywords the more likely your resume will be selected.  View it the way you view an internet search; the more specific the search words you put in the better luck you will have in finding the right website.

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