It’s widely accepted by recruitment professionals that increasingly higher competition among today’s job seekers is making it harder for many applicants to successfully obtain interviews for positions in the organizations they wish to join.
In order to overcome this situation, the successful job seeker is learning more and more to use power words to help stand out from crowd in this increasingly competitive job market. Even a few years ago, you probably would not have heard of the term keywords in the context of cover letters for resumes.
But, given the increased use of technology in screening the thousands of applicants applying for positions in Fortune 500 organizations, they have started to impact individuals and related industries in a big way.
But keywords, those hot words that are associated with special industries or job positions, are an important way that a job seeker can differentiate him or herself from the competition of other job seekers. They are important because they can mean far more than the more two or three words convey by themselves.
Jay Block, an executive career coach in West Palm Beach, Fla., commented that if the ad says candidates need to have a bachelor’s degree, “bachelor’s degree” had better show up somewhere in your resume.
He also commented that job hunters need to look at ads for similar jobs from other companies. It’s important to recognize that each specific industry has its own inside “speak” or jargon, and knowing what specific words are important in the range of ads about certain job positions will help you spot the pattern of words that employers are continually using. Once you spot the pattern, a good tactic is to start using them yourself in you own resume cover letters and correspondence relating to getting an interview for a new position.
It’s important to understand that some keywords are the real ones that you need to take notice off. Although many keywords are industry specific, Mr. Block says, certain phrases are common among all organizations. These words continue to have favor today and they include “communication skills,” “problem-solving,” “team work,” “leadership,” “resource optimization,” and “image and reputation management.” The reason is that they relate to universal skills that are in hot demand by today’s employers.
“Business development” might be one of the most important of all, he says.
“I’ve interviewed many, many companies that will tell me, ‘Everybody from the floor sweeper to the national sales manager had better be involved in business development in some way,’ ” says Mr. Block.
Keywords are something that have been used by most people though their working lives – even if they don’t realize it at the time. They can be defined as simply the hot buzz words of a particular trade or profession. They clearly communicate something specific about the particular job function, qualification or specialist experience.
Some examples of these include increased market penetration for marketing personnel, shared vision for human resources personnel, customer development for sales staff and systems engineering for Computer IT Specialists.
As the market place has become increasingly competitive for job seekers , you will need to catch your potential employer’s attention by writing action driven statements that explain what value you can provide your prospective employer. Strong keywords are nouns that allow you to get the message across more successfully than most other means. They allow you to showcase your qualifications, capabilities and what you can offer the employer. Moreover, they are very hard to pass over so they tend not to be ignored.
It’s a well known fact in recruiting circles that keywords are a really effective way of enhancing your resume cover letters, broadcast letters and other styles of correspondence that you use to win job interviews. Strong keywords make a dramatic improvement to your presentation that should showcase achievements, qualifications and experiences that support your successes throughout your working career.
You might substitute, for example, revenue growth for bottom line improvement or efficiency and improvement for cost reduction and avoidance.
The potential list of keywords that can be used to create a professional image is very large and the more that you think of them, the easier it will be to incorporate them into your resume cover letters, resumes, thank you letters and other job search activities.
So, after you have worked thorough a listing of your “professional keywords”, you need to closely marry them to your background and simply drop the weaker terms. The most important part of the process is to make sure that these keywords are relevant to your profession. Use of in-appropriate keywords, or overuse of them, could also weaken your resume cover letter so it is important not to go overboard.
If you start researching the most powerful keywords for your profession, you will get the added advantage of educating yourself about the skills, qualifications and experience that is demanded by today’s employers in your particular field.
So, if you need to move away from your core area of experience and branch into a different job field one day, you will be well served by researching the right keywords to help you familiarize yourself with this new area and what is required by the candidate for the particular position.