Imagine if you will, your resume is finished, looking as if it were written on parchment paper in gold leaf, and I tell you to take it, roll it up, put it into an old wine bottle and toss it into the sea. Maybe some of you would expect that from me, but more to the point, resumes alone are about as likely to be found by that one special person as that wine bottle bobbing around the surf.
Self-marketing tip: In poor marketing, actions are put into place without any thought about goals and strategy. In average marketing, generic actions are put into place as a one-size-fits all solution. In good marketing, no actions take place before you have a goal and a strategy. So before we get that resume “finished” you need to know what jobs you want (your goal) and how best to get them (your strategy). (See my previous article on what goes into a resume).
Let’s suppose you want to become a financial analyst. You have a resume ready and maybe it’s tremendously impressive but even within industries, hiring trends tend to change with the wind and what was in demand last year might already be SO last year. So do your research and be current.
To have your resume become known to the search engines that employers use and more importantly to make sure that when it is found it hits all the right “keys” and gets you an interview you will need to insert certain key words, which are simply words that the industry has deemed important and that allow your resume to be seen as “sufficiently qualified”. To find keywords go to www.indeed.com again and take a look at your competition. See words that are used over and over and how they are used.
Many keywords come in one of a few categories:
Names of industry-specific tools or knowledge
Special industry descriptors or value items
Names of software or hardware that one needs training to utilize
Special certifications that are a pre-requisite
To show you an easy example if I were to make a bartending resume some keywords I might use would be: “wine knowledge,” “customer service,” and “T.I.P.S. Certification.”
The next thing to pay close attention to is the conversion of your past experience descriptions into strong verb terms and then if possible, quantifying it. Once again I say this with the caveat that it never implies anything untrue. By this I simply mean taking a term like “Helped customer sales for four months” and changing it to a phrase like: “Drove sales and customer service issues to an 8% increase in first quarter.” Make the verb important, at least as important as you were to the process. One thing I notice is that people tend to under-sell themselves and often have no idea that they are doing so. If you were part of a team that helped increase sales, then say it. If you can put a number on it, then do so, just make sure that you can also discuss it in an interview and that you haven’t misled anyone.
OK, great. Take a deep breath; this stuff is hard. Give yourself some credit. If you want to have a little fun with it, then visit www.rezscore.com a site that uses metrics measuring such things as keywords and gives you an assessment of the quality of your resume. Just promise me you won’t take it too seriously?
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.