Are You Innovative? Think Twice About That Keyword

I live in a world dripping with keywords and phrases.

Actually, we all do. Think the billboard you drive by every morning isn’t precisely written? That Google search you just performed isn’t engineered within an inch of its life?

Everyone knows that advertising and marketing has been turned on its ear in little more than a decade.

Bye bye subscription rates, content is king.

Findability and click-through rates (CTR) long ago hijacked the quest for eyeballs.

The same has become true for résumés, particularly résumés that are first taken for a spin through a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) before ever being seen by a human being.

Without the right mix of keywords, the résumé may never be seen by anyone.

And don’t forget LinkedIn. Without carefully chosen keywords and phrases, you risk being missed in a sea of 150 million users.

But in my practice, I regularly see confusion around keywords.

For example, I regularly ask my clients for the top 8-12 keywords and phrases they think we should build copy around. We use job descriptions to help make the decision, and we revisit the notion throughout the engagement. Clarity comes with revision after revision.

Oddly, no matter the client’s background — no matter his or her skill or seniority — they inevitably come back with first-round words like this:

  • innovative
  • leader
  • experienced
  • seasoned

(The funny thing about using the word “innovative” is that its use is anything but … but that’s a topic for another blog post!) Continue reading

Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

Are keywords making you a liar

Are resume keywords making you a liar?

About two years ago, an executive client looked over my desk, pointed to a job description, and asked, “Jared, what do you think of these keywords?”

I said, “Do you have those skills?” (We’d been at this a while.)

“No,” he said.

“Well, then we can’t include them,” I replied.

It seems we’ve all fallen so concerned (perhaps rightly) with building our websites, blogs, and career copy around keywords and phrases, that we might have lost our collective sensibilities!

Why would an otherwise smart professional ask such an apparently silly question?

Truth is, my client hadn’t lost his mind. When you’re in the thick of writing a really great résumé or LinkedIn summary—or any other chunk of career copy—it’s hard to strike a balance between pushing the envelope and totally losing sight of the big picture, while making sure to clear today’s technology hurdles.

Trouble is, if you’re stretching the truth—or straight up lying—you’re not representing yourself authentically. Plus, the blowback can more than chafe. Who can forget this unfortunate-ness?

The lesson? Next time you’re writing your résumé, optimize the heck out of it. Include the right keywords and phrases. Just don’t forget to take a step back every now and then to be sure you’re including keywords and phrases that are truly yours.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Call: 415-397-6640

3 Ways to Get More Job Search Attention

Job seekers twenty years ago made follow-up phone calls to potential employers after responding to advertised positions.

Do that today and you’re likely to be ignored.

A common job seeker frustration is not hearing back from a company you’re interested in, especially when it sounds like a perfect fit.

Improve your odds. Get a phone call by writing to the expectations of your reader. Take a moment to think about what the recipient wants to see on your résumé, then make their dreams come true. If your background is a fit, show them why and how.

Wondering how to get the attention of potential employers?  Continue reading