Did you know that when resumes are submitted to corporations or job boards, they are then filtered by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)? Did you also know that hiring authorities use keywords when searching for potential candidates on LinkedIn? For these reasons, it is imperative you optimize your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Optimization defined
Optimization is “The process of choosing targeted keyword phrases related to a site, and ensuring that the site places well when those keyword phrases are part of a Web search”.

ATS looks for key words to decide which resumes should get routed to a recruiting or hiring manager for further review.  And even though one can never be certain how an ATS system will treat their resume, in theory, the best optimized resumes should bring your resume toward the front of the pack.

LinkedIn advanced searches follow the same premise.  If your profile is optimized with keywords that reflect your area of professional expertise, your industry and experience, a hiring authority will find you on the first few pages of the LinkedIn results.

Identifying Keywords
Two readily available resources for keyword identification are job descriptions and LinkedIn User Profiles.

It’s no secret that your resume should be tailored to the opportunity being pursued.  Read through the job description and highlight all words that apply to your background, experience and education and industry.  Then, tailor your resume to incorporate those words. Here’s a little tip: use keywords more than once, and use keyword phrases, too. This will improve your rank in ATS and LinkedIn search results.

Keywords Example
Say you work as a Quality Manager in the beverage industry, and you have significant experience in organic tea distribution.  The company you work at specializes in green tea, herbal tea and black tea.  You were responsible for the implementation of the company’s Total Quality Management program. You are applying for a new position at a similar company.

The job description uses the words “organic tea”, “distribution”,  “green tea”, “herbal tea”, “black tea”, “Quality Manager”,  “Total Quality Management” , “lead” and “direct”. You would want to incorporate these keywords into your resume, example:   I am Quality Manager at a wholesale organic tea distribution company specializing in green tea, herbal tea and black tea. I am responsible for providing leadership and overall direction to the facility’s Total Quality Management program.

Next, hone your LinkedIn profile.  Currently, LinkedIn scans the following categories:

  1. Professional Headline
  2. Titles
  3. Specialties
  4. Industries

A simple audit will let you see which keywords bring your profile to the first few pages of a search. Do this by:

  • Choose “People” from the drop down menu (left of “search” box); Click “Advanced”
  • Enter a keyword or keywords associated with your targeted position. Example: Quality Manager, organic tea
  • Select t an industry or industries that apply to you. Understand the broader you make your search the lower your ranking will be
  • Now hit search. Can you find yourself in the first few pages of the LinkedIn results? If not, recruiters aren’t either

Spend some time reviewing the LinkedIn profiles from your search. Identify keywords these people used and incorporate relevant words into your profile.

 

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