Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 14th 2017 Contents B5
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 guardian.co.tt
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Keyword Secrets to Get Your Resume Noticed
No recruiter ever searches a resume database
or reads resumes for the fun of it.
Whenever they search for resumes, job titles and
skill sets from the formal Job Description make up
their primary search terms. Here are five secrets that
will dramatically improve your resume's results.
REWARDS FOR KEYWORD PLACEMENT
As much as possible, front-load crucial keywords
at the beginning of your resume.
Resume database search algorithms reward words
near the top of a document, because they are seen to
help determine a document's relevance. This affects
the discoverability of your resume.
It also affects the speed with which your resume
communicates critical skills to a knowledgeable
A recent retinal-scan study showed that once a
resume has been pulled from a resume database,
recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on a first-
Consequently, we continue to recommend a Target
Job Title followed by a Performance Summary of no
more than six lines.
This Performance Summary focuses
on the abilities you bring to the target
job. In turn, this focused opening to
your resume should be followed with
a Professional Skills section that lists
the skills required by your target job.
This gives a recruiter plenty of time to
see the skills you bring to the table in
that first six-second scan.
REWARDS FOR KEYWORD FRE-
A resume database search first finds
all resumes with even just one of the
The search engine next prioritizes
those key search terms based on their
proximity to the top of the document
and then on their frequency of use
throughout the document.
A Professional Skills section near the
top of your resume, her benefits.
REWARDS FOR KEYWORD PRI-
Ultimately, your resume will be read
by a hiring manager who really knows
what's a "must have" and what's a "nice
to have" in this job.
The easiest way to explain this is
with an example. Awhile back, we did
a resume for a dental assistant (it's a job
that sadly we have both had exposure
to) and she gave us a list of the impor-
tant technical skills of her job.
We put her list of skills into three
columns (for visual accessibility) and
gave it a Professional Skills heading.
Then something jumped out at me: her
list started with "Teeth whitening" and
ended with "Four-handed dentistry."
What was so terrible about this? In
the West, we read from left to right
and top to bottom, so common sense
says that the most important skills
for a job should come before the less
important skills. We immediately
prioritized her skills based on their
importance to the deliverables of the
job; so that "Four-handed dentistry"
came first and 'Teeth whitening" came
just about last.
By prioritizing skills you are subtly
telling the hiring manager, that you
have a firm grasp of the relative im-
portance of the necessary skills of your
work. This adds to the clear focus and
power of the opening first half page of
your resume that will show that:
• Your skills backs up your statements of ability
• Your use of prioritization shows your understand-
ing of the relative importance of the component
parts of the job.
REWARDS OF RECOGNIZING THE SIX-SEC-
The result of following these directions is that in
the first half page of your resume, and well within
the time constraints of a recruiter's six second scan
you have told a clear and concise story of your ability
to do the job, and gone a long way towards earning
your place on the short list of candidates who will be
brought in for interview.
REWARDS FOR KEYWORD REPETITION IN
The first half page of your resume is built to make
your resume discoverable in database searches and
pass the six-second scan test. The balance of your
resume needs to support these claims and put them
in context for a discerning hiring manager.
A step that most resume writers forget is to repeat
the skills employers see as critical within the con-
text of all the jobs in which you have applied them.
Repeating your relevant professional skills like this
helps you in two ways:
It helps the hiring manager see those skills in con-
text, and that helps her see a more complete picture
of the professional you.
It increases the frequency of keywords, and as a
result the discoverability of the resume.
GET INSIDE YOUR CUSTOMER'S HEAD
Look into your work history from the POV of an
employer who wants to fill a specific job. Build your re-
sume around the skills you have to make you compet-
itive for the position. And remember that where and
how you place this information is relevant to both the
computers and the people who will be evaluating it.
There are numerous resources
onJob-Hunt.org and across the
Internet to aid your research of
companies. You know where to
look, but do you know what data is
important to know? More impor-
tantly, if you know why you need
the data, you can put it into per-
spective and use the data wisely.
Collecting Company Intelli-
The primary objectives of com-
pany research are to:
• Determine if this is a company
where you want to commit the
next few years.
• Match your knowledge and
talents with the needs of a
• Increase your interest and
enthusiasm for the company.
• Demonstrate your knowledge
of the company, interest in the
company, and the value you
would bring to this company.
What you need to know:
Below is a checklist of items to
research listed by phases in the job
search process. Each candidate is
different, so you may need to know
information not listed below.
Don't stop with this data. Use it
as a springboard to learn as much
as you can about the company.
For example, as you search news
about the industry and the com-
pany, it will likely lead you to more
Level One: Before You Send Your
• Company’s industry
• Services or products of com-
• Company’s primary market
• Company leaders (CEO, CFO,
• Manager responsible for hiring
Level Two: Before the Interview
• Company structure
• Company culture
• Top clients
• Trends in industry
• Company’s successes, misses,
and "headlines" over recent
Level Three: Before You Accept
• Financial status
• Biggest challenge that the
company faces, biggest chal-
lenge of department or divi-
• Advancement and succession
• Opportunities for training,
development, and promotion
• Organization’s chief values/
This intelligence you gather will
help you shine in the interview.
In past years, I might have said
that you may be the one in four
candidates that make the effort
to conduct research. In today's
challenging market, all the sav-
vy candidates do their research.
Today, my advice is, don't be the
one that does NOT do the neces-
Is this employer
a good fit for you?
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