A primary method of today’s job search is listing your resume on the major job boards or industry-specific employment boards on the Internet. Recruiters use these databases plus their own in-house databases to search out and track potential candidates. The largest job boards boast thousands and millions of resumes in their databases, searchable by employers with the budget to pay for the privilege. But does the sheer size of the pool of resumes make it more difficult to compete?
To be competitive with other candidates on the online job boards, it is imperative that your resume be rich in the keywords and specific information that will identify your resume as a top contender. In the early days of online job search, most resume experts recommended a keyword section at the top of the resume that was chock-full of the words that would get you noticed. This early technique was necessary because, at the time, the databases would only search the top few lines of a document rather than the entire document. That changed as technology changed and evolved. Now keyword sections are not necessary but that does not mean a keyword-rich document is not important to online success.
It is important to have specific keywords in your resume. If your job is one that has a generic title or is referred to by different titles depending on the employer, it is important to get as many of the possible job titles in the resume as possible. For example, a computer programmer may be called a software programmer, a software analyst, a software developer, a software engineer, or a software architect. The job function may be the same or similar across different companies but the title may differ. A good, keyword-rich resume will include as many of these terms as possible while maintaining accuracy and readability.
Readability is a fine line to walk when writing for keyword richness. It is necessary to weave into the content as many targeted keywords as possible while keeping the document readable and clear. Longer length of a resume that is used for online database job search can actually be a benefit to winning better search placement. A longer resume provides more opportunity for keyword use than a short resume. Finally, there is a reason to nail the lid shut on the coffin of the old “one page resume rule”!
Resumes that are evenly weighted in nouns also fare better in online databases. Most recruiters and hiring managers search on nouns rather than verbs. Think about your own searches online for various subjects. Most of the time you enter a noun or noun phrase rather than a verb or verb phrase. Yet, a powerfully written resume is usually written in the active voice using very strong verbs that communicate action. A good resume that will achieve success online will have both strong verbs and good noun content.
If you want to find a job locally and you are going to use an online database, make sure you include your town and state in the header of your resume. Many recruiters will look for candidates in the local areas near the employer first so a search may consist of not only functional words but also town names, state names, or even ZIP codes. If you are seeking a job in a different but specific geographical place, it may be beneficial to mention that in the summarizing section of the resume.
Remember that a computer–a machine–will be reading your resume before a human will. It is vital to make sure the computer picks it out of the huge pool of candidates so the human will even get a chance to see it. A great resume (like a Career-Resumes® resume) is designed with both audiences in mind.