Keywords are Key to Getting Your Online Resume Read
Donna Cardillo, RN, BS / Verticalnet, Inc.
If you’ve ever posted you resume online, you were probably asked to fill out a section entitled “keywords.” Knowing the right keywords to use can make the difference in your resume being identified for further scrutiny or getting passed over in a sea of data. (See How To Use The Internet In Your Job Search.)
Keywords are the words and phrases a prospective employer might use to search an online resume databank in order to identify candidates that possess certain credentials, skills, and attributes. Many employers and recruiters use a technology called optical character recognition (OCR). This special software scans documents much as an assistant instructed to look for certain words and phrases would. That means, yes, a machine might be the first “person” to read your credentials.
What words should I use?
When choosing keywords, remember to keep it simple. Quality versus quantity counts here. Think of words or phrases that a prospective employer might search for. Read classified ads and notice the words that are commonly listed for the type of position you’re seeking.
Some skills keywords would be: computer skills, management, bilingual/Spanish, multitasking, public speaking, teaching, outside sales, verbal/written communication skills, organizational skills, leadership, training, interpersonal skills, and counseling.
Credentials/experience keywords might include: RN, BSN, nurse practitioner, critical care, I.V. certified, CPR certified, pediatrics, quality improvement, ventilator management, chemotherapy administration, oncology, trauma, clinical research, outside sales, case management, substance abuse, phlebotomy, community outreach, managed care or project management.