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Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

NO – that is the long and short of it.

Recruiters – agency or in-house all use key words and search terms when sourcing for resumes. Where are they looking these days? Beyond Careerbuilder, Monster and the industry specific job boards you are posting, we are also looking at Indeed (yes you can post your resume to Indeed), LinkedIn, Google and Google+, Facebook Branch Out, the list goes on and on. So first be sure that you are present and accounted for on all of the sites. Next, you need to really look strongly at your resume. This can be very overwhelming, I know. I have hundreds of tips and suggestions for resume but for this we are going to stick to key words and search terms.

There are lots of posts on this topic and you should by now understand that recruiters and hiring managers use similar search technology (that is more sophisticated) that you might use to find a fine dining restaurant in Seattle that is kid friendly and has a vegan menu. The point is that we are looking for is something very specific and with some work and adjustments in our search can typically find what we are looking for whether it is a restaurant or a SVP of Sales in Finance or an Administrative Assistant with Direct Marketing experience.

The key is to review job descriptions that you find yourself qualified for, don’t worry if the company, location or compensation are right, just look for well detailed job descriptions for which you are qualified and review them for key words. I will use what would appear to be a very simple job title, Administrative Assistant, which returned 44k results on Indeed. Just by looking at job titles some stand out to me that you want review and be sure you have in your resume right away. If they don’t apply, please don’t compromise your integrity by adding them.

Key word examples for Administrative Assistant:

  • Titles: Executive, Senior, International, Global, Operations Coordinator, Support
  • Tasks/Skills: Travel Arrangements, Organization, Calender Management, Correspondence, Marketing, Bookkeeping, Order Supplies, Inventory Management, Planning, Meeting Set up, Virtual Meetings, Coordination, Proposals, Call Routing, Filing
  • Software: Word, Excel, Go2Meeting, Visio, Outlook, HTML
  • Industry Specific Titles/Software/Tasks/Certificates: Be sure to use the acronym and the spelled out versions of certificates and programs in your resume. Are you a legal secretary and have your ALS be sure to write it out as well. If you have a customized software system put the description in parenthesis after the title of it, example: Bullhorn (applicant tracking system)

When you are reviewing the descriptions and relaying the information back to your resume be clear and quick to the point. Don’t use an excessive amount of wordy sentences. Be sure that your resume is something that can be skimmed over quickly and has the key points requested in most descriptions. If you are applying for an industry specific position such as legal, medical/healthcare, IT, manufacturing, accounting/finance be sure and add industry specific key words and details at minimum in your objective or purpose statements.

TIP: The more key words you have that match our search string the higher to the top of the list you will appear!

image borrowed from Wiley

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Make One Goal

We love lists, lots of them but it has been a bit overwhelming lately. What I ask is for you to set one goal today. Something that you can complete or make a strong movement towards by Friday.

If your goal is to find a job here are some ideas:

  • Apply to 3 jobs that I rate an 8 of 10 or higher that my skills and experience match 85% or more to
  • Research 3 companies, write down 3 facts that I can turn in to impact statements and find 2 connections and request connections
  • Have lunch with your mentor, job coach or other support person
  • Attend a networking event
Goal: Get promoted at work:
  • Assist a struggling co-worker with what they are working on
  • Email your boss bulleted ideas you have been brainstorming re: saving the company $ or improving a process (Thursday is a good day for this)
  • Ask questions to help you learn more about new aspects of the business
  • Excel in your own area of expertise
Motivate your team:
  • 1/2 day impromptu day out of the office to brainstorm a problem, create think tank teams
  • run a one day contest and the winner comes in late Monday or goes home early Friday
  • Volunteer: collect coats, hats, gloves by Friday and go as a group to drop them off to an organization in need
  • order out, get sandwiches, etc… and go to the park for a late lunch maybe even a pick up game of kickball?
  • go visit clients, send people who don’t typically get to get out with your standard sales people
There are lots more but this should get you started!

Have You Automated Your Job Search Too Much

Have You Automated Your Job Search Too Much

We have the ability to get all kinds of jobs emailed to us daily or weekly from places like Careerbuilder, Monster, Flip Dog, and Indeed, but my question is are you even looking at these and responding appropriately?



Why? Because completing the application is only 1 part of the process. Let me refresh your memory:

  1. Find a job you are interested in applying for.
  2. Research via LinkedIn & the web more information about the company, department & HR
  3. Review your resume against the job description and be sure that at least 4-5 of the key points of the description match your resume. If not add them in (if you have the skills & experience)
  4. Be sure that you have the minimum qualifications that they are asking for
  5. Take the key points & any qualifications you have above the minimum and compose a cover letter that includes one or 2 fast facts from the research you did as to why this is a good fit for you & vice versa.
  6. Send resume & cover letter per their request method
  7. Follow up in one week with a voicemail or email stating the date you sent your application/resume, your x years experience and that fast fact you included in your resume. Keep your voicemail to under 60 seconds and include your phone number.
  8. Connect with the hiring manager or HR professional on LinkedIn and be sure to point out that they can get a sneak peak at your references on LinkedIn if they would like.
Phew… See, I kept it under 10 but it is a lot of work. This is for every job that you are truly interested in getting an interview with. I know it is overwhelming and you are tired of getting your hopes up just to loose out in the final interview stages to another candidate. If you are getting calls for interviews and making it that far it is purely a matter of fit for that particular company which you cannot take personally. If you are making it to second round, you are doing all the right things, I promise or they wouldn’t have called you back after they saw your resume or after the phone interview or after the first face2face.
Don’t just rely on exchanging emails with your Smartphone, one out of 1,000 jobs are most likely gotten this way (I just made that number up but I really think it is true).

Back to School Time: Out of Work By Choice or By Chance, Lessons for You

I must be in teacher mode this week, maybe it is all of the tax commercials and back to school supplies?

I was reading a post the other day from a colleague of mine, Hannah Morgan the Career Sherpa, where I was nodding in agreement the entire post. She was writing about pushing forward even though it is so hard to do and that life is about simple choices. That there is a grieving process that happens when you loose your job, even if it is by choice. I chose to leave my job for a chance at love and a different lifestyle and it was difficult but you have to be disciplined. Was it hard to give up networking several times a week, volunteering with a wonderful group of HR professionals, making change happen, creating connections? YES! Working 65+ hours a week, being on call at a moments notice, putting out fires? sometimes…

When you are out of work, if you were fired or downsized, people look at you and feel guilty for having a job, they also don’t really know what it is like to be out of work or to look for a job. My biggest, most important piece of advice I ever gave anyone, especially those who were working and looking to leave, was that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. This for you right now might mean taking or staying in some “mediocre, entry level, I would never do that” (your thoughts, not mine) job.


  1. You dress better (even if you work in fast food, you are in a uniform that is clean when you start)
  2. You are naturally more engaged in the outside world (you have no choice you are in it and not held up in your house)
  3. You have things to talk about with your friends, family and your significant other beyond your search
  4. You HAVE confidence even if you aren’t in your field of choice, you gain confidence because you are able to contribute
  5. You are forced to manage your time again, which means you prioritize, which means you are thinking like a business person
  1. The day gets ahead of you. It gets ahead of all of us, but you are on a timeline.
  2. You have household chores to accomplish and job search work. You need to split your time appropriately
  3. Schedule free time for you, you’ll feel less guilty if it is planned and won’t steal it from the time that you should be spending on job search (or chores)
  4. Get outside. Now is a great time of year to go to the farmers market as part of your grocery shopping. Weed your yard. Just breath some clean air and be grateful for your day.
  5. Do something athletic every day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Yoga, Basketball, a walk around the block (at least 1 mile).
  6. Complete #5 by 9am (that means starting no later than 8:15am)
  7. Research 5 companies every week that are within 1 hour of your current place of residence
There is so much great advice out there for you, but you are the only person who can put it into action, so go do something!
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