Mark and I keep talking about starting a column called ‘Stupid Advice We Read’. It came up yet again, when I read in an article in Businessweek: “Once a resume is created, job seekers can submit hundereds of applications online with zero or minimal extra cost. The problem is that companies have responded with crude filtering devices, so many of those resumes remain unread. “Technology allows [companies] to search for keywords. And if applicants don’t use the right keyword in their resume, they won’t make the list”.
This is stupid. First, the filtering devices are bad. That’s true. So, as a recruiter, you leave the search criteria open and scan 400 or more resumes looking for what you want. And, when you’ve had some practice, you can do that pretty quickly and pretty accurately. So resumes aren’t not being read for that reason.
Second, the keywords you use are pretty generic. If you’re a project manager and your resume doesn’t say ‘project manager’ or ‘project management’ somewhere on it, then yes, you need to think about keywords – but how many does that apply to? Less than 0.01% I’d guess. If you’re an Oracle 9i guy you have ‘Oracle 9i’ on your resume. You have to, in order to describe what you do.
Instead of worrying about keywords and recruiter searches, create a great resume which showcases what you do and how well you do it. You’ll be found. Use the extra time and energy to engage with your network. They are the people most likely to help you find a job anyway.