Searchable Résumés

Using Key Words To Make Your Résumé Searchable

The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a résumé that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it’s a story about who you want to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

KeyWordSearch-JobSearchingCoachWe live in an electronic age, and you need to make the most of it by…

Using Key Words

Now that you have written a draft of your résumé, it’s important to check to be sure you have the key words appropriate to your field and industry.

Key words are those terms commonly used in your field. They describe the work you do, and the skills, processes, or tools you use to get it done.

To get some ideas of key words in your field and industry, here are a few assignments. Fill in the placeholders in each search entry with your specific information.

Look at a minimum of 10 ads and identify repeated terms for work performed in each of the four categories that follow:

  1. Type the following search string in your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo): <job target> jobs in <city, state>.
    • Example: instructional design jobs in Seattle, WA.
  2. Type the following search string in your favorite search engine: <job target> job descriptions.
    • Example: Instructional Design job descriptions.
  3. Type the following search string in your favorite search engine: competencies for <job target>.
    • Example: competencies for Instructional Designers.
  4. Type the following search string in your favorite search engine: <job target> résumés.
    • Example: Instructional Design résumés.

Combine all the repeated terms you find, and you’ll have an excellent list of key words for your job target. (My book, The Christian Job Search Manual” offers worksheets that will help you complete this assignment.)

Examine the list you created, and cross out any key words that don’t apply to you.

For example, if you were an Instructional Designer, and found that InDesign was a tool often used to develop training courseware, and consequently a key word, but you don’t have experience using this software, you need to cross it out.

ProfessionalGrowth-JobSearchingCoachYou gain additional value from the terms you cross out by using them to create a personal development plan. These terms will show areas in which you can grow professionally.

Examine your résumé to see how many times you used each key word that remains on your list.

If you click Home>Find>Navigation (type in the key word)> and press Enter on your keyboard, Word will list each instance where that word is used in your résumé. (NOTE: This procedure may vary slightly with different versions
of Word). You’ll want all relevant key words used multiple times on your résumé if possible. This may mean you need to tweak some of your accomplishments to be sure you use these key words.

Using word clouds…

ResumeKeyWords-JobSearchingCoachAnother creative way you can check your key words is to create a word cloud with all the text in your résumé. A word cloud depicts word usage graphically with the size of the fonts varying with the frequency each word is used.

There are several websites that provide free applications to create word clouds. and are only a couple. You can use your favorite search engine to find others.

One that I have found especially easy to use is: When you open this site, scroll down a little and you will find a field labeled “Enter a URL below, or paste some text.” All I did was paste a portion of a resume (or the entire thing) and it generates a word cloud that looks like the one above.

To get a good picture of your key words, use the text from your summary statement and your accomplishments. That is what I did for this one for a financial analyst client.

This is an excerpt from my book The Christian Job Search Manual,” click on this link to purchase the book.

If you would like to explore working with a Christian centered Career Coach, Contact me for a no-obligation 60-90 minute job search consultation with America’s Job Searching Coach, or text me at 425-220-0707  and we can discuss your situation, your résumé, what you would like to achieve, and structure your job search to fit your uniqueness.

I am also available to speak to groups.


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