Recruiting Blog

Applying Keyword Research To Improve Your Chances Of Landing A Job.

Keyword research is one of the fundamentals of successful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click) campaigns. Proper keywords help web pages rank higher with search engines, which assists marketers in better attracting customers.

Job seekers also can benefit from this practice. By uncovering those keywords that are most relevant to your desired hiring companies and including them in all your communications and content (e.g. resume, online profile, personal blog and online chats), you will greatly enhance your chances of being hired.

Choosing the right keywords is all about identifying whom your target audience is, what their expectations are in finding you and what words they will input into search engines to find you. It is not about what you think are the best keywords. Instead, it is about what your target audience will actually be using. Therefore, you need to penetrate the minds of the searcher (e.g. hiring company) to uncover what keywords they will likely choose in their process of finding you.

“Unfortunately, most people guess at what keywords they should be known for, which leads to them not being found,” says keyword expert Ron Jones, president of Symetri (http://www.symetri.com) during our recent interview. “Instead you should research what key terms people may be using to find you and then design your content (e.g. personal blog) around those keywords. This will enhance your ability to make a connection between the searcher (e.g. hiring company) and yourself.”

There are many tools one can use to determine optimum keywords for your target audience. They include free tools such as Google Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com). They also include paid tools include WordStream (http://www.wordstream.com), Keyword Discovery (http://www.keyworddiscovery.com) and Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com). Even if you cannot afford the paid tools, most will allow you some free usage.

Having the proper keywords in your content can also be invaluable during your social media discussions. “Commenting in forums and engaging in conversations is a good practice especially if your comments are related to your expertise and you include the appropriate keywords. Then people will start viewing you as an authority in your niche,” shares Mr. Jones.

Another related practice and emerging field is posting personal videos on YouTube. By providing engaging content, hiring companies are likely to seek you out. The caveat is you need to apply keyword research to ensure that your videos have the proper Meta tags and are related to your areas of expertise. Also include keyword phrases that describe what your content is all about.

In summary you should perform keyword research to identify what key terms hiring companies might be using to discover you and then design your content around those keywords. This will enhance your ability to make a connection between yourself and the searcher (i.e. the hiring company). The key is identifying those keywords that you want to be known for and make sure to include those in all your communications including online comments, blogging and your resume.


3 Comments

Mason Holmes

March 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

Dear Scott,

As a fellow grad, I’ve been reviewing some of your comments on the Duke discussion pages.

At a presentation before a Chicago area networking group, someone suggested this approach to key words. Given that many resumes are scanned, it’s suggested putting key words at the bottom of the first page, then selecting “white” for the color of the print. That way the scanner will pick them up, but they won’t show on the printed page.

What’s your opinion of this technique?

Sincerely,

Mason Holmes
Trinity, Class of ’69

Elizabeth

March 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Great tips! Tactic of putting firm’s key words in resume, cover letter, or other material is a different approach. I found really interesting. Thanks, Elizabeth

Dan Fox

March 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Great tip Scott!

This one is right on, along with many of your other suggestions. I find the difficult part is incorporating these keywords without taking them directly off of a job description or website. There is definitely an art to finding the right formula, and the tools mentioned above are a great resource.

Thanks for the tip and keep it up!

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