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How to Focus your Job Search

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It’s so easy (relatively speaking) to send your resume to companies, apply for specific jobs online, email your resume to recruiters and sign up at lots of job search sites. Companies like Google and Apple can get hundreds (or more)  of applications for every job posting.  Even if that number is inflated, it is humanly impossible for hiring managers to read every resume received. That’s why most companies these days use a keyword search to narrow down the resumes that are worth reviewing. Companies that depend on recruiters to source candidates can receive 20-30 resumes per job opening. As a hiring manager, it is unlikely that you will read through 30 resumes (let alone hundreds) for any job opportunity.

Two really important “filters” are used to trim the volume of resumes down to a manageable level – qualifications and keyword search. If you fail on either of these points you are unlikely to have your resume seen by the right people (whether you are the right candidate or not). There are other factors to consider as well (spelling errors).  So, what can you do to ensure that your resume stands out from the crowd? How do you get your resume to the top of the list?

Resume Keywords

The sheer volume of resumes sent via the Internet (email or otherwise) forces the use of keywords. The general “guess” is that upwards of 85% of all resumes are searched for keywords. Keywords are used both, on the resumes you submit for specific jobs as well as on resumes you post on job search sites. Keywords vary across job functions and industries, but there are some standard words that are searched on every resume. These are your “action” words, they indicate what you have done (such as managed, implemented, created, completed, etc.). There is a reason they are called “key” words, they will unlock the interview door for you if used correctly.


Assuming your resume makes it through the keyword search, your qualifications (embedded in your experience) are the next filter that will be used. You may be the best at what you do (or have done), but no one will know if your accomplishments are not included in your resume. This includes job titles, certifications and education, professional organizations, and (of course) your experience.

No matter what job you are going for, or what promotion you intend to get, you will need to check that the qualifications you are seeking are specific to that area of work.Click To Tweet

Specific Qualifications

No matter what job you are going for, or what promotion you intend to get, you will need to check that the qualifications you are seeking are specific to that area of work. Depending on what it is that you want to do, it might be easy or not so easy to find relevant qualifications which are going to be helpful for that new job.

One of the most important attributes of good qualifications is that they are specific to the role that you are going for. Ideally, you want to find qualifications that are as specific as possible, as this will ensure that they are much more worthy of your time. If you are unsure about whether or not the qualifications you find are specific enough, it is probably a good idea to check with the employer that you expect to get the new role with. This way, you can put every effort into ensuring that you actually get qualified in as specifically close an area as possible. This is likely to hugely improve your chances of landing the job.

Relevant Experience

There is little point in getting qualified for a job if the qualification you go for is not relevant to that position. It is amazing how often people do this quite accidentally. To avoid this, make sure that you are going for a course that is genuinely useful for the career path you want to trace. If it isn’t, you might have trouble convincing potential employers that it is wholly relevant, and this could cause some problems. The last thing you want is to feel as though you have wasted your time, so make sure that you take a course that is as relevant as possible.

Resume to Referral

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