Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Top 10 Most Effective Keywords For Resumes And LinkedIn Profiles In 2013

A while back, LinkedIn started sending around noticies to certain users, letting them know that their profiles were among the top 1%, 5% and 10% most-viewed in 2012. Some people derided this as nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. After all, being in the top 10% on a site with 200 million members means that you got the same notice 20 million other people did.

Still, being most viewed on a site like LinkedIn is nothing to sneeze at. After all, if your profile is coming up more often on searches, then you’re more likely to be hired, right? It’s worth bragging about.

So what are some LinkedIn people doing right that you’re not? How do you get into the top 1%? It all comes down to keywords and keyword searches.

A Brief History of Keywords

Keywords have been important to job seekers since the 90s. Various software platforms allowed employers to scan applicants’ paper resumes into databases so they could better sift through the mountain of hopefuls. No more did they have to organize resumes into various piles and flip through them one by one. Now they could search by keyword to drill down to a micro level. A search could be done for “sales”, then “inside sales”, then “inside sales” plus “online chat” to  narrow down the pool of candidates to help fill a specific need.

The rise of the online job boards only increased this practice, as all resumes were essentially now electronic. Today, platforms like LinkedIn have taken keywords to the next level. Your online profile is your online resume, and the keywords on your profile are essential for you turning up when employers search the web. There are all sorts of advanced (but not too complicated) strategies for using keywords to help your profile be more visible. It’s almost like SEO for job seekers.

A lot of job seekers confuse keywords on a resume or profile with meaningless action phrases or power verbs like “self starter” or “detail-oriented.”

This is not a useful keyword strategy.

Your job titles are keywords. You skill sets are keywords. Your experiences are keywords. Your degree, major, specialties and certifications are all keywords.

To be successful, you need to think like a hiring manager thinks when she begins a search. The hiring manager has a specific job to fill, with specific skill sets required. She won’t be searching for a “self starter” or anything vague like that. She’ll be searching for her specific need and then narrowing down from there.

So, she’ll be looking for someone with “oil and gas” experience. Specifically, experience with “shale.” She also needs someone who is experienced in “right-of-way negotiation.” Oh, and the territory that she needs someone to work in is down in Mexico, so she might search “Spanish,” because having someone bilingual would be a big plus.

That’s how keywords work. Having a resume with oil and gas experience is one thing. But having a resume with keywords on it that will trigger searches for specific experience and skill sets is what gets people found and gets people hired.

Want To Get Into The Top 1% Of LinkedIn Users, These Are The Keywords To Use:

So, this whole LinkedIn top percent story got us thinking: what are the most effective, most in-demand resume and profile keywords right now in 2013?

What are the “hot” keywords that will help land you in the LinkedIn top 1%? What are the skill sets that employers are snapping up?

We polled our writers to find out, and based on their experience working with clients across more than 80 different industries, these are the ten hottest keywords we came up with.

Put simply, if you have the following keywords, degrees, job titles or skill sets on your resume or LinkedIn profile, you can expect to come up more often in employer searches:


We’re using Mandarin as a placeholder, because it’s the language employers seem to be looking for the most, but really any language is the most successful keyword on resume across all career fields. There’s almost no job where having a bilingual employee isn’t a bonus. More and more, we’re seeing employers doing keyword searches for multilingual job candidates. You might be a run-of-the-mill salesperson, but if you have mastery of another language on your resume or LinkedIn profile, you’re going to come up in keyword searches more often than you would think. Even something like a simple receptionist profile will come up more often if a phrase like “Spanish” or “Korean” is keyword loaded as well.

The bottom line is, across almost any industry or job niche you can imagine, job candidates with a mastery of other languages on their resume or profile are greatly in demand.

Math, Statistics or Data Analysis

What’s the most popular and in demand major we’re seeing these days? Believe it or not, it’s math. Advanced math. Statistics. Modeling. Economics. Math and Computer Science.
It’s no surprise to anyone that we now live in a world awash in data. It seems to be a major trend across all sorts of industries that businesses are hungry for smart people to help them manage, organize and tap into that data. No longer destined only for academia or research positions, young professionals with math degrees are by far the most successful young job seekers we work with. From Wall Street firms to Silicon Valley blue chips to staid old Fortune 500 conglomerates, corporate America is eager to snap up anyone who can help them use data to transform their business operations.

Supply Chain, Logistics

Possibly related to the previous “data” based keywords, job seekers boasting advanced experience with supply chain management and logistics experience are often the first searched for. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and be more efficient. 

Especially if you can load your resume or profile with industry and scenario-specific logistics keywords, you can expect the headhunters and hiring mangers to come to you.

Social Media

A newer keyword we’re seeing clients have a lot of success with is social media management. Companies and brands are hungry for people that will help them manage and expand their presence in all forms of social media. If the organization you’re applying for is somewhat old school, then a simple proficiency with Facebook, Twitter and the like might be impressive. But those that truly stand out are candidates boasting keywords and proficiency with cutting edge and next wave social media platforms and trends. Either way, if you do profess social media expertise, make sure you have active, public-facing presences on the keywords and platforms you mention. The hiring manager will definitely want to research and see that you’re practicing what you intend to preach about social media.


One keyword that is definitely growing in demand and popularity is telecommuting experience. What once was a workplace luxury you hoped to talk your boss into is now very much an in-demand feature that employers are eager to implement as an efficiency and cost saving measure (Yahoo aside). But employers want experienced telecommuters that they know can be productive without too much training and supervision. There are specific job titles where we are seeing employers keyword search for telecommuting experience first… even before searching for other skill sets.

Keywords 6-10 and the complete article

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