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Ask Amy | The One About The Keywords

Every Wednesday I give advice to an anonymous reader about a sticky professional situation they're currently in.

Do you need advice from Amy? Submit using the button below!

This week our reader is wondering how to choose keywords.

"I do not know how to choose the right keywords from the job description. I end up having a long list of keywords... I want to know what kind of keywords would you as a recruiter choose from a job description while selecting a resume on the ATS. Do recruiters also choose soft skills apart from hard skills? Do recruiters also search their own keywords which they think are important and do not entirely utilize the job description for keywords."

This is such a great question for jobseekers to understand, and it goes deep, but I'll make this as short and sweet as possible!

First of all, in some job descriptions, the writer makes it very clear if there are any particular skills or technology stacks they are wanting to see. For example, "We are looking for someone with at least two years of UKG experience." Thank you to anyone who writes job posts like this, no beating around the bush here!

But what about job descriptions that aren't so straightforward? Sometimes it's hard to tell what they really want. In this situation I would try to discern what the positions goal is in the company and which skills and technology best enable someone to achieve that goal. Choose the most important 3-6 keywords.

Sometimes recruiters get special orders from their clients. My team currently has a frontend developer role open. There's a lot of different languages, environments, and frameworks a developer can list in their skills section if they have experience with them. Our client specifically wants people with good angular.js experience, so that's the main keyword we are looking for in this search.

As for soft skills, this is going to depend on the jobs seniority as well as the job itself! An entry or mid-level business development job might call for more soft skills, but once a business development rep gets to be high level their achievements and numbers will speak for themself. See if the job even mentions soft skills, if not, leave them out.

Hopefully this helps, if there are any further questions drop them in the comments!

Do you need advice from Amy? Submit using the button below!

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