Keywords for Job Applications

Beating scanning software

Get past the machine to get your resume noticed

How to get noticed and get results

At some point as a job applicant you will be subject to software that scans your resume and application for keywords. It becomes increasingly likely that the first stage of many applications for job seekers will not be assessed by a person. A client came to us recently after submitting an application for an Operator in the mining sector. They scraped in just before the position was closed early. Two thousand people had applied, overwhelming the agency and forcing the early closure of the vacancy. In this situation there is no doubt the agency would use software to scan the applications for keywords before a person actually reviewed the material.

This process throws another challenge at the job seeker when already faced with the task of preparing a professional resume, competing in a tight job market and balancing job searching while holding down a job. The challenge now is to produce a high quality professional resume that is not stuffed with keywords, makes sense and can be read by a person.

What is important for your industry?

For the majority of jobseekers you already know the answer to this question.  You are in the industry, understand the requirement and therefore know what a potential employer is looking for. Yet so many fail to put this is their resume.  Let’s take the operator applying to the mining sector. In this situation we would look at a number of key areas including safety, actual plant and equipment experience and basic maintenance skills. Fail to mention these keywords and you may fall short. Also don’t be shy in naming the mines you worked at.

Study the Advertisement

The actual ad will also provide vital information on the keywords to include in your resume. Look for the name of equipment, location, rosters, safety information and general company information. Use this as a reference when structuring your resume.

Let’s get practical

How do you do it? Writing a resume can be challenging without the added pressure of competing with thousands of people and beating a computer to get an interview. Follow these simple steps to get ahead:

Skills Summary: Don’t be afraid to get technical. Start with an opening skills summary that states your technical skills using five or six clear statements. If you are an Operator in the mining sector mention the plant, how you used the plant i.e. construction of tailings dams, roads etc. and safety procedures you undertook such as take five, prestart checks and toolbox talks. Make a number of sections so that you can also include personal skills. There are many operators in the mining sector but demonstrating an attitude of learning and team work will make you more attractive.

Training: Include a page of training with the courses and internal training you have done relevant to your position. Even if it is internal and only relevant to a specific site it shows that you can undertake training, have competencies that could be relevant to another site and that you have initiative.

Duty statements: A classic mistake is to assume that an employer knows you or your current responsibilities based on a job title. Include statements that really show what you can do.  Look for duties that are difficult. A recent client came to us with the ability to undertake final trim grading within 5mm, not an easy task and one that makes him stand out from the crowd. This section is the most important to demonstrate capability. Actions speak louder than words, here is one we prepared earlier:

  • Operate a wide range of plant and equipment, including haul trucks, integrated tool carriers and loaders
  • Manage the transportation and removal of material according to requirements
  • Load and unload haul trucks as required
  • Undertake pre-start safety checks on all equipment
  • Participate in toolbox talks to discuss safety and operational issues

Using relevant, clear and targeted terminology will increase your chances of success, beating the software programs and placing your resume in front of a real person.

Want us to prepare a resume for you, go here.

Best of luck with your application.

John Matthews