Posted: 2009-04-02 19:36:07
One of the key underlying technologies for “Web 2.0” (which is just a marketing buzz word; it’s the same web it’s always been) is “search” capabilities. This is the backbone of Google, Windows Live!, Yahoo, etc. To put it simply, it is a combination of character recognition (words and phrases) and indexing on a massive scale.
Understanding how search tools work is one of the keys to any online endeavors such as blogging, selling any sort of product/service, and…job hunting.
Think of the yellow pages and how they are indexed. By topic, then by entry alphabetically. To find what you are looking for, you have to *know* what it is classified under. The one that always annoyed me was that cab companies are listed under “taxi”. If I didn’t know to look under “taxi” I’d never get to the airport!
Now think of using Google. You are looking for something very specific, like a dry cleaner that is environmentally friendly in your area. You start your search a number of ways, like:
Dry cleaner Chicago green
You may get 254 hits across the metro area, and you live in Glen Ellyn. So you change your search to
Dry cleaner Glen Ellyn green
You *could* also do something like
Green dry cleaner 60137
The more creative you get with your searching, the more refined –or broad- your results will be. Most people think in pretty basic terms and get tons of results, then have to look through all them to find what they are looking for.
The way Google and other search engines identify the results of any search is based on the content on the page. The engine searches for keywords, indexes them, and returns them as results. The keywords are called “metadata tags”. (Often if you see a list of terms at the bottom of an article or blog posting, those are tags the author has identified for metadata search tools.)
So from a recruiting perspective, how do we “find” the right candidate? By keyword searching. Usually when we receive a job description, recruiters create a list of keywords that they will use to search for candidates. All major job boards and Applicant Tracking Systems use keyword searching. Here is the *most important* piece of information for the job seeker: these databases return results based on a stack-ranked system. That system ranks *by the number of times the word appears in the profile.* So the old “stick to one page” resume advice isn’t always your best bet.
Like every other profession, some recruiters are good at this aspect of their job, others aren’t. A seasoned recruiter knows how to vary their search based on related terms that may or may not be in the job description. But many don’t have the luxury of experimenting with variety, or don’t know the value of it. So it is very important to make sure your resume, if you are applying for a specific job, is tailored to the job’s keywords. If you are using a general resume on a job board such as Monster or CareerBuilder, keep in mind the keyword stack ranking when you are composing your resume.