Keywords for Online Resume Profiles

Keywords Are Focal Points

An article in our local paper Saturday morning about using the right keywords for online resume submission caught my attention. But it left me scratching my head also. A short article that makes several good points, left a void in my thoughts on the subject. Being a Toastmaster, we too focus on correct and innovative word usage in our speeches during delivery to an audience.

The article I read states the 10 most overused (aka blase) Canadian keywords found in online resumes of job seekers. This is according to LinkedIn. For interests sake (and perhaps some Canadiana), these are;

1) extensive experience

2) innovative

3) dynamic

4) motivated

5) team player

6) results oriented

7) fast-paced

8) proven track record

9) multi-tasker

10) entrepreneurial

Keywords, more commonly known as “tags”, are words and phrases you select to attach within your online resume profile or a separate field set aside for keywords. These tags or keywords are used by online search engines ( i.e. google, bing, yahoo, etc) to catalog articles for quick retrieval when someone does an online search using the same keywords found in the online document. For example, I choose “personable” (because that’s what I am). Someone looking to fill a job opening in sales, for example, may enter it in the search criteria, knowing that the position requires  “personable” skills. Lo and behold, your resume pops up because both keywords match. A match is made – you are seen! Bravo !

The article encourages people posting their resumes online to use unique keywords, perhaps even new words you create. And herein lies the problem of this 2-sided exchange. If you choose a very unique word or even create a new “buzzword” such as “main simplifier” instead of “minimalist“, the person looking to fill a job position also has to enter the same word to find you ! See the problem? Use too unique a word or one made up, and your resume may never pop up in a prospective employers search. What are the odds both sides use the same word, if the words are too unique or inventive? Perhaps similar in probability as winning a lottery! Astronomical even !

We also have to remember, not everyone out there is an academic enshrined in proper english vernacular, perhaps bordering on  Shakespearian. So we have to keep in mind to taylor to the lowest common demoninator for the broadest visibility.

Also, some so-called “overused” keywords really do best describe (and always will best describe) the task at hand. So why complicate life by inventing new words to denote the same attribute. For example, “multi-tasking” can be restated in newspeak as (I just invented), “many-handed”, “multi-thought“, “brain-whirr“, and whatever else you choose. Problem is, who is going to be able to dream up and use those same words as search criteria? Choose those and your resume may never be pulled up.

Words of newspeak look ok on marketing lingo or your biz card. It works there because it’s a one sided exchange. Our online resume keyword entry is a two-sided exchange, same as a lock and a key. One has to match the other.

Perhaps this is another example of ideas more commonly found as fodder in high-priced MBA programs. They may be good “food for thought”, pose lively discussions at your neighbhorhood java hut and class discussion forums. But in the real world of getting your resume seen, it may be of little value.

Also, ensure you use these same keywords (or tags) in your LinkedIn profile, as I did in mine.


I am a video marketer, videographer, blogger, story teller - always looking for the next story - YOUR story.I coach and write soft skills articles based on my experience to help you become a better speaker, leader, presenter and influencer.I capture and deliver your story in video so you can best connect with your audience.