Very few applicants these days flip open the newspaper and scan through the “S” section for “sales” positions. More likely, they’re plugging specific words—say, “pharmaceutical sales rep in Miami”—into job sites like Monster or general sites like Google.
As an employer, your goal is to appear at the top of those search results. However, many organizations today are writing online job listings that unintentionally limit the number of hits from qualified job-seekers.
Reason: They’re not creating the job ads or job descriptions with the right keywords. Those are words and phrases that candidates most commonly use when searching in a particular industry or position. If the words in your ads are identical or close to what the person is searching for, your job will appear high in the search results.
Here are tips for including keywords that increase the chances that your job listings will rise to the top:
Be specific in the title. Job titles are key because they appear in the browser’s search-result rankings. Select a title that concisely describes the job. Example: A consumer products firm should use the keywords “consumer products sales position” or “sales position—consumer products” instead of “sales position.”
Avoid made-up titles, jargon and abbreviations that are unique to your organization.
And don’t use extravagant, inaccurate titles. Example: A pharmaceutical firm shouldn’t write “Marketing superstar wanted.” Instead say: “pharmaceutical marketing representative wanted.”
Include a specific skill if it’s crucial. Example: “Telemarketing representative—English-Spanish speaker” instead of “bilingual telemarketing representative.”
Gather intelligence. To determine good keywords, ask managers and employees what words they commonly use to describe their jobs. Examine the listings of successful competitors. Read industry websites, blogs and trade publications.
Job description keywords
Mention the full job title at least two or three times in the description. Use abbreviations and acronyms, if applicable, because job-seekers often search using such terms. Examples include “certified nursing assistant (CNA)” and “computer aided design (CAD).” Use the acronym by itself.
Include cities near where the job is located. Reason: Local job-seekers often search by job title and the names of nearby jurisdictions. Example: The description of a Miami-based job might also mention “the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area” or “Fort Lauderdale” because the cities are near each other.
Don’t “stuff” job descriptions with several keywords in each sentence or paragraph. Search engines typically assign lower result rankings to web pages that awkwardly stuff keywords in hopes of rising to top rankings.
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