Friday, June 8, 2012

Resume Keywords

I haven't said too much about my new job yet.

I am now in the private sector as the Recruitment Team Lead for a large industrial construction company called JV Driver.  The company has 5-6 major construction projects on the go (by major I mean over 500 people on site), a fabrication facility with about 1200 people making pieces for modular construction and putting them together, and a head office with about 300 people working hard to support everyone.  With 5% unemployment and most jobs requiring a specific skill set, this is quite the challenge for a recruiter!

Here is how I find the right person for the job.  And trust me, most corporate recruiters & staffing agencies use this technique too)

So let's say a construction manager calls me and asks to hire someone, say a piping coordinator.  My first question is what will that piping coordinator do. He will likely say the coordinator will issue field installation work packages (FIWP) and  work with the turnover coordinator.

I then go into the resume database and my first thing is to keyword search for FIWP.  Why?  Well, that is a good way to narrow down the 50,000 resumes in our system to the ones that can do the job.

So the lesson for all of you is that it is CRITICAL for you to be specific in your resume.  By specific I mean:

- use specific jargon, like "work packages".  For an administrative assistant, it might be "switchboard" for a book-keeper, it might be "balance sheet", for an drafter it might be "as-built".

- use the specific acronyms.  You noticed I searched for FIWP first.  That is because that is what people who really use them call them.  Here are some examples SAP (a software), EPCM (engineering companies), ATS (the family of softwares recruiters use)

- use client/partner company names.  Sometimes, the easiest fit can be from our competitors or people who have worked on a project.  So if I worked with the Oilers and needed a marketing specialist, I might put in other hockey teams names (Flames) then (marketing) and see what my database matched to.  So, even if you didn't work for the Flames, if you worked with the Flames or use Flames material, you should ensure it is in your resume.

For me that looks like this

- placed over 500 students into summer jobs such as biologist and legal assistants.  Most students came from major universities like the UBC and Carleton and ended up working in 35 federal departments including Environment Canada, Health Canada, and the RCMP.

- use synonyms.  Most of us have employer-specific jargon that does not translate well, say like in the specific database.  Use the most common ones in brackets behind the specific.  So, if you had a custom built HR database, you  might want to say HRMIS (Peoplesoft), since Peoplesoft is universally well know.

There are two main ways to ensure key words are featured in your resume.  One style isto create a keyword section near the beginning of your resume, with about 20 key words (2 rows of 10).  A good idea but I prefer another way.  The second way is to create behavioural-based sentences where there is a description of the specific situation, the specific action that was taken, and the specific result of the actions you took.

Here is an example:

- while on the Horizon project at Suncor, met construction targets by managing over 100 piping spools and issuing 50 FIWP.

Did anyone notice that I didn't advertise first?  

The lesson there is when you apply, even to a specific job, have in mind that your resume is usually going into a database for future use.  So don't just try to win that job, put your best foot forward for all jobs in that company.  More on that in a later blog

Have a good weekend

1 comment: