Why “Buzzwords” are Necessary in a Job Search


By Adrienne Tom.

Every year articles circulate on the topic of  “the year’s most overused buzzwords,” cautioning us on the most widely used keywords in resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Yet not all buzzwords are bad.

Think about it – most buzzwords are born from employers’ requirements and job postings. If a company is seeking someone who is “effective, driven, or innovative” and you avoid these words in your career communications, it can be risky. Despite the urge to market yourself uniquely, you have to remember that the majority of major organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan submitted applications. If you upload your resume to a company’s website there is a very good chance that your resume is being scanned by ATS for select keywords and key phrases. Although you will never know exactly what each ATS is programmed to search for, a good guess would be the keywords from the job posting you are targeting. Without select keywords your resume may be screened out – just like that.

Similarly, recruiters conduct keyword searches on LinkedIn to locate best matched professionals. If a recruiter is seeking a professional that is “creative, strategic, and dynamic” they don’t care if these words are deemed overused, so long as job seekers can support them. Note the word “support” here. Using buzzwords alone adds little to no value, but supporting these skills with notable achievements and results can help you stand out. Ultimately, you must provide the proof of these keywords to be taken seriously. A good balance of buzzwords and skill demonstration (results) can increase your chances of getting found and raise your chances of being approached, interviewed, or offered a job.

Avoiding buzzwords in your resume or LinkedIn profile is likely neither possible nor practical, but they should still be chosen with care. Select keywords that match your targeted industry and always back up skills with proof of results.

Adrienne Tom is a Master Certified Resume Strategist, and holds both the Certified Career Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist designationsFind out how you can earn your CPC Certifications.

Source: Career Impressions

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