We get a lot of questions about keywords in resumes – how can you use keywords to get past applicant tracking systems, and what words are hiring managers going to respond to most? The answer is in the job posting.
When crafting your resume, use the job posting as your guide by copying some of the keywords into your resume strategically. Think about what the most important things a recruiter might filter for are and really hone in on those.
Start broad, using the job title in the posting. If you are applying for an assistant position, you'll want to have the words assistant or assist in your resume. Similarly, if you’re applying for a manager position, you probably want the words manager or manage in there. Most likely, you'll include these keywords in your past titles and chronology bullets, but if you need to get creative because of a career transition, you could fit these keywords into a professional summary or areas of expertise section. In some cases, you could even put the job title in your header.
Next, you'll want to look at the core skills in the posting. The qualifications listed toward the top of a posting tend to be most important, but keep an eye out for specific skills that might be a requirement. If you see that the company is looking for an Excel expert, spell that out, instead of just listing Microsoft Office. Or, if they need someone with excellent writing skills, make sure you have the word write. Be careful about intangible skills though – if the posting is asking for someone who is motivated, it’s unlikely that they’re going to use "motivated" as a search term. You’ll need to prove you’re motivated by showing how you took initiative on projects in your bullet points.
Additionally, you should only use keywords you can actually back up in an interview. You may not have all the qualifications or meet all the requirements listed in the posting, but don't be tempted to claim them just so your resume doesn't get filtered out! It's okay if you're not an exact match -- either the hiring manager is open to candidates who possess only a majority of the skills, or the position really requires specific knowledge that you won't be able to fake in an interview. You don't want to get caught having lied on your resume.
And remember that getting a resume into a real person’s hands is a far more reliable way to get an interview than by submitting through a job portal. So when using important keywords that you’ve pulled from the job posting, make sure they’ll pop out to a human and not only a machine. Lead your bullet points with the same strong action verbs that have been described, or call attention to them in core skills sections (it's worth repeating: only include tangible skills!). The right keywords are not going to get you the job, but they will help direct the eye of a hiring manager and encourage them to call you in for an interview.
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
As you may know, layoffs happen all the time in entertainment. Even before this Coronavirus mess, Hollywood has been going through a transitional period as companies try to accommodate shifting viewership patterns. But getting laid off is a weird feeling – even if your position was eliminated because of a re-org or something else completely outside of your control (who could have ever predicted one of those things would be a global pandemic?), you still might start to question yourself and whether you were the problem. Why did you get laid off over someone else? But don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s normal for those thoughts to creep into your mind, but they aren’t going to help you get to the next phase of your career. Instead, you’ve got to stay positive and view this layoff event as an opportunity.
Your immediate reaction to a layoff might be extreme anger and sadness, or it may be joy and relief, depending on how you were feeling about your job and your personal financial situation. But even if you are on the anger end of the spectrum, there is always a bright side to a layoff.
Layoffs often happen because the company isn’t doing well. Do you want to be part of a company that’s failing? Of course not! Look at this as an opportunity to find something better, at a company with a more secure future. If the layoffs were the result of a merger, the people who were left behind are about to face a really tough transitional period, usually where they have to take on extra work, reorganize their teams and work cohorts, and adjust to new bosses and protocols. When you get laid off, you avoid all that stress. If you’re lucky enough to get severance, you may even be able to spend time taking care of your own personal needs – do more yoga, hang out with your kids, get a dog, whatever makes you happy. Think of it as an extended vacation! And if you don’t get severance, that’s okay – you can put all your focus into finding a job that makes you happy at a company you are excited to work for.
A layoff gives you an opportunity to reassess your career goals and make changes that you may not have otherwise considered. Maybe you were miserable at your job but couldn’t quit for financial reasons. And while it might suck to go on unemployment for a couple of months, you now have no choice but to find something better. You can put those 40+ hours a week you spent working toward finding something new. Think about what you liked about your previous job and what you’d never want to deal with again, and let that dictate your job search. Research various positions and think carefully about whether you want to continue on the same track you were on. It’s okay to change your mind – if you want to switch roles or even industries, now’s the time!
Another interesting thing that happens after a layoff is that people come out of the woodwork to help you. Let people know about your situation, and you’ll be amazed at all the kind words that come your way. Embrace the fact that people want to help you. Let everyone know what you’re looking for next, and rekindle relationships with contacts that you haven’t caught up with in a while. The outpouring of love and support you’ll feel will inevitably make you feel good about yourself and your work, but it also may lead to new opportunities.
That's not to say you can't, won't, or shouldn't feel any bitterness at all -- even if you're happy about your new trajectory, there's still a sting that comes with the change. You are 100% entitled to have whatever feeling that comes to you about your old company. But you must be careful how you address it in an interview. You don’t need to lie and say that everything was wonderful, but try to keep the conversation positive and focused on the future as much as possible instead of giving into the temptation to gossip. It’s an easy trap to fall into, so you have to be extra mindful about how you’re speaking about your former employer.
Ultimately, what happens after your layoff depends on how you handle yourself, and it all comes down to how you frame the situation mentally. If a layoff is something that you’ve gone through recently, we say CONGRATULATIONS! Look at this as an opportunity, not a setback. You’re in control of what’s next, and we’re sure whatever that is going to be great!
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Adulting means you need a job! We were thrilled to offer advice to emerging professionals -- check out the guest blog we wrote for Adulting with Jane for 5 tips for writing a great resume and hear us recount some resume dos and don'ts on the How Did I Get This Far? poducast