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How Recruiters Use Keywords to Find Candidates


The technology in our amazing virtual world has now come to play into the world of recruiting. Most recruiters for large corporations are using software application programs such as TALEO. Taleo, filters every candidate that applies for a position, sorts the applicants, ranking them, giving a hierarchy of qualification matches resulting in a pre-sorted list for the recruiter to then begin their search. Do you know what filter type programs like Taleo is using? You guessed it – Keywords.

“The recruiter can tell the software what keywords to look for.”

The program will automatically filter, sort and rank the candidates for the recruiter cross-referencing words from the job requisition to the applicant’s resume and cover letter… Can you imagine how helpful this information can be to YOU, the job seeker!? Take a step back and think about the recruiter. You can imagine how a system such as this would save a recruiter time and energy. The average recruiter has 20-25 job requisitions at a time and if only 20 people applied to those 25 job openings, that would be 500 resumes, cover letters and emails to sort through – in one week! This isn’t even probable, let alone possible! Having an application tracking system pulling keywords out in order to present the recruiter the top percentage of qualified candidates for the position, is an immense time-saver. The system pulls keywords from the applicant’s cover Letter, resume’ as well any content from an email or additional comments from the program which is what electronically sent


Now that you know a recruiter won’t, and honestly cannot, look at every single resume that crosses their desk, you know your LinkedIn profile coupled with your resume and cover letter has the best chance for bringing you success. When these pieces match keywords and qualifications for or requirements from the Job Requisition. Maven, an IT staffing company in Ohio offers this helpful tip to job-seekers. “It is important not to stretch the truth, or be deceitful in any way, but editing your LinkedIn profile to showcase more consistently your qualifications for a position you’re seeking is smart! Not only is it going to have the recruiter’s eyes on your resume, but it is going to showcase your talent.”  Remember, application tracking systems are placing all applicants in a percentage of where they fall as far as a match to those keywords. Jane D. is at a 90% match, and Jennifer L. is at an 85% match, etc. Recruiters who are receiving a lot of applications don’t go beyond an 80- 90% match.

Not All Resumes are viewed

Everyone who submits their resume isn’t getting looked at. It is not at all that the individual is not a qualified person to fill the job. There is some automation on the side of the recruiter to help fill the pipeline because there is so much volume. It weeds out the people that on paper, are matching what the recruiter is looking for. Maven also informs those applying to “Keep in mind, most recruiters aren’t typically measured by the quality of hire. They have different key metrics such as “time to fill” & “job requisitions filled”, not purely the quality of the person they choose to present to the company with all their skills and talents to fill the voided position. Being well-versed in the industry, there ARE AGENCIES that do pride themselves on the quality of the individual’s talent level that is being hired, and it is something that maven measures itself by, even if the corporate world isn’t a standard to be held to.” Whether you’re working with maven, and IT staffing company, or not, you should always keep in the top of your mind, that you can simplify a recruiters job by focusing on selling yourself to the recruiter and the hiring manager in as little time as possible. That direct reflection of you is your resume and cover letter.



Without deviating from the truth as much as possible, you are doing yourself a dis-service and you’re not going to get looked at when it comes to applying for positions. Based on the type of positions you’re looking for, you should ALWAYS keep your LinkedIn profile updated like you do your resume. In the instance that the recruiter didn’t get as many applicants as hoped for, or is doing some aggressive research on their own you can be searched within LinkedIn. They are still using typical keywords, however, and they will look at your LinkedIn profile typically before clicking on your resume. Also from a sourcing perspective, LinkedIn is one of the top websites a recruiter look at to identify talent.


A common question that is asked is, “Should I edit my LinkedIn profile before applying for positions?”  Yes. Yes, you should. The more nurturing you put into your job search, the higher chances you have at reaching that goal, and the quicker you’ll be able to reach that success that you’re looking for in a career; it’s smart. Obviously, don’t deviate from the truth and don’t expand on past employment that is not relevant. If you put everything about all of your life experience – you’d have a 20-page resume! Consolidating your experience and tailoring it to the opportunity for the best results. The more effort you put in on the front end, the better yield you get on the back end. Look at common positions you’re applying to and see what some of the keywords are or words that are consistently being used to describe what it is you want to do. You may not only need to change some verbiage on your Linked In profile, but recreate, or edit your resume also, to keep a consistent message to future, potential employers about the qualities and skills you have to offer their company.