The rules of job search have changed; in fact, some might say they have taken a 180-degree turn in recent years, particularly with the advent of social networking. The waters have become murkier than ever as career journalists vie for the attention of readers with click-generating headlines that are not necessarily in careerists’ best interests.
A recent article, Quit Using These 10 Words to Describe Yourself on LinkedIn, further clouds the waters with assertions that confuse and spurs frustration among many who coach and strategize daily with job seekers.
In her usual pragmatic way, Dawn Bugni, master resume writer and career coach, who has been collaborating with careerists for more than 12 years, says, “Job search, sales, marketing, communications in general is never black or white. To say, ‘don’t use these 10 words,’ does job seekers, living in job search’s gray land of it depends, a disservice. I find individuals every day struggling with preconceived, nonexistent rules in job search as it is.”
While overusing keywords can be problematic, the problem with completely abandoning use of such buzzwords is that employers still use those words in job postings. Because recruiters and hiring decision makers as well as automated tracking system (ATS) systems are tapping job posting keywords to unearth potential new hires, eliminating those words altogether can potentially eliminate you from the running.
Bugni continued by sharing a current collaboration with a job seeker, “Here’s a good example about mirroring language of the job posting: ‘Strategic’ is #2 on the list. I’m reviewing a COO job posting prepping for a client call. The word strategic is sprinkled throughout the posting. In fact, in only two bullets, I counted the word strategic five times. Evidently that’s a hot button word for this organization. Regardless what this guru in the article says, the resume I create for my client will contain the word strategic.”
Instead of eradicating specific buzzwords from the resume or LinkedIn profile, the real message is that job seekers need to make theirs words and stories actionable and substantive and weave them into meaningful context. Doing this, versus focusing on what words to use and what to purge from their writing will add value instead of getting the glazed-over-eyes response.
Bugni sums it up well, “If this article is meant to tell the reader to be succinct, bold and specific in conveying value, and do it in fresh, compelling language, then I’m all for it. If it’s meant to give job seekers a definitive, black-and-white absolute rule, then I’d say, ‘Move along. Nothing to see here.'”