Editor’s Note: Updated February, 21 2014
I previously wrote about the death of the verb and the rise of the Noun, so I won’t explain that here. But if you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do so.
I’m often asked, “Well, if I need nouns, how do I know what nouns to use?” Here is a simple list of some great places to begin growing your Keyword list.
Use Your Brain
I’m not being cheeky by saying that. I think we often overlook our own common sense because the online tools are so convenient.
Sit down with a blank paper and come up with as many industry specific nouns as you can. Don’t judge what happens, now is the time to get as big a list as possible. Later, we’ll hone it down.
Use Related Job Descriptions
I always tell people that Job Boards are good for at least one thing…finding job descriptions to mine for keywords. Companies will often (not always) include the keywords they look for when screen resumes in the descriptions.
Visit three of your favorite job boards, like SimplyHired, Indeed or Monster. The location doesn’t matter, so just enter the job title you are aiming for. Copy three different job descriptions from three different job boards and copy them all into a word cloud generator (see next section).
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Get Official About it!
The US Government publishes official job descriptions on a website called O*Net: onetonline.org. Here, you’ll find many different ways organizations have described what you do. Enter your job description at the top. Then drill in to the different jobs and related industries. Start collecting the variations on how people describe what you do.
Again, grab this copy and paste it into the word cloud generator.
WordCloudy with a Chance of Jobs
Word clouds show you visually which words in a body of text are used more frequently. This is handy when you want to quickly assess the most commonly used words in a body of text, for example a job posting. So now, paste those job descriptions here: tagcrowd.com. Add some of these words to your list of keywords.
Make You Top 10
Now that you have a long list of words, and you probably have a sense of how popular those words, it’s time to cross off the ones that wont work and keep the ones that will. I like to have a top 10 list.
10 is an easy number to manage and to keep in mind while writing your profiles.
Good luck and please let me know how your keyword research is going in the comments below!
When I start using social media site I didn’t think by adding detailed keywords with contents will helping to boost the profile.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you for sharing wonderful post, at the initial days I dont know about keywords when i come to know keywords and using keywords in profile also very use full to find the peoples
Mr_Keep_ Choose the more popular ones. Different than SEO, results on your LinkedIn profile will show up based on degree of separation.
Useful post, I just want to be sure about the last point. Should I choose the most popular keywords that i found on the google tool? Or the less popular so I can be more “unique”? I will appreciate if you could help me. Thanks
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Excellent post–nouns DO matter, particularly with bots screening resumes for keywords. Other parts of speech do, too, particularly when a person reads your resume, but sometimes we do get too hung up on “power verbs.” One minor correction: you can search and read the Occupational Outlook Handbook for free online and you can print any pages you wish, but you can’t–and wouldn’t want to–download the entire OOH. Hard copy is revised bi-annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is available for purchase, The next hard copy revision is due out March 2012.
A really useful post, Joshua!
I like your suggestion of starting with your own common sense – I have often been guilty of heading straight for those convenient online tools. The Occupational Outlook Handbook sounds like a great resource as well – thanks for the tip.
When I was a recruiter in the IT industry, I looked at hundreds of resumes in a week and this is the best advice I’ve read in a long time! I will definitely check out the free handbook you mentioned.
Joshua, I never thought of aggregating keywords from postings on the job boards. That’s a good idea. Last time I was working on my resume, I had so many things to choose from that I have worked on that I had to kind of pick and choose to avoid a total mess.