Is Your Job Title The Best Keyword For Your Job Hunt?

When you’re searching for a new job, it’s easy to look for jobs with the same titles you’ve had before. They’re jobs you know you probably qualify for. It’s easier to match your skills keywords to the job keywords when the titles are the same. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use your job title when looking for a new work at home job.

Use Your Skills

While the job titles you’ve held can be helpful, what matters more are the skills you have, even if you haven’t yet held a job that used those skills. A hobby you have, a class you’ve taken, whatever the case may be, the skills from those may help you get a better or more interesting job.

Use your skills in your search terms on search engines and job boards. If you’re a web developer and know PHP, that’s often a better search term than “web developer.” A medical coder may want to use his or her certifications or specialties in a search. Employers care quite a bit about the skills you bring to the table, not just what titles you’ve held.

If you’re using a skill you gained from a hobby as a qualification, think carefully on how you’ll present it. It’s often more difficult to convince employers to try you on skills you haven’t used in the workforce, but it is possible. It’s easy to provide links to anything you’ve done online. You can list a relevant hobby and how long you’ve done it – just be sure that it’s relevant. A social media job won’t care that you carve wood as a hobby. They will care if you’ve built up a huge following based on that hobby and can show them your accounts.

If you aren’t sure what you qualify for, use My Skills My Future, a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training. It will give you more job titles to consider, typical wages, typical education required, and even some job listings. You might be surprised where it leads you.

O*NET may be useful as well. It’s also by the Department of Labor. Use the Occupation Search to find jobs related to the job title you put in. It also has a listing of hot technologies used in job listings, which can lead you to job titles which might use those technologies.

Titles For The Same Basic Job Vary

Some employers get really creative with job titles, and if you limit yourself to the common title for that position, you’ll miss out. Sometimes you have to read the job description to figure out what they’re really after.

Don’t let a fancy job title scare you off. Read the description and figure out if it’s something you can do. Most companies won’t expect that you match the job description perfectly.

To figure out which titles may work best, use Indeed’s Job Trends page. You can put in a few title keywords, and see how often Indeed has seen them used over the past few years. This can tell you if the title you’re searching is current or if an alternative is likely to be more fruitful. Think about the differences between “Virtual Assistant,” “Administrative Assistant” and “Executive Assistant.”

You can also use Indeed to come up with new job titles by searching on your current job title and seeing what else comes us. Some of these will be worth searching on their own.

Use Industry Jargon

If there are terms specific to the industry you’re looking in, especially if it relates to your skills, it can be a very useful search term.

Consider Other Job Categories

The skills from one job may translate well to jobs in other categories. Your customer service skills, for example, may translate well into other jobs dealing with people, such as sales or marketing.

You may be able to combine skills you’ve demonstrated in the workplace with skills you’ve learned in school or as a hobby to jump into a better job. Don’t assume that a lack of work experience or formal education in a job category means you can’t consider it – look for positions you believe you can do, and convince an employer to give you a try. So long as you have a lot of the skills posted and convince them you can learn the rest promptly, you have a chance.

Check Other Industries

You can take a jump into an entirely new industry if you focus on the skills you have rather than job titles. Just because you’ve worked in the insurance industry, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t jump to a technology company or something in the healthcare field that isn’t directly about insurance.

Who Do You Want To Work For?

If there’s a company you would really love to work for, take a look at the jobs they’re offering and figure out what you’d qualify for. Research the company (you should do this for any company you’re considering anyhow) and learn about the company culture and open positions.

If you want to work at home, pay attention to who lets people work entirely at home or partially at home, if that works with your needs.

Don’t limit yourself to a particular company in your job hunt overall – you might not get a job with them. Take the time to see if you qualify for any positions with them, absolutely! Just remember that focusing on them to the exclusion of all other opportunities may be a huge mistake. You can always check back with them over time as a long term goal if you can’t get the job you really want just now.

Target Your Resume

A resume should always be targeted to the particular job you’re applying for. Change your basic resume to better match the employer’s needs when you send it to them. It should highlight the skills you have that they’re seeking. Make it easy for potential employers to see that you have what they need.

The keywords you use in your targeted resume should reflect the keywords the potential employer used in the job description. Many employers search resumes for their keywords first, and if you haven’t used their keywords, they may miss you entirely, even if you’re highly qualified for the position.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.