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Use This Tool to Optimize Your Job Listing Keywords and Attract More Applicants

Make your job post easier to find! A simple word cloud can show you the terms job seekers are actively searching for

You spent hours perfecting the language in your latest job listing; it’s a work of art! So why isn’t it bringing in any good applications?

It could be missing vital keywords that job seekers are searching for.

“Search” is an integral component of today’s job hunt, and we often forget about it. It’s never been more important that your job post have the right words and phrases. Otherwise, candidates won’t be able to find you… and they won’t be able to apply.

Keywords are even more crucial when you think about all of the different platforms job seekers use to search for their next career move; all with their own different search algorithms that display different results.

Platforms like:

What exactly are job applicants typing into these search engines? They’re looking for a wide variety of keywords and phrases, some of which you might have already taken into account, and some of which you might not have thought of.

Here are just a few kinds of common searches:

  • Specific job titles (i.e., “Senior Editor,” “Account Executive”)
  • Job description keywords (i.e., “social media,” “writing”)
  • Job experience level (i.e. “entry level position,” “freelance work”)
  • Location-based (i.e., “Jobs in New York City”)
  • Salary-based (i.e., “$50k jobs,” “six figure jobs”)
  • Benefits-based (i.e., “work from home,” “jobs with 401k and health insurance”)
  • Industry-related terms (i.e., “media jobs,” “TV jobs,” “journalism jobs”)
  • Specific companies (i.e., “work at NBC,” “Bloomberg job openings”)

Are you using phrases like these? In a perfect world, your listing includes all of the above: a specific job title, key job description phrases, experience level, location, salary, benefits, industry terms and your specific company.

And that’s just to start.

There are other keywords you might have missed, and that can hurt your ranking when it comes to search.

Here’s how to see what else is out there in the marketplace so you can stay “search competitive”:

  1. Track down 5-10 comparable roles at other companies. They don’t have to be identical in terms of exact job title, but they should reflect the same general skills, responsibilities and experience level. Be sure to gather these comparable roles from a variety of sources, including Google, LinkedIn, job search sites and social media.
  2. Copy the “job description” section of each comparable role.
  3. Paste all of these job descriptions (together) into a free, online word cloud tool. Here are just a few word cloud generators to choose from: Wordle, Tagul, Word It Out.
  4. Look at the words that are largest and most prominent in the word cloud. Those are the keywords that are used most frequently in the job descriptions of comparable roles.
  5. Make another word cloud using the job description section of your current job listing. How do the two word clouds stack up? Are there common keywords that other companies are using, that you aren’t using? Add those keywords into your description where it makes sense.
  6. Repeat the process, making more word clouds pulled from your list of comparable roles. Try making a word cloud based on job titles, and another one based on the “skills and experience” section. Then, compare with the job title and “skills and experience” you’ve written. Are you missing any vital words? Add them in!

After you’ve done a thorough word cloud optimization, your job description is ready to go public. A perfect place to start is Mediabistro’s job search site. Remember—candidates can’t apply if they can’t find you. Make your listing search-friendly, and great applicants will come pouring in.

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Job Descriptions