STEM professionals are in high demand around the globe. So why do so many highly qualified scientists struggle to get invited for a job interview?
The answer is simple: no matter how brilliant and experienced you are, your résumé and your LinkedIn® profile have to contain the right elements in order for you to get noticed.
So what's the formula for a résumé or LinkedIn profile that can land you an interview? The most important elements of your résumé and profile are keywords.
There are two reasons for this. First, hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of applications for each job posting. That’s why they use ATS: software programs that process each résumé and scan them for keywords that are relevant to the advertised position. If your résumé doesn’t contain the right keywords, or not enough of them, it winds up being rejected— and you don’t get invited for an interview.
Second, recruiters often use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. They search the hundreds of thousands of profiles using keywords that pertain to the job responsibilities and required skills in order to find eligible professionals. Knowing which keywords to include requires some research. It is advisable to use a certain amount of industry jargon—in other words, terms that are used primarily in your field. In addition, we recommend naming skills used in your position, as well as analyzing job descriptions to pinpoint important words and phrases. For example, if you’re looking for a position in pharmaceutical manufacturing, “good manufacturing practice”, “upstream R&D”, and “CMC” could all be relevant keywords.
It’s also advisable to include keywords that describe soft skills, since many employers are looking for candidates with more than just technical skills in their toolbox. Good examples include “strong communicator”, “collaborative” and, “analytic thinker.”
Note, however, that you should avoid “cliché” keywords. Words and phrases like “best of breed” and “go-getter” have no value. So be careful to only use phrases such as “thought leadership” and “strategic thinker” if you can back them up with hard facts.
For example, if you’ve written a lot on a specific topic and are generally considered an expert in the field, or if you can cite an example of how you had to think strategically to overcome a specific challenge and achieve a good outcome.