Have you ever considered how valuable keywords can be in person-to-person communication? We all know they’re important to search engines and automated company applicant tracking systems. But keywords can also be really effective when you’re communicating with other humans too because they act as shorthand that’s understood by others. SHRM has some really interesting ideas for how to leverage keywords’ power in most any type of interpersonal communications.
Where You Can Use Keywords
- Interviews, in person or via Skype: A judicious sprinkling of keywords can allow you to communicate far more with fewer words, as long as you’re not too obvious about it. (You don’t want to sound like a PowerPoint.)
- Email: No one’s got time for long-winded messages, and keywords can help you say what you need much more succinctly. This works for everyday emails, thank-you notes, and memos.
- Communicating with your boss or higher-ups: When you’re submitting documents or trying to present the value of a proposal, keywords can help you show that you understand your boss’s and your company’s goals.
- Your LinkedIn profile or biography, or your website: You’re probably already using keywords here for search engines, but consider using them conversationally in summaries of who you are and what you do, so humans reading up on you can quickly get what you’re about.
Types of Keywords That Can Work
SHRM suggest five types of keywords you’ll find most helpful:
1. Soft skills keyword
- Cross-cultural sensitivity
- Interpersonal relations
- Team leadership
2. Employment history keywords
- Job titles
- Employer names
- Industry experience
- Product experience
- Job durations
- Types of budgets
- Staff sizes
3. Education and training keywords
4. General information
This is such and interesting idea, right? Keywords in everyday language.
- Board positions
- Professional affiliations
- Volunteer activities
- Civic associations