How to Use Job Description Keywords

Recruiters sitting down together and discussing job search keywords for their new job listing.

By some estimates, hundreds of millions of job-related searches are conducted monthly on Google and other major search engines. The phrases job-seekers use in the search box to find relevant job listings are the basis for keywords. Understanding which job description keywords candidates use can help your organization rise above the noise and connect with future hires.

Monster constantly makes enhancements to ensure your job postings are searchable in major search engines. But it’s you, the employer, who influences whether your job description is returned to the top of search engine results with the correct keyword phrases.

For your online job posting to be relevant to search engines, select the correct keyword phrases for your job title and description. This process will also help your listing perform better within Monster’s search engine.

The Key to Effective Job Description Keywords is Research

Since your goal is to figure out which keywords job seekers use to find relevant job postings, your challenge as an employer is to get noticed through optimization. To make your job posting search engine optimized, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What phrases are relevant to your job description?
  • What terms might a job seeker search to find your job posting?

To find the answers, brainstorm as many phrases as possible, look at competitor listings, and use free keyword research tools online to expand the list of keyword phrases for your listing. The keyword phrases in your job posting should be specific, not general. For example, “sales job” may describe the job generally, but “financial services sales job” would be a better phrase to target). Also, remember that the more general or broad a keyword phrase is, the more competition there will be for it. This means that you need to consider job description keywords with enough volume to find candidates but are also targeted enough to find the right ones.

Other types of keyword phrases to consider in your brainstorming include:

  • Company/branded/product terms: Select phrases you use in your marketing campaigns that are familiar to job seekers.
  • Location-specific terms: Many seekers search on location + job title (e.g., “product manager job in Boston”).
  • Industry-specific terms: Are tools, software suites, or acronyms important to the job and your business?
  • Alternative job titles: Are there alternative job titles that people may use to describe the same job? (e.g., “online marketing manager or internet marketing manager”).
  • Abbreviations: Are there abbreviations for the job title (e.g., Registered Nurse = RN)?

Select the most popular and relevant phrases to use in your job listing. Test your keyword phrases by seeing if you answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Can I determine the intent of a job posting and the job seeker?
  • Will my job listing satisfy the intent of the job seeker if they search this phrase and land on my listing?

The Job Title is the Most Important Keyword

Out of the elements that comprise effective job description keywords, the job title is by far the most important. The reasons for this include the following:

  1. It appears in the body as text. Search engines use it to understand what keyword phrases your job listing is relevant to.
  2. It appears in the browser <title> tag. Search engines weigh the job title heavily when determining what keyword phrases your job listing is relevant to.
  3. The browser <title> tag also appears as the clickable hypertext in search engine results.

Your job title should be compelling and relevant so job searchers click on your job listing over others. Here are some guidelines to help you pick your job titles:

  • Make sure it’s a concise, widely used title that job seekers search on, not a creative hook or title only known within your organization. “Sales Star Needed” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Sales Representative.”
  • The job title should be as specific as possible. “Sales” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Pharmaceutical Sales Representative.”
  • Indicate the career level of the job in the title if possible. “Online Media” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Director of Online Media.”
  • If a skill is essential to the role, then be sure to include it. “Customer Support Representative” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Customer Support Representative: Spanish-Speaking.”
  • Include the job type (part-time, temporary, etc.) if appropriate. ‘Janitor’ is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Janitor (Part-time).”
  • Do not abbreviate job titles. “Sr. VP” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Senior Vice President.”
  • Include the full job title as well as the acronym. “RN” is not a compelling job title. Instead, choose “Register Nurse (RN).”

Always Use Keywords in the Description

The best way to have your job posting appear in search results is to integrate keyword phrases throughout your job listing. Along with the job title you’ve chosen, select 3-5 related terms to use throughout the copy. Do not overuse any job description keyword phrase. To test for overuse, read the description out loud. If it sounds awkward, reduce the number of instances for that phrase.

Here are some additional tips to help you integrate your related job description keyword phrases:

  • Use bullet points to make the description easy to read.
  • The length of the job description should be at least 150 words but not too long because seekers don’t like to read long descriptions.
  • Use brand, industry, and occupation-specific phrases.
  • Avoid using internal company jargon or abbreviations that will confuse the reader.
  • Do not include the location within the description field—Monster’s job listing templates automatically display the location within the title and meta-tags.

Keywords in the Company Description/Boilerplate

Optimize the keyword phrases used since your company description is on all your job listings. Avoid typical “marketing fluff” and focus on keyword phrases that explain and demonstrate your business and industry and describe your company culture.

Optimize Your Job Postings With Keywords

If you’re looking to find the right fit, you’ll need to optimize your job listing with the right job description keywords to get your pitch in front of top candidates. When you sign up for a free job listing with Monster, you’ll get access to over 2,000 pre-written job descriptions you can tailor to your opening.