SEO your resume! But how? One of the most common active job seeker questions is “How do I write a resume so that it survives the electronic eyes of an Applicant Tracking System [ATS]?” Considering that over 90% of large companies use an ATS, which typically screens out 50% of the resumes within 24 hours, it’s not surprising job seekers are finding ways to avoid rejection from that grim robotic reaper.

Yet, as a recruiter with over 20 years of industry experience, my first answer to that question is contrarian.   Some consider it downright SHOCKING. Just DON’T do it!

Sending your resume in cold is a waste of time. Get referred to the recruiter or hiring manager responsible for making the decision directly. No if, ands or buts about it. A recent Wall Street Journal article on ATS prevalence, still advises, “…Despite advances in [ATS] software, the single best method of getting a job remains a referral from a company employee.”

My second answer to that question is, be smart and “Optimize” – when a direct connection is not possible.

There are some things you can do with your resume to increase your odds at making it through the “machine” to a pair of human eyes and real consideration for an advertised position.

Businesses spend huge amounts of time “optimizing” their sites to come up on top of Google search lists. You can apply those same business website search engine optimization strategies to your resume. You will increase your odds for coming up at the top of the list of recruiters and hiring manager’s searches.

How to SEO your resume in three very simple steps:

1.) Find the “keywords” to apply to your resume from the job description for each position you’re applying for. Use the exact words and phrases found in the job description.

2.) Create a “keyword” section on your resume directly below your contact information utilizing the keywords from the job description. For Technical and IT Candidates, the “keyword” section can be followed by Tools, Languages, Platforms and Skills sections utilizing words and phrases found in the job description to further optimize your resume.

3.) Maximize the SEO effect of your resume by applying additional exact keywords and phrases throughout your resume in areas such as Job Titles, Work Experience, Education and Summary Statements.

A word of caution: Your resume must be a true reflection of your skills and experience. You may get away with loading your resume up with keywords and getting the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager but it will backfire on you if your resume “exaggerates” your real skills and abilities. Once the exaggerations are discovered you may well find yourself in a black hole that will be difficult to emerge from. Honesty is always the best policy.  

Bonus: Once you’ve “optimized” your resume, apply relevant keywords to your LinkedIn Profile and other social media pages.

Remember to be effectively “optimized” like you, and the jobs your apply for; your resume must be dynamic, evolving and ever-changing.

SEO (Search Engine Optimize) Your Resume so It Gets the Attention You Deserve

Connie Dorigan, Founder and Director of Recruiting, sees the food processing industry as the link between good living and good people. She’s the west coast’s most experienced and trusted food processing recruiter. She also provides Executive and Career Coaching and lots of free job search tools. Once you’ve connected with Connie, you’ll always be connected.

© 2018 Connie Dorigan. All rights reserved.

This is a general interest article and does not constitute specific or legal advice.


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