In a sense the goals of SEO and developing a resume have the same goal. The goal is to get your information looked at and ranked as valuable and necessary. SEO strategies are used to help Google’s search algorithms recognize a specific site as valuable and deserving of a high position. Using the same strategies in developing your own resume will help your resume become valuable and highly ranked among those viewing it.
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is critical in your search for a job. Simply put, know what terms your future employer is wanting to see on a resume. Do your research to know your audience and learn what terms they will be looking for. Make sure the terms you use are simple and specific.
For example, I used to teach American Sign Language at a local high school. When the program grew we eventually needed another teacher so we opened a position for people to begin applying. As I sorted through the stack of resumes it was easy to see which ones would go straight to the trash just because they didn’t contain the keywords I wanted. Keywords like, second language acquisition, ASL interpreter, Deaf community, Gallaudet University, Deaf studies, etc. Any one of these keywords would have made me hold on to their resume, but a combination of these words would have moved it to the top of my list.
This brings me to the second tip,
2. Optimize Your Page
Make it look good and include all your keywords, but be careful. Do not get penalized for keyword dumping. If your resume looks like a crossword puzzle of keywords, you probably went about it the wrong way. Don’t overstuff. The purpose of keywords is to draw the reader’s eyes, not overwhelm them.
Now, keywords are extremely beneficial because they lead the examiner to read your content or your “meta-tags”. In SEO meta-tags are used to convince search engine users that the content or site is worth looking at. In a resume, meta-tags should convince the person into interviewing you.
In addition, make sure to avoid duplicate content and make sure you take note of word count. Nobody wants to read a lengthy monologue; they especially don’t want to read it twice.
3. Quality Content
For a long time SEO companies and resume writers have been very skilled at regurgitating information found elsewhere. Don’t do this. Readers do not want to be fed by mama bird. They want the worm. Do not just copy and paste the same information on 20 resumes. Write content that is specific, concise, and relevant to where you are applying.
4. Important Backlinks
The purpose of backlinks is pretty much to have a finger pointed back at you. Just make sure you add people who point the right finger. Also, add people who make an impact when they point back to you.
Another example. While reviewing the same resumes mentioned above, I noticed that some people had referenced their boss at a grocery store. The manager was nice, but all I could learn about the resume sender was that they did a good job packing bags and stocking aisles. I learned nothing about their teaching ability or their competence in American Sign Language. Another person referenced a friend who did not know sign language, but they adamantly vouched for their friend’s skill at waving their arms and hands around. While these types of links just waste time, use links that have an impact, like one resume that I found with a reference from an ASL teacher.
Just as in SEO, small links do practically nothing, while large links points big arrows back to you. Find big names or names that the person interviewing will know and use them for a reference. These connections along with the other SEO tips will lead back to you giving you greater validity and a better opportunity at getting the job.