Are you sending out one job application after another, but not hearing back? A lackluster resume may be the culprit. As you’ve probably already heard, you’ve got about six seconds to catch someone’s eye (or be passed over), so having a resume that packs a punch and tells a great story quickly is key.
Not sure how to do it? My advice for getting beyond the first glance is this: SEO yourself.
While you probably know the term SEO, you may not know what it means (or how it applies to your resume). SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it involves techniques to make a website appealing to search engine algorithms—or, in other words, get more love from Google. Top websites regularly consider how to make sure they’re noticed by the big search engines—and when it comes to your resume, stealing a few techniques from the SEO playbook can catapult you to the top of the heap.
Here are five tricks from the internet marketing world that’ll get you past the initial glance and into the running for the position you want.
1. Use Relevant Keywords
A website can have great information, but if it doesn’t include the phrases a searcher would look for, it won’t be found. Similarly, your resume should include terms that align with those recruiters and employers use.
If your prospective employers are using an applicant tracking system (ATS), keywords can get you past the machine and in front of human eyes. Today’s sophisticated ATS engines search not only for keywords, but also scan for appropriate and relevant context (i.e., listing “Adobe Photoshop” as a technical skill, a language skill, and under each of your prior roles won’t trick the system).
But even if your prospective employer isn’t using an ATS, including clear, relevant keywords increases the odds that your skills will jump off the page to someone screening with limited time.
To decide which keywords will be most attractive, review job postings and the LinkedIn profiles of people in your desired role. Check out job sites like The Muse, Indeed, and Dice to skim postings in your field and see which descriptive terms overlap. Switching fields? Check out professional journals relevant to your field to see what language is trending and how to couch yourself in the most appropriate terms.
Once you target the best keywords, be sure to use them (when appropriate) in your current and prior job descriptions, as well as in your roster of skills.
3. Include Relevant Hyperlinks
On the web, relevant hyperlinks to credible sources improve your readability and page rank within search engines. On a resume? Relevant hyperlinks can provide hiring managers evidence that you’re the best candidate for the job.
Consider adding links to your personal website, articles you’ve written in industry journals or publications, or sites that showcase your work. If you’re in a creative field, a link to your portfolio, to apps you’ve developed, or to articles you’ve penned can be very persuasive. For tech job seekers, including links to a video resume, online CV, or sites you’ve built are nice, tech-savvy touches.
However, don’t insert hyperlinks just for the sake of doing so. Make sure all links are relevant, put you in a good light, and (very importantly!) do not go to dead pages.