It’s hard out there for a resume.
You may have the skills, but your job hunting game won’t be on point if said skills are getting overlooked. On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes-- with 72% of them going unopened by hiring managers. It’s an over-saturated and inundated competitive landscape, and in the electronic-era we live in, writing your resume for both humans and robots is a must-have know-how that will bolster your application, ensuring it’s found by the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by recruiters and HR professionals.
The whole goal is to align your resume to the job description, so incorporate these tips into your job search to SEO your resume like a pro:
Keywords are key
There’s actually nothing really special about keywords—they’re just words, what makes them matter is how often they occur and the company they keep. An optimized resume should match your qualifications with specific job descriptions.
Repetition is necessary
Keywords used early in your resume are valued higher than those placed lower in the document.
DO: Include these valuable identifiers in your summary, highlighting your key skills and then continue to sprinkle them between 6-8 times throughout the body.
DON’T: Include technical skills within the summary or bottom of your resume. Instead, list them within each project.
HINT: Pay attention to the “Requirements” and “Qualifications” in the job description. Identify the hard and soft skills from the job posting and mirror the language in your resume.
Be consistent and creative with words
There are three types of keyword matches that will resonate with the robots:
- Broad match: Keywords can appear in any order along with other terms
- Phrase match: Use of exact keyword with any other term before or after
- Exact match: Keywords appear exactly without any other terms before or after
Example: Job title description keyword: marketing coordinator
- Broad match resume title: marketing communications coordinator, marketing associate
- Phrase match resume title: corporate marketing coordinator, PR & marketing coordinator
- Exact match resume title: marketing coordinator
DO: Use the exact keyword in the title for the job you’re applying for, or if your previous job title was more flexible, include keywords that are associated with that specific position.
DON’T: Use keywords that only contain various acronyms or titles that are not widely accepted or known, or apply to a job with irrelevant job titles.
HINT: A “marketing coordinator” will find his or her way into an interview room with a hiring manager before a “branding ninja” will even be noticed by the resume robots.
Remember, resumes still touch human hands
You’re writing your resume for both hiring managers and an ATS, so keep it pleasing to each. Create a word document that has a balance of both the visual appeal and proper ATS formatting. The goal is to optimize the content to rank with the robots but also look good when under human scrutiny.
DO: Look for areas within your resume for optimization in sections like job responsibilities, accomplishments, education and summary of qualifications. Use different forms of keywords in different sections for maximum optimization.
DON’T: Complicate things. Keep it simple with no complex layouts. Stay away from including tables or graphics. Robots can’t read graphics and they misread tables.
HINT: When you submit your SEO’d resume, be sure to include your postal code. Without your postal code, you won’t be found by anything or anyone.
Your resume is the key to unlocking your success, and if you’re gunna be a bear, be a grizzly. Use keywords to turn your resume into a master key, and unlock one of these great opportunities!