What is SEO, and why does it matter on your resume? For those who are not in the marketing or web-content world, SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, which is a method of ensuring that what is written online will be easily found by the people who are searching for it.
For example: let’s say you are searching for a nearby sandwich shop. You might type “sandwich” into your favorite search engine, and it will search for companies that have the word “sandwich” written in their websites or profiles, and list the results for you based on relevance. The nearby restaurants that have the word “sandwich” in their website multiple times will likely appear towards the top of the list.
Recruiters will essentially do the same thing when searching for candidates. As I write this, our company has an opening for a Pharmacy Technician with benefit verification experience. To find candidates, a recruiter will go into the employer side of their favorite job board and do a combined resume keyword search of “Pharmacy Technician” and “benefit verification”. The job board will look at all resumes near that location and give the recruiter a list of relevant candidates. Resumes that have both “pharmacy technician” and “benefit verification” written on them will be at the top of the list.
The fact is that the majority of recruiters utilize some form of electronic resume searching. Because of this, candidates need to “optimize” their resumes in order for them to appear in a recruiters search.
Knowing the above facts, what can a job seeker do to make sure that they are found by the recruiter that they want to talk to?
- Identify a position that the resume is geared towards, and based on the position identified, identify words, acronyms, and industry (not company specific) language that is common for that position.
- In a way that looks good for a human that would be reading, place the words, acronyms, and industry specific language throughout the resume. For important items, make sure they are in the resume at least twice.
- Create the resume using Microsoft Word. Even if you will convert it to PDF, most search engines are better at recognizing text generated from Microsoft Word.
- Always share your resume electronically. This means upload it to job board or employer websites, or else email it to recruiters. Don’t use fax or paper mail to send.
- (If you have room) Enter keywords at the bottom of the resume in small, white font (invisible to the human eye).
These 5 items are nowhere near an exhaustive list of what you need to know to create a resume that will get you hired, but are a great start to ensure that your resume has the SEO required to be found by a recruiter’s technology.