Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for resumes

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for resumes

I just came back from the Kennedy conference in Orlando, FL.  The most important thing I learned is that Broadlook needs to buy more headphones.  Anyone who has been to a conference and seen the Broadlook booth, knows that we get lines backed up to get a peek at our wares.  In order to reach more people, we created a 4 minute video, that concisely describes what Broadlook does.  So, even though we did not have enough headphones for everyone… I want to thank the great attendees at the Kennedy show for sharing.  Next time, we will have more headphones!

Among the groups of people at Kennedy, there was a contingent of professional resume writers.  One of them stopped by the Broadlook booth and I gave her a quick walk-through of Diver.

“Can you do a search for Chemical Engineer resumes?”  She asked

Sure, I said.

I let her then type a search string into Diver, to let her put it through the paces.   She pressed the SEARCH button.  As Diver started extracting resumes from across the web, she spoke out loudly  “There he is!” as she jumped up and down.   This was good for me, as it drew additional people to the Broadlook booth.

She was loud, proud and rather giddy.  One of her recent clients, for whom she wrote the resume,  was pulled up with a large group of other resumes.

Then I scared her.

She asked me to show her how the filter function worked in Diver.  In the filter box inside Diver, I typed in, at her request, “polymer clay”.   Her candidate, her work, her resume was filtered out.  Gone.

At first, she blamed Diver, telling me that she knew that she added “Polymer clay” into a skills list to help with search engine optimization (SEO).   I then explained to her that Diver filters based on the significant parts of the resume.   It was designed this way based on my years of being a recruiter.  During my recruiter years, most systems, like job boards would search on text anywhere within the resume.  A quasi-smart candidate could add a Über list of every tech skill imaginable to a resume.  The intent being that is it would turn up in every search.

Those days are over.  Diver ignores the skills section of a resume and applies it’s filter to the education and experience blocks of the resume.  This way, Diver is looking for skills listed within the language of the job history.  Basically, Diver is doing exactly what a smart recruiter does;  Ignore the big skill list and read through the job history and look for a direct correlation or inference for the desired skill set.

Keep in mind that most job boards still perform a “stupid” search.  If you are looking for a keyword it doesn’t matter if your first name is Java, you list a skill as Java, or you write about Java in your work history.  All keywords, at all places, are equivalent.  The same can be said for searching Job Postings.  Think about it… a job posting can have multiple sections, the actual job description, a section about what the company does, information on how to apply, benefits, etc.  Most Internet search is poor.

I didn’t really want to spend much time on Diver, but it is a glimpse of how things will be done in the future.  Eventually, the job boards will catch up.  A friend of mine, a CEO of search technology company points out that the job boards may never want to do this. Why?  “Because it will significantly reduce the resumes that match your query and people will realize how few candidates job boards really have”.   Interesting point.

So, for those resume writers out there,  personal or professional.  Here are some tips on how to develop your resume so that it will have greater impact within “search”.

Before doing this, I read up on many resume writing services. The fact that most of site (not all) that I visited reminded me of web 1.0 tells me that most of the writers have no conception of SEO.  They may be good writers, but they do not understand technology.  They are writing for the reader and that is the cardinal mistake.

1.   Write your final resume for the searcher, not the reader.

This is the biggest mistake made.  It is a frame of mind.  If you can “grok” this, you don’t need to read any further.   The searcher is not just a person.  The searcher is a person combined with the capabilities (or inabilities) of the search mechanism being used.

2.  Use permutations to your advantage.  Leverage it in work history, education and anywhere

Work history line:

BAD 2001-2008  CEO, Broadlook

GOOD 2001-2008 Chief Executive Officer / CEO,  Broadlook Technologies Inc. / BTI / / Pewaukee, WI 53072

Broadlook has never been referred to as BTI, but think of the ways that IBM could be search for: IBM, IBM CORP, International Business Machines, etc.

3.  Put your most important skills within the description of the job history. As discussed earlier, technology will improve over the next few years. More and more search tools will allow the targeting of specific sections of a resume.

4.  Post your resume on your own site as well as the job boards.  Get a free hosted blog via and add a resume section to it.  This is something that resume writers could do for free, it does not cost anything.  It would even be the delivery mechanism vs. a WORD or PDF file.

5.  If you do post on the job boards, include a link back to your own resume site.

6.  Post your resume now, even if you are not looking for a job.  Why?  The longer something is online, the more chance that it will get indexed.  Make it an anonymous resume if you don’t want your contact information out there right now.

7.  Make sure that some part of your resume page has dynamic content.  Search engines like pages and sites that change.  It is easy to find free plug-ins to add content and feeds.

8.  Lastly, do make sure that you have a well-written resume.  Having all the SEO in the world with a bunch of spelling mistakes won’t endear you to a recruiter or employer.

There is a tremendous GAP in what could be done as a service for job seekers and what is being done.  What this means is that some entrepreneur is working on that problem already or someone should.  I surely don’t have the time for it.

Resume Writing Resources

National Resume Writers‘ Association

Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches

AORCP – Association of Online Career and Resume Professionals

Resume Writers Association of America, LLC

Donato Diorio is the Chief Executive Officer for Broadlook Technologies, an award winning blogger and a contributing author for the upcoming Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0

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