It's good to know the online "watering holes" and how to leverage them during your job search so you can be found directly by a potential employer. Thanks for that most recent post Matt.
But you also want to be optimizing your resume for machines to find you too. Gone are the days when recruiters solely use job board ad response to fill their positions. Today, every recruiter will do some level of data mining to find qualified resumes. This can be via Google or could be the actual search engine within any type of candidate database. The goal is to make sure your "calling card" (resume) ranks you as strong of a match as possible to place you high up in the search results. Have you set your resume up to be found easily?
When it comes to creating a search engine optimized resume, word choice is everything. It is the single source code used to determine your resume's online searchability.
Here are a few steps to go through in optimizing your resume to be found:
#1. Think about your keyword selection
Begin by intuitively creating a keyword list. Think like a recruiter and ask yourself..."If I were searching online for my type of professional profile, what terms would I use?" You will quickly generate a list of at least 4 or 5 job-specific terms that you will want to make sure are present on your resume.
Use a web site like Google ADWords for real-world keyword use. Go to Google AdWords and enter the primary keywords associated with your background in the upper left "Find keywords" box and then hit "Search". Google AdWords will then supply optimal keyword and phrasal suggestions for this type of profile. Ideally, what you are looking for are terms with high search rates (keywords that lots of potential recruiters might use to find candidates like you).
View resumes of similar candidates to yourself. Grab a peer or friend's resume or even go to LinkedIn and make sure it is the same background as you and see what words and phrases they use on their resume for suggestions.
#2. Pay attention to keyword density (frequency)
Use a web site like www.textalyser.com to measure the keyword strength of your resume. Go to the site and enter in your resume file. Then review the lexical and phrasal analysis provided (ex: # of words and most frequent words used or the most frequent two and three word phrases used)
Follow SEO best practices for density %. This looks at the frequency of these keywords and will measure the # of times a keyword repeats divided by the # of total words used. You should use 3-7% for major keywords and 1-2% for minor keywords.
Also, load a similar resume to yours into this site to analyze (and potentially copy!) some of their keyword selections as well as their density strategy.
#3. Be explicit with your resume
Because recruiters can end up using anything as a search term, you must be explicit. Don’t ever over generalize or summarize to be more efficient with your wording. Always list out ALL the specific details of your background (ex: "Software developer with JAVA, J2EE, EJB, Swing, Hibernate, and XML" vs. "Software developer with JAVA, J2EE and all other front-end development tools")
Don't let the length scare you. One page is fine for entry-level, two for more mid-level and don't be afraid of three pages if you have 15-20 years of experience. Experienced candidates have become so paranoid about resume length that they are summarizing their content to a fault. Go to that second or third page if you have the content. This extra information will provide even more keywords for the recruiter.
#4. Get your resume published
There's no point to having a great resume if it only resides on your desktop at home. Your resume needs to be "online" (literally) so other people can access it. This means it must be a file attached to a publish web page. Here are some examples of where you can post your profile:
- A job board database
- Your LinkedIn account
- Your personal website
- Your blog
- Your company profile
- Professional groups or networks
- There are also companies that allow you to create an online resume and they publish it for you from their domain.
#5. Keep your resume fresh and recent
Almost every search will have some sort of filter for timeframe. Makes sense, right? Recruiters don't want to look at a profile that is a year old because this person is probably not even looking any longer. You'll need to make sure you refresh/update your resume every 90 days if you posted your profile on any type of candidate database associated with a job board or other job search website.
Remember, they can't hire you if they can't find you. Following these simple tips will put you in front of your audience.