On average, Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. This translates into 3.5 billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion per year (Internet Live Stats, 2016). Combined with Bing and Yahoo, search engines are a powerful force on the internet. Where your name appears in search engine results as well as on internal searches on social media sites can influence how you are perceived by potential employers. Using keywords on your online resume and in your social media bios can help put your name at the top of search engine results. This can give you an edge during the job search and may even bring recruiters to you!
Using key words has benefits beyond search engine optimization. When used effectively, they can push your resume to the top of the pile by taking advantage of the predictability of applicant tracking software.
Some strategies for using key word optimization include:
- Brainstorm a list of nouns and action verbs that describe your skill set. Then take a look at how others in your industry and recruiters describe their positions. Match your skill set with the words being used by industry leaders and pepper them throughout your resume, cover letter and social media bios.
- The same job may be known by different titles. For example, an “Administrative Assistant” might be the same as an “Admin Assistant,” “Admin Asst.” or “Staff Assistant.” Do some research to see how your job titles align with how similar jobs are posted. If necessary, change your titles to reflect what is commonly used (Joyce, 2016).
- Be specific about skills so that you increase the opportunity to be recognized for your skills set. For instance, rather than highlight Microsoft Office Suite, include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, etc. (Joyce, 2016).
- Include the most common reference to the location you are hoping to become employed. For instance, use state abbreviations rather than full names (WA versus Washington). Make sure your social media profile is 100% complete. LinkedIn, for example, ranks profiles that are 100% complete higher in their search results.
- Do not overuse key words or misrepresent your skills. Overusing keywords without actually providing any real content or experience will annoy recruiters and potential employers.
Foot, A. (2012). 5 exceedingly Clever LinkedIn Hacks. Retrieved from: http://www.linkedinsights.com/5-exceedingly-clever-linkedin-hacks/
Internet Live Stats. (2016). Google Search Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/
Joyce, S. (2016). Optimize your resume to be found be recruiters. Retrieved from http://www.job-hunt.org/article_resumeSEO.shtml