7 Secrets to Search-Optimize Your Resume Web Page
by Susan P. Joyce
Many recruiters feel overwhelmed with unqualified resumes submitted for their job postings. They are reacting by focusing on searching for good (i.e. "qualified") resumes rather than sifting through stacks of unqualified ones. Recruiters DO use Web search engines to find resumes, so your resume Web page should be designed with the search engines in mind. Webmasters call this "search engine optimization."
Everyone has heard the term "keyword resume," and keywords on a resume are critical to being found by the search engines. If you need help defining YOUR keywords, see Job-Hunt's keyword resume section for help . After you have defined the appropriate keywords for your resume, search optimize your resume:
1) USE THE KEYWORDS INCONSISTENTLY.
Different recruiters will type the keywords into their searches differently, so use common variations of the keywords in your resume. For example, if you want a job in Massachusetts, use the word "Massachusetts," the abbreviation "Mass" and the postal code "MA" on your resume. They are each a different way to type the same state name. A recruiter could type any of those variations into his/her search to find someone for a job in Massachusetts. [NOTE: This tip works for EVERY kind of keyword resume.]
2) PUT THE WORD "RESUME" ON YOUR RESUME.
Many recruiters search for resumes using the keyword "resume," so at the top of your resume, type the words "Resume of [your name]" on a line. This is particularly important for personal resume Web pages or portfolios.
3) PUT KEYWORDS IN YOUR RESUME'S FILE NAME.
Name your resume's file something that has both marketing and identification qualities, a combination of keywords and your name, like "IEEE_MJSmith_resume.html." (Don't leave blank spaces, or use punctuation other than a hyphen or underscore in the file name.)
4) OPTIMIZE THE TOP OF YOUR WEB PAGE.
Search engines "read" the HTML behind your resume. They don't look at the pictures or read the text on graphics. MOST search engines view the text at the top of the page as "important," so don't waste it. Put as many keywords there as you can, in an objective and skill summary, perhaps. For help with HTML and adding keyword Meta tags to your resume, check out Job-Hunt's Internet Resume section.
5) REGISTER A PERSONAL DOMAIN NAME.
If you decide to do a personal resume Web page, go first class, and register a domain name for yourself. They are inexpensive, and usually give you much better search engine positioning than a free site which will have a complicated URL (e.g. www.bigISP.com/~users/yournaume.html.) Register [yourname].com, [yourname].net, or [your name]-resume.com.
6) ADD "META" TAGS IF YOU WANT.
They may help with search results placement with some search engines, but they don't help as much as they did a couple of years ago. If you have the time and inclination, you can add these "invisible" collection of relevant keywords to your resume's HTML file. See Job-Hunt's section on Meta tags for your resume.
7) REGISTER YOUR PERSONAL RESUME WEB PAGE.
If you go to the effort to transform your resume into a Web page, register it with Yahoo and the Open Directory Project . Look for an appropriate "individual resumes" sub-category, and follow Yahoo's submission directions very carefully. Yahoo's expedited review will get you listed, or rejected, within 7 days at a cost of $299/year (or, for free, you can wait for them to get around to your resume, which may happen some day). Yahoo! will send you an email when your Web site is accepted. Your resume is "in" the Yahoo! directory when you can find it IN A YAHOO SUB-CATEGORY, not just in a search of Web pages.
After it has been accepted by Yahoo, register it with Google (free!). The Open Directory Project is also free, and will positively impact your resume's placement in Google search results.
USABILITY HINT: It's easy and fun to play with the colors on a Web page, but resist temptation. Don't have a dark background with light-colored letters! Your resume may be printed by someone, and light letters on a dark background is a disastrous combination for most printers.
About Susan Joyce: In 1995, Susan emerged from a corporate career to found NETability, Inc., a Web site development and consulting company, teach online job-hunting skills and grow Job-Hunt.org, the award-winning job search portal. For more than a decade, she has written and spoken extensively on the subject of online job search to groups ranging from the U.S. Department of Labor to local support groups. Susan is truly a pioneer in this field. She has been quoted in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other publications, both online and offline. Susan has an M.B.A. in Information Systems and a B.S. in Education.