Since economic shutdowns began following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, nearly 50 million Americans have lost jobs. Now that competition in the job market is expected to be strong once economies begin to reopen, it’s important to have a resume that stands out from the rest.
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Here are five tips on how to boost your resume, according to SEO expert Chris Rodgers.
Customize your resume for specific jobs
It’s important to hone in on the job you’re pursuing, allowing it to shine through on your resume. According to Rodgers, the founder and CEO of Colorado SEO Pros, your resume should be highly tailored to the specific jobs and industries you’re applying to.
“If you are applying to everything under the sun in all different types of positions, it's going to be very difficult to position yourself as the right candidate for a job that is very specific,” he said.
Your resume should also include specific outcomes you've achieved at previous jobs, including numbers and results, instead of just skills.
Research and include keywords
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is a big part of how your resume finds employers. While crafting yours, research and include keywords that match the job listing’s requirements.
Rodgers said keywords are important to trigger the applicant tracking systems, similar to search engines, which employers use to screen resumes. This means the order of how the terms appear in your resume matters.
“Think specifically about unique keywords,” he said. “If you see that all of the job listings are looking for experience with Salesforce, then you want to note that and make sure that you have that in your resume … And the most important ones should be in the very top description. And then you should try to work them into other sections of the resume as well.”
Rodgers noted that even though it’s important to plug in search terms, you want to make sure your resume reads naturally.
“If your resume gets in front of a human and it reads like a robot wrote it, that's not going to go over well,” he said. “[This] can help your resume make it past the applicant tracking system and in front of an actual human."
Don’t get too creative
There are plenty of different creative, colorful and unique resume templates available online but making a statement might not be the best option to get your resume viewed. Sometimes, funky fonts and formats can create technical issues in the tracking system.
Rodgers said most employers are looking for efficiency instead of creativity unless you're in a creative field such as graphic design.
Keep it brief
It's best to limit your resume to one page as long as it allows you to clearly express your value as an employee. This enables employers to quickly review your experience while receiving a high-level overview.
Focus on your online presence
While hunting for a job, your professional online presence is just as important as your physical resume. It’s important for job seekers to have active social media profiles including LinkedIn and, if applicable, personal websites.
“You want to look at yourself as a brand,” he said. “And so what does it look like when someone searches for you? … Do you have personal social media accounts that are appearing that maybe … don't present you in a way that matches what you want to present professionally?"
Rodgers reiterated that a personal website showcasing portfolio work and experience can be a very powerful tool for candidates and that it's important to keep a consistent profile between the hard copy and online versions of your resume.