Resume SEO: All You Need to Know

Making your resume search engine friendly is not a bad idea in a world that would come to a standstill if the Internet disappeared tomorrow.

You should then strongly consider placing a resume online where search engines may find it and where you may direct future employers, especially if you turn it into a personal brand website that shows the world what you are all about, With your resume, videos, images and your own blog.

Think About It from Google’s Perspective

There is no need for your resume to be popular on social media, especially if you only targeting two or three companies. Instead of thinking of your resume as a traffic magnet, think of it as a research resource. If people search for your name, you want your resume to appear as near to the first page as possible. Read Google’s article called, “Do you need SEO” and make your own decision on how to proceed.

My Thoughts - I have seen students spend weeks making their online resume as popular as possible, and they all wasted their time. They made their LinkedIn profiles and their blogs with their resumes on as popular as they could, but when I Googled them, I saw their posts, what other people had written about them, and a bunch of strangers’ profiles, but not their resume.

Pay attention to keywords

Yes, you should! Although Google has stopped worrying about keywords (thanks to the Hummingbird update), you still need to include them in your resume. For a start, the world still uses Google by using search terms. Without keywords your resume stands little chance of being found. Also, many large companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to filter resumes. ATS programs scan resumes for keywords and key phrases. Without them your resume will simply be passed over and not make it to the human review stage. Use variations of phrases used in the job description/advertisement in your resume and application cover letter.  

My thoughts – it is important to include relevant words and phrases particularly important to the position you are applying for, but do not overstuff your resume with keywords. If you are unsure, there are handy tools to help identify the keywords you should focus on. Try Tagcrowd or Wordle. I also advise you to be clever and use both the acronym and spelled out forms for job titles, professional qualifications, certifications, society memberships and accreditations. This will ensure you have covered the format any ATS searches for.

Add Photos Everywhere Please!

If you want people to find you and your resume, then you need to add images. Add a photo of you to every social media account you have. Don’t have a picture of the beach or your jeep. Add at least three photos of yourself to your online resume, and get them listed on Google images under your name.

My Thoughts - If I receive an application and I am doing research into that person, I Google that person’s name. If I don’t see anything about that person, I click on Google images to find their image and see whatever is written about that person on the website that hosts the picture. Add pictures to your online resume and employers will find you. Also, dating sites and blogs offer the best information on how to take the best profile pictures, try this article on photos starters, and always take plenty of photos, so you have more to choose from.

Don’t just optimize your pictures (even though that is important), you also need to do a top-down reengineering of your social media profiles in a way that demonstrates your personality and industry knowledge. Your social media profiles need to be dripping with your personal brand and the principles you stand for. If you are looking for a job in brand management, marketing and/or in social media, then optimizing your social media profiles is of huge importance.

Be Very Careful with Links

Getting backlinks to your online resume, be it on LinkedIn, or more preferable on your own blog, is a very good thing. It gives employers more ways to find your resume, but they can also be very damaging too. The anchor text is the text that people click on to reach your resume. Try to make your anchor text your name only. If you cannot manage that, then at least try to have your name in the anchor text somewhere.

My Thoughts - A student paid a Middle Eastern company to post 30 links to his online resume from high-ranking websites. When I tried to search for his resume, the Google search engine results were a mess and I found myself being distracted by the other websites that appeared in the search engine results. Link Backs (backlinks) are good, but keep it simple and use your name in the anchor text.


The tips listed above are only applicable if you have a good resume to start with. Think about it in marketing terms, is it easier to sell a nice tomato or a rotten tomato? Invest some time to into writing and perfecting your resume.

Author's Bio: Eva Wislow is a career coach and writer at  Careers Booster resume writing service. She loves to help people challenge themselves and achieve their most ambitious career goals. In her free time she enjoys reading, yoga and discussing marketing trends.