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July 26, 2010

Ways to Get Your Resume Seen Online

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Ways to Get Your Resume Seen Online

Barbara Warden, Marketing and Resume Writing Consultant

Posting a successful online resume requires techniques most candidates just don't know. Resume search terms, resume SEO, data retrieval rules: These are key factors.

Here are the top five tips to enhance resume performance -- both in online search engines and at organizations that store resumes in their own databases.

1. Keywords, Keywords

If your resume doesn't repeat the right keywords (or search terms), numerous times, searchers are unlikely to find it. It's a sad fact, but resumes are ranked based on how many times they repeat the right keywords. And when recruiters search for financial analysts in New York, the list runs into thousands, but they'll scan only the top resumes: the "best match" resumes. And those are the resumes with the most keywords. If you wrote your own resume, one thing is certain: You need more keywords. No one puts enough keywords in their own resume.? For more details, read on.

2. Critical Keywords -- Job Titles/Job Descriptions

When headhunters and hiring managers search for candidates, they use the major, definitive elements of the job. Keywords are not "cross-functional," "multi-tasking," "interpersonal skills," or other nice-to-include descriptive jargon. Those are good to have somewhere (if relevant), but only once or twice at most.

Instead, your resume should repeat basic, core search terms. Job titles -- creative director, business analyst, CFO. Job descriptions -- creative direction, business process analysis, corporate finance. These should be repeated in your resume's headline, opening section, every job description -- wherever you can fit them.

3. Synonyms

You don't know exactly which keywords your dream employer uses. So to cover all the bases, you also need synonyms: comparable titles and parallel job descriptions.

For example, for sales, your dream employer will certainly use "sales," so your resume should repeat this word often. (Remember, no one puts enough keywords in their own resume.) But employers also use their own terms, so you have to squeeze others in, too: account manager, account executive, sales representative -- you get the idea. If you didn't hold these actual titles, use them in your job descriptions.

So if you're a software developer, repeat that. Numerous times. But also squeeze in phrases like programmer, programmer analyst, software engineer, web developer, if possible.

For example: List your title as "Software Developer," but say, "Served as software engineer and lead programmer analyst for ...." Don't go repeating company-specific titles like "SW Spec B." This gets you nowhere.

Here's a good, keyword-loaded job description opener: "Promoted from Software Developer to Senior Software Developer to serve as lead programmer / analyst for major software development / software engineering projects."

4. Qualifications Summaries

Another way to up your keyword count: opening summaries. These enable your resume to highlight your most relevant strengths immediately -- and also offer another opportunity to reiterate keywords.

5. Resume Keyword Lists

Finally, list specific terms. It's a perfect way to showcase your diverse skills and add even more keywords. You don't have to name it a nerdy "Keywords." Label your table "Strengths" or "Expertise," listing 3-4 keywords per line in a professional, organized appearance. Here, you can cite general search terms ("application development," "software engineering," "programming") and specialties ("Web development," "Web-based applications").

Following these five resume rules will drastically boost your online resume hits. Good luck!

Barbara Gail Warden is a former corporate marketing executive, now a marketing and resume writing consultant; she writes for, the official resume partner of Yahoo! HotJobs.

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