More and more industries are using “search engine optimization” – “SEO” – in their recruiting efforts, which includes identifying specific keywords in resumes to find the right employees, talent acquisition professionals say.
So it’s worth considering: Is your resume keyword-rich, allowing it to rise to the top and helping you land a great new job?
“Recruiters use SEO word search to find candidates with desired qualifications for roles based on keywords in their resume,” Jill Chapman, director of initial talent programs at Insperity and based in Houston, Texas, tells FOX Business.
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“These SEO keywords are often based on the language used in the job posting,” he explains.
How you can use SEO to get your resume noticed
Ideally, you should adapt your resume and cover letter to the language of the job posting when applying for jobs, including relevant keywords, says Chapman.
The same goes for creating your LinkedIn profile or personal website.
You can also add the most common terms related to the industry in general, says Chapman.
That might mean listing specific skills, experience, or credentials that recruiters look for in strong candidates in general.
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“By using the right language, candidates increase the likelihood that recruiters will see their resume,” says Chapman.
Why is it important for a resume to include keywords?
Due to time constraints or high application counts, recruiters can use SEO word searches to narrow the pool of applicants significantly, according to Chapman.
For this reason, it is very important for applicants to be part of that pool if they want to stand out, he added.
“Just as a Google search will return results based on the search term used, a search within an applicant tracking system will return resumes that match the terms the recruiter is looking for,” says Chapman.
“If candidates don’t use relevant language in their resume or application, their resume may never reach recruiters, especially if recruiters receive hundreds of applications for a position,” he also says.
How do SEO and applicant tracking systems work?
SEO searches often occur in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — software recruiters, employers, and HR managers use to track and manage candidates throughout the recruiting and hiring process, according to Chapman.
“This search through ATS automatically scans resumes for keywords relevant to a job,” he says.
Many large companies use these tracking systems to manage recruitment due to the large number of applicants, he notes.
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“Some recruiters may rely on the automated search function to show them the right candidates, while others may prefer manual search with the system,” says Chapman.
Why is it is it important to use the right keywords in resume?
You should only include honest experience, educational information, and talents in your resume, experts say.
“Recruiters have a lot of practice identifying lies in resumes and skills gaps,” Raleigh, North Carolina-based Liz Hogan, manager of digital partnerships with Find My Profession, told FOX Business.
“As a result of using ATS, there has been an increase in the inclusion of skills and experience on resumes that job seekers may not necessarily have,” he added.
In the past, a trend has also emerged for job seekers to include job postings right at the bottom of their resumes in white font, to “trick” the ATS, Hogan said.
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However, every job seeker should consider that human recruiters will eventually be reviewing resumes and potentially interviewing candidates, he stressed.
Is a professional needed to create an SEO-friendly resume?
You can certainly try to create a targeted resume with SEO keywords by looking for a guide on how to write a resume targeted for your particular industry, say the experts.
“It will take a lot of research, effort, and time, but an individual can put together a good, to-the-point resume,” says Hogan. “I would recommend this for entry-level positions.”
However, when applying for senior positions, such as executive or director roles, Hogan recommends getting professional help, as the stakes are higher.
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Other situations in which Hogan recommends professional resume skills include “applying for your dream role at your dream company” or “switching to a completely different industry.”
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A professional with experience in this area “can produce a targeted resume much more quickly” — allowing you to “throw the hat in before the job posting closes,” he adds.