"SE-what?" I hear you say. SEO stands for "search engine optimisation" and involves the use of keywords and phrases to make text on the web more noticeable and appear higher on search sites like Google.
You might not think SEO applies to CVs and that you don't need to worry about it but you'll be missing a trick if you forget to make it search-friendly. Employers regularly search online for potential employees and the last thing you want is to be invisible, or worse still, outdated.
By applying a bit of digital SEO magic to your CV you'll not only help build your personal brand, but you'll dramatically increase your chances of showing up in recruiter searches and being targeted for interview.
Why should I "SEO" my CV?
FACT: The average recruiter spends just 30 seconds looking at a CV.
Spending a few hours crafting a killer CV and making it internet friendly is crucial. A whopping 90% of recruiters now post jobs on LinkedIn and Twitter so if you're not on there with a CV crying out to be read then you'll be missing out on some great opportunities.
Recruiters have to wade through hundreds of CVs and sometimes have little time to spend looking at them. Some use automated software to search for keywords related to the position and if your CV doesn't contain the right phrases your job search can be killed off before it's even begun.
Optimising your CV is the difference between the shortlist and the reject pile. By creating catchy headlines and including key job titles or descriptions in your uploaded CV you will seriously increase your chances of getting noticed.
Five things you must do to SEO your CV
- Create an attention-grabbing headline
Carve out something that is eye-catching. Consider using headline-type formatting, leading with your job title in bold rather than your old employer's name. The more exciting the better. Just remember to keep it accurate!
- Use the right key words
Use the same terms as employers. Check out job ad titles and see what skills they are looking for. Scope out the LinkedIn profiles of people with your desired job.
- Add social media profiles
90% of recruiters have visited a candidate's social media pages as part of the hiring process. Add yours to your CV but make sure it's professional – no compromising pictures or drunken rants!
- Be specific
For example, millions of people use Microsoft Office, so make sure you put in the specific programmes you have experience with. Similarly, with job titles, be specific – marketing analytics manager is a lot more likely to be searched for than the more generic marketing professional.
- Use LinkedIn
It's a great tool which allows you to create a winning profile, upload your CV, search for jobs and research the key words employers are using.
It's tough out there in the job seekers' market so make sure you're making the most of any opportunities by transforming your CV from average to amazing.