Do you feel like you're an expert at getting clients to rank for certain keywords or objectives? Well, are you equally as good at marketing your own services and maximizing resume visibility? Just as you do with websites, blog posts, and search terms, you have to work hard to ensure your resume is seen by as many people as possible. Additionally, it needs to effectively capture your skills, qualifications, and personality. 

Learn From These 5 Tips

Did you know that recruiters and those responsible for hiring people only spend an average of five to seven seconds looking at a resume? What about the fact that only 35 percent of applicants are even qualified for the jobs they apply for? Assuming you are qualified for the jobs and contracts you apply for, this means you have to find a way to quickly make an impression while simultaneously proving your qualifications. Here are some tangible tips to get you started:

1. Quickly list education/qualifications. Regardless of how brief it is, every resume needs a section that lists educational background and qualifications. And instead of placing it at the very end - which seems to be a trend these days - do the reader a favor and put it at the very beginning. This prevents them from having to search for that information and gives them a better feel for who you are and where you've been. 

2. Play up soft skills. While your qualifications may get your resume in front of the right eyes, it's the personal qualities, attitudes, and habits that help you stand out. According to this blog post from CBT Nuggets, soft skills are able to boost a resume unlike anything else. They take you from just another "qualified" professional to a qualified professional that's also likeable and dependable. 

3. Link to a portfolio. If you're honest with yourself, it's impossible to accurately convey your talents without showing some in-depth proof or case studies. While it's not appropriate to include them in your actual resume (brevity is much appreciated), it's certainly okay to link to an external website or portfolio. 

4. Use keywords and job-specific language. As someone who deals with keywords and semantic structure on a daily basis, you don't need to be reminded of the importance of using job-specific language - but it does bear reemphasizing. Any time you're reaching out to a potential client or employer, it's critical that you study the style and tone of their content and language. This will guide you in how you should structure your resume.

5. Focus on niche/specific skills and experience. Somewhere along the line, western culture has inundated us with the idea that more is better. Well, when it comes to resumes, the opposite is often true. While you don't want to omit important information, you should find concise ways to convey the value you bring to the table. Focus on niche skills that few others have, as opposed to some generalized talent that's a dime a dozen. 

The issue with tips like these is that most people feel like they don't apply to them. Well, let's make one thing clear: If you want to be competitive in today's increasingly congested SEO industry, you need to follow these tips. They'll help you stand out above the phonies and prevent you from blending in with the stream of other resumes you're likely competing against. 

Don't Make These Resume-Killing Mistakes

In addition to utilizing these tips, there are also some shortcomings, oversights, and pitfalls you'll want to avoid. Specifically, try not to make the following resume-killing mistakes:

Keyword stuffing. One of the biggest turnoffs for businesses and job recruiters is keyword stuffing. While it may (and the keyword is may) help you increase visibility, it's a sure-fire way to make a bad first impression on the reader. It makes them feel like they're indispensable, or just another reader. Instead, you should focus on one or two valuable keywords that show you've paid attention to their core values and needs. Think about it in terms of how you would approach an SEO campaign for one of your clients. Instead of going after 25 generic search terms, you would be much better off targeting three specific long tail terms.

Too much experience. If you're well into your career, you may not want to list all of your work experience. Despite being illegal, many hiring decision-makers associate lots of experience with being too old and dated. For best results, focus on the past 10 to 15 years of your career when listing accomplishments and job history. 

No clear flow. Does your resume have a clear and identifiable flow? What about a primary focus? Nothing is worse than a scatterbrained resume that leaves the reader wondering what they just read. Everything you put on your resume should fit into a neat, concise section. If it can't fit in one of these sections, it probably doesn't need to be included. Resume structure comes in a close second to content, as it pertains to value and importance. 

Sometimes the only way to avoid mistakes is to make them and learn. However, with a little knowledge and understanding, you can avoid these blunders altogether. 

Start Selling Yourself

Ultimately, a valuable resume is one which sells the individual, not the skills. While you may be one of the most talented and progressive SEOs in the industry, what sets you apart from a personal point of view? Businesses want to hire people they can count on time after time. Having a particular skillset will only benefit you so much - so avoid making it the focus of your resume. Instead, use this brief document as a valuable testimonial that relates to who you are and why you're right for the job. 

June 23, 2015

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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Search Engine Guide > Jayson DeMers > 5 Resume Tips Designed to Help SEOs Land Competitive Jobs