If you’re looking for a job in today’s competitive marketplace, it’s important to start with a stellar resume, but you’ll also want to take advantage of SEO (search engine optimization) to make sure you stand out from the crowd—and that potential employers find you and your mad skill set.
Try these six foolproof techniques to maximize your visibility online.
1. Launch a Personal Website to “Own” Your Space Online
One of the main values of search engine optimization (essentially, making sure your web presence appears high on a search engine’s list of results), is being able to “own” your real estate online.
For most people, a personal website (try for yourname.com) will be the start to owning the #1 search result for your name—with positive content created about you, by you, ready to wow a potential employer.
2. Do Your Keyword Research
A key component of any SEO’s job is keyword research. Apply those same skills to your job hunt. Sure, you’re a “marketing manager” now, but does that title really convey what you hope to do?
You could also consider jobs in content marketing, marketing automation, product marketing, B2B marketing, ecommerce marketing or something else. Titles differ per company, and you often need to go a bit farther afield than your current title to find exactly what you’re looking for.
For example, as a senior content professional, I might search titles like director of content strategy, director of digital strategy, director of digital content, editorial director and more—modifying the “director” level to include similar career levels like “principal” or “vice president” and even “senior manager.”
Small firms are more likely to have VPs with similar experience, where some large firms have senior managers with 15 to 20 years of professional expertise. Being more open to the title, and more refined on the corporate fit, job duties and salary can often be of service in your hunt.
3. Create a Personal Headline
What do you want to be? No, this isn’t a New Age–y “vision” exercise. Sites like LinkedIn offer you the ability to create a personal “headline” that describes not just the job you currently have, but the skills you have that you’ll take to your next job.
Think of it this way: What would I want to Google to find someone like … me?
You might be an “Experienced B2B Public Relations Executive” or a “Front End Drupal Developer.” Back up that headline to optimize particular sections of your website, and take those keywords into your resume and your social profiles as well. (My SEO writing course shows these techniques in more depth.)
4. Optimize (and Clean Up) Your Space Online
Beyond your personal website, your social handles are often the top results when someone searches your name. If you use these handles professionally and effectively, this can be a great way to further brand yourself in the industry.
Of course, regular publication of job-related content can’t hurt either. (And, while you’re at it, check out these great ways social media can help you land a job.)
5. Weave Your Key Terms Into Your Resume and Cover Letter
Now that you’ve written your personal headline, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want people to Google to find you. Are those key terms in your resume?
Many jobs use resume-parsing software, similar to the way search engines comb content, and if you are missing the terms they’re seeking, you’ll never make it past the computer and onto a key HR professional’s desk for review.
I’m not talking about words like “innovative” or “visionary.” Skip the corporate buzzwords and go straight to the skills: If you work with a marketing automation software like Pardot, include the brand name. Have analytics experience? Say so, in detail. If you’re looking for a job in content marketing and that title isn’t part of your job description, you can still convey your experience in your detailed description of duties or cover letter.
6. Use Those SEO Skills in Reverse to Research a Company
The same techniques you’ve applied to your resume can be used in reverse as well. Do a search for the hiring manager’s name online and pull up their LinkedIn profile before speaking. Did you attend similar colleges or have connections in common? Can you find information about the company online that can help you prep for the job—or a potential red flag that might warn you away?
You can also use similar queries to find jobs posted online through company websites that may not appear on job boards.