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SEO for Your Resume


​Search Engine Optimization, is an Internet marketing technique used to increase a website's ranking on search engines such as Yahoo and Google.  You probably wouldn’t think that SEO would apply to writing a resume.  But it does! ​​​​

Why?  Because recruiters do “keyword” or Boolean searches for resumes on a regular basis.  It’s important to keep in mind that a recruiter will only  spend an average about 30 seconds reviewing a resume.  If you don't get our attention at the top half of your resume we will never get to the bottom half.


Summary of Qualifications

Resumes get interviews. People get jobs.  You want to put your strengths and accomplishments on the top and make it very clear what it is you want.  This can be accomplished by using a Summary of Qualifications statement.  In essence, this is your “elevator pitch.”  It should contain as many of the keywords found in the job posting or job description.


​​A Summary of Qualifications should highlight what you bring to the table to your potential employer.  Answer the following questions: What is your profession?, What are your areas of expertise?,  What industry is your experience in?  What two major accomplishments differentiate you as a candidate?, and What do you want?

What Recruiters Look for


A resume is a marketing tool that should be simple to read, well organized and concise.  A recruiter should easily see what you’ve done, who you’ve done it for, what you want to do now and how much relevant experience you have in the industry.  This is the information recruiters look for.

A good place to start composing a resume is by obtaining a copy of your job description.  Search major job boards for the job description you want.  If you’re currently employed and you get an annual performance review then you can find “keywords” in your review document.  Reviews usually break out your responsibilities according to skill sets and areas of responsibilities. 

Know the Lingo

Keep in mind that the recruiter screening the resume may not be an expert in the field.    Recruiters look for those “keywords” that match the job description.  Today the trend is that companies want you to be a “jack of all trades”.  This is particularly the case for “new media” jobs.  Whether you’re an entry level candidate or an experienced professional coming from a television or dot com environment it’s particularly important to be familiar with the lingo for those areas.  The “lingo” should appear in your resume. 


Customize Your Resume


If you want SEO to work for your resume, then customize it for each job you’re applying for.  For example, an Internet Marketing Managers’ resume should have all social media relevant experience on it and words or acronyms such as “SEO”, “Click Rate”, “Unique Visitors.”   It’s OK to skip the non-related job responsibilities.  Remember that the resume is only an “overview” or outline of your experience.  Save further explanations for the job interview.

What to Exclude


Take into consideration what things you "want" to do in your next job.  For example;  an Associate Producer may know how to edit video, may have experience in it but doesn't want to edit.  Doesn’t like doing it.  The person may not even be good at it.  So the word “edit” shouldn’t appear anywhere on the resume.  The reverse is also true.  If you want to write and are “good” at it then that word should appear  several times throughout your resume.  You may not want to list skills you’re not good at because if it’s on your resume it will be assumed you can do it and may be called upon to utilize it at some point.

Sample Keyword Search

The search criteria for Media Planner which requires a 4 year degree, proficiency in MRI Research, TNS, DDS, Access and strong quantitative analytical skills; (formatted as a Boolean search) may include the following:

“media planner” AND “media planning”, “analytical skills” AND “MRI Research”, OR “TNS”, AND/OR “DDS” AND  AND “bachelor degree”.

These are all “keywords” that appear on the job description and are required skills, education, and experience that are necessary to perform the job.

The search criteria for a “Digital Content Producer” might include:

“Digital Content Producer” AND "shot interviews" AND "screened guests" AND "wrote scripts" AND "cleared rights" OR "coordinated logistics" OR "Digital News Gathering"- (this is an example of “industry lingo”) OR "non-linear editing" OR "Final Cut Pro" (Another example of Industry lingo).  

All these words might be part of the job description.  These words are also “required” skills or necessary experience for a Video Field Producer.  The search criteria above will pull up all resumes containing those words in it. 


Company Names are Important


Besides skills and education a recruiter will look for well known company names in the specific industry.  In the case of a News Producer, it may include company names such as ABC News, CBS News, and CNN.

If a recruiter is looking for a Field Producer to work on “Good Morning America” which is an ABC Network news program, the keywords search may include the following: 

“The Today Show”, “NBC”,  “Good Day New York”, “Fox News”.  As a recruiter, I want to find potential candidates from the competition or from companies that do the same thing ABC does.   This is why recruiters include the competing networks call letters such as NBC or the names of shows that compete with GMA.  Therefore  you should also include the names of the companies you have worked for on your resume.

The Internet is NOT a “Black Hole.”  Recruiters conduct searches on job boards and their own applicant tracking systems for candidates.  They do this because it’s the least expensive way to fill a position.  Recruiters DO actually look at resumes that come in through a company’s website or that they find through the general job boards in response to an ad.   This means that besides posting your resume on websites such as Monster,  you must also post it on the company website.   Most applicants never get a response.  That’s because of the volume of resumes recruiters deal with on a daily basis.  Be patient, do your research and definitely apply.

About the author:  Delia Camasca started her career in media as a Television Producer working for major broadcasting companies.  The last 15 years she’s been a Human Resource professional managing all aspects of HR and recruiting for companies such as NBC Universal, Disney ABC Media Networks, Lifetime Networks, and Warner Brothers/DC Comics.  She’s been responsible for recruiting top talent for all types of media positions.  She now works as a Career Coach and Talent Acquisition Specialist with an emphasis in media.  She is active on many of the most popular social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


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