Managing an SEO team requires being very active throughout the hiring process. As the business grows or when a team member moves onto another opportunity headcount opens and the fun kicks into overdrive. Shockingly, most of the “fun” for potential candidates comes to a screeching halt the second they provide their resume. After reviewing dozens recently I thought providing some advice on crafting a successful SEO resume would be helpful for the community.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation Oh My!
It is critical you proofread your resume multiple times for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Then have a friend review it. I review my resume at least five times, and then seek my wife’s scrutiny before I send it to the hiring manager. This is hyper-critical for agency SEO positions. In an agency you will create deliverables for well-paying clients. Put some effort into your resume because it is incredibly irritating reading sumthing woth speling airs.
Here are just a few common mistakes:
HTML , PHP , and XML
Yes, Facebook is “Facebook.” YouTube is “YouTube.” If you are not 100% certain about a brand’s official name go to their website and look at the copyright notice. A proper notice will include their correct name. Also, LinkedIn is “LinkedIn” and not Linkedin. I know their nifty logo displays a capitalized L and a lowercase i, but trust me they are officially known as LinkedIn.
One of the last resumes I reviewed had twelve of these such errors. One error might be overlooked, but you better be a serious rock star otherwise there is no chance of landing an interview. An SEO resume with multiple errors has no shot.
Results, Results, Results
A resume should characterize your skills and competencies. A hiring manager wants to know that a candidate has on-page optimization, technical SEO, mobile SEO and/or keyword research experience. However, listing every element and task of an SEO campaign is not enough. A successful resume will also highlight results.
Stating you optimized 1,000 pages for a Fortune 500 website is dandy. Failing to mention the fruits of your labor creates a mystery about your work. Are you not mentioning the results because those 1,000 pages lost all keyword rankings and organic referral traffic plummeted? A resume detailing results will always standout over a resume without results.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Remember what type of job you are seeking my dear SEO colleagues. Your resume and interview will most likely be managed by an SEO. It is our nature and job to search. Expect whatever you put in your resume will be audited with an online inquiry. Further, the SEO community is quite close and everyone is connected to someone. If you state you worked at Company A and I have a close friend there I will ping that friend (unless it is your current position).
If there is definite overlap with my friend’s tenure and your claimed tenure and my connection has no clue who you are that will not bode well. Now my lawyer skills will come into play and I will cross-examine my friend. I want to make sure there are no remote offices or that the marketing team was not comprised of several hundreds. If that connection is part of a five person marketing team and there is no chance the candidate worked at that company then there is little chance that candidate is getting an interview.
Do not state you are adept at technical SEO in your resume unless you know technical SEO. If you are hired and then are given a site audit task you will be expected to deliver a site audit. It would be a shame if you did not know how to identify the <head> and <body> sections of a site. It would be terrible if you gave a thumbs up to a Flash built site with no down-level experience for the engines.
If you send your resume and notice an error later then send an updated resume immediately. That shows you at least care and can identify mistakes. Please take this advice to heart so you are not passed up for the dream opportunity. Great SEO positions are rare and you want to capitalize on your experience. Do not defeat your chances right out of the gate.