Sound SEO Resume Advice

SEO ResumeManaging 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:

FaceBook
facebook
Google anlytics
Youtube
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.

Brand Names

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.

11 thoughts on “Sound SEO Resume Advice

  1. I totally agree with honesty being the best policy. Two reason’s firstly it works and secondly an interview is not just for the company hiring but the person geting interviewed. It is a two way discussion. Why go in pretending you can do something you can’t, if the jobs not for you, don’t take it.

  2. /agree. Been on tons of interviews and most of the time it is me ruling the company out as an option.

    I once asked in a panel interview why each member liked working at the company. The first answer was something to the effect of, “I do not know. I barely feel like a cog in a wheel.”

    I pretty much shut the door on that opportunity once that was blurted out.

  3. Anyone who reads a resume has different point of view. The key is the information on resume is highly-impact value for everyone. If it takes you more than one page to accurately describe your duties and talents that are very important.

  4. Thanks for this site, I have read some really great tips for SEO and for making my websites better. Keep up the good work?

  5. @Garth, I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn’t put the sites you last worked on because that would reveal your employer’s clients. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the results were due to *your* efforts… Any thoughts on that?

    Anyway, here’s my SEO resume: http://slidesha.re/WvSbid
    You guys think it’s good? ;-)

    • Rohan,

      My employer boasts our client list and who wouldn’t when the likes of Microsoft, P&G and other Fortune 100 companies are on it. From a hiring perspective I need to know if you can handle the sites we work on. You need international and enterprise level experience when developing an SEO strategy for Microsoft.com and you also need deep technical SEO skills to work on a site of that magnitude. If I do not see those kind of sites in your portfolio then I am probably going to pass on your resume.

      You certainly can measure success of SEO implementation. When I change the URL writing rules, or Title Tag publishing rules for a sites with 10,000 plus URLs I see an immediate and drastic change in the metrics. I do agree it is more difficult to measure success when you change a Title Tag, Description Tag and H1 Tag for a specific page. However, the difficulty is in the scalability. Now you must look at the page specific performance and if you have touched several hundred pages your reporting can become cumbersome.

      Track your engineering releases and marry those release dates to your organic metrics. You should be able to see increases or decreases. Compare those metrics to years past when that specific site or sites were not implementing SEO. You will see a difference.

      Hope that helps.

  6. Hi Garth, it is true that resume is very important while someone is looking for a job. One thing that shouldn’t be wrong is other people brand’s.

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