Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Resume SEO Part 2: Keyword Resume Template

A reader asked me to provide a resume template to demonstrate the tips in Resume SEO: How to Pump Up the Keywords Without Turning Off Recruiters. Here's the link to the document I created in response: Keyword Resume Template. Thanks for suggesting it!

I created this template with technology specialists in mind. We're an IT staffing company so that's what I know best. However, I think it could be adapted for other fields.

I modified an existing MS Word template and added some keyword sections headings to make the resume more readable and more SEO friendly. I inserted some tips to explain my reasoning.

Here's the result:

I hope you find this resume template helpful. Your questions, comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome!

Related Articles:

Tim Collins

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Resume SEO Part 1: Pump Up the Keywords Without Turning Off Recruiters

How do you add keywords to your resume and still make it readable? The secret is to insert keywords in places that help both recruiters and search engines to quickly skim your resume and determine if you're qualified.

What is Resume SEO? Recruiters use keyword searches to mine for resumes in job boards and resume databases. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for resumes means including enough of the right keywords in your resume so that your resume gets picked up by search engines during a keyword search.

Define keyword. Keywords are nouns, phrases and buzzwords or jargon that detail your skills and relate to the position or industry. Examples: MS (Microsoft), PM (product manager), SQL Server, HR (human resources), MBA, technical writer, data delivery, administrative assistant, developing, creating.

Keyword dumps don't work. You may be tempted to try to trick the search engines into putting your resume at the top of the list by dumping a load of keywords on the first page. When I see a keyword dump and no real experience on the first page of a resume I assume that this person is not qualified.

How to Balance Keywords with Readability
  1. Add Keyword Summary section to your resume: It's probably best to limit this to less than 50 keywords. Section out the Keyword Summary with the same formatting that you use to define sections in the rest of your resume. This enables the recruiter to quickly skim the heading and move to the next section.
  2. Insert a Technical Environment description (or Skills Summary list) with each job in your Employment Experience section. Use a subheading to separate this list from the list of skills and accomplishments for that job. The Technical Environment/Skills Summary helps recruiters determine what specific skills you used for each position.
  3. Insert a Technical Skills table that shows all programs, software and technical skills you know well and the number of years of experience you have with each. IT recruiters love these tables because it helps them quickly figure out if you have the required number of years of experience.
  4. Within your description of each position in your Employment Experience section highlight specific capabilities such as technical skills, communications skills, organizational skills or management abilities you demonstrated in that role.
  5. Use different keywords forms. If you use “coordination” in your Skills summary, use “coordinate” in the body of your resumé. Use both full keywords and acronyms.
  6. Don’t go overboard! Your resume still needs to be readable.
Read Next: Resume SEO Part Two: Keyword Resume Template

Tim Collins

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Hidden Job Market: How Tim Got In!

Here's an excerpt from Katherine Moody's interview with Tim Collins:

Tim Collins is founder and President of Toronto-based Stafflink Solutions, a full service permanent and contract IT recruiting firm. I’m delighted to have had a chance to talk to Tim Collins recently about how he got 4 jobs through the hidden job market mechanism. And how networking has helped his company, Stafflink Solutions, have its best year ever! Continue...

Listen to the interview
See a transcript of the interview

About the Author
Katherine Moody is a networking guru and job search coach. For more tips on navigating the hidden job market I highly recommend Katherine Moody's blog Follow Katherine on Twitter @justathought99.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Five Tips to Stay Motivated During the Job Search

Finding the right job in today’s economy can be a daunting task. The search can be a lengthy and discouraging process. Before you throw in the towel or land the wrong job, why not “re-motivate” yourself? Staying motivated can be the largest predictor of your searching success. As a new member of the Stafflink team, I have recently experienced the obstacles associated with “job searching”. I have also been fortunate to reap the benefits from putting in a little extra work.

Tip #1: Make a schedule. Everyday outline what you want to accomplish in your job search and how you to plan to accomplish it. Break your search into specific tasks that you can focus your energy on. You are more likely to produce high quality work if you do not rush the process. Remember, the best positions are rarely found in 15 minutes so treat the search as a full-time job.

Tip #2: Separate “the glitter from the gold”. Apply for the positions you are interested in, instead of auto-sending resumes to the masses. In order to ensure long-term success, you have to be able to envision yourself enjoying the position. Record each individual you contact, for what position and the details associated with each exchange. When an employer contacts you for an opportunity, it doesn’t fair well if you don’t remember applying for the position. By referring to the details of the job description or your last interaction with the contact you can easily start to build a positive rapport.

Tip #3: Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice your interviewing skills. The most successful candidates will know how to effectively market themselves. Find a job which interests you and write statements about how your strengths will benefit that position. If you are unsure of your strengths, ask former employers, professors or colleagues.

Tip #4: Find your “wow” factor. Every piece of work you submit to an employer showcases your abilities. Exceed the company’s expectations and you will make a lasting impression. Everyone sends in a resume and a cover letter so why not show the company you are interested by taking the time to go above and beyond? If you think the contact is busy, take the time to consolidate your profile or record your resume as a podcast. Give the employer something unique to remember you by (a sample piece of work, a link to a blog, a candidate portfolio, etc.)

Tip #5: Count your successes. Job searching can be draining. When you receive positive feedback, reward yourself. Each step in the process should be seen as a business goal. If you receive a call back, expand your network or land an interview, why not celebrate? Remember every opportunity presents a chance for learning and practice.

The impression you make on an employer will be lasting so be creative in your job search from beginning to end. Find a way to stand out from the crowd. If you can demonstrate to potential employers your strengths from the beginning, opportunities will arise.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Love What You Do

Blackberry's new tagline Love What You Do reminds me of how much I love my work and my Blackberry. It also reminds me of how much I admire what Research in Motion has done for Canada. They've created jobs for over 10,000 Canadians for one thing.

Loving What You Do is the challenge we all face, whether we're washing dishes or trouble-shooting code. Is the answer to quit your job and chase a dream? Is that what the founders of RIM did? Blackberry's success has nothing to do with quitting and everything to do with commitment.

Stay True To Your Vision. Mike Lazaradis and Jim Balsille had a big dream when they started RIM. They developed and sold their vision for push email  before most people were using email. Apple had not even invented the iPod.

RIM faced many challenges including a well publicized patent dispute. Even now RIM is being attacked by forecasters who question whether the Blackberry can compete with the iPhone and Android phones. But their track record proves that they have the creativity and commitment to meet the challenges no matter how enormous or expensive. Countless Canadians are counting on RIM to do whatever it is that do to keep surprizing us with awesome solutions.

BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research in Motion
Rod McQueen's Blackberry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion  is essentially about having dream and sticking with it. Now RIM employees well over 12,000 people, is Canada's foremost technology leader and is a leader in the worldwide mobile communications market. Apparently loving what you do has a lot to do with commitment and persistence.

"Love What You Do" is a challenge: Enjoy your work. Do work you can be proud of. Stay true to your dream.

The more you give, the more you get is an essential marketing principle. It applies to career development, relationships, real estate, business - everything. If you can't be in the job of your dreams right now then love the job you're in.

Love what you do right now and you'll be well on your way to your dream job.

Tim Collins