Search engine optimization isn't just for websites anymore.

SEO Your Resume in Three Easy StepsWeb designers and content writers know the value of optimization. They incorporate keywords and commonly-used string searches so their sites appear near the top of search results. Now, to move your resume to the top of the electronic pile and capture the reviewer's attention, you need to be familiar with three composition fundamentals as well.

You must use all three techniques, because reviewers initially identify contenders by searching a database using keywords before quickly glancing at each resume to narrow the field. Now here's how to use the techniques to optimize your resume.

Identify and Incorporate Keywords

Keywords describe the required skills, experience and competencies in a job posting. Find them by reading the job description or searching the Dice database; clicking the "Refine Results" tab and identifying the most frequently mentioned words. For example, a search of database administrator positions reveals that development (1381), SQL (1296), design (1221), security (1002) and communication (997) appear most often. Now, repeat the keywords as you create experience, task and accomplishment bullets. The added frequency may improve your placement. Of course, you'll get more interviews by modifying the keywords in your resume each time you apply, so it always appears near the top of search results..

Grab the Reviewer's Attention in 10 Seconds

Incorporate critical keywords at the top of your resume, preferably in a headline or objective statement, and create separation by conveying your personal brand. Here's an example using keywords from the DBA search.

Expert SQL database administrator, proficient at analyzing, developing, testing and implementing secure database designs, while effectively communicating with managers across dynamic environments.

Promote Your Brand

Keep the reviewer's attention while bolstering your brand by listing a summary of your relevant qualifications under the headline. The examples below include critical keywords and address the top requirements from a DBA job posting on Dice. Note that the reviewer should be able to connect-the-dots between your summary bullets and the top requirements in the job posting.

  • Developed 15 unique databases using data modeling techniques and logical designs, creating efficiencies throughout the enterprise
  • Maintained 10 SQL databases by monitoring performance standards,  database security and designing backup and recovery strategies that increased the timeliness and integrity of customer invoices
  • Designed, developed and implemented a database performance scorecard to communicate with managers domiciled in five countries

Other SEO tips:

  • Consider registering a personal domain name or converting your resume into a Web page. This will help reviewers find your resume through Internet searches.
  • Bolster your brand by incorporating keywords in your profile on sites like Facebook, and even in the title of your resume: Professional Resume of John Brown_Expert DBA.
  • Include a keywords summary at the bottom of your resume to pick-up variations such as: data base admin, SQL DBA, software database administrator, SQL Server Database Administrator.

Have your own tips? Share them by posting a comment below.

-- Leslie Stevens-Huffman