Stressed guy - How To Find SEO Jobs

How To Find SEO Jobs.  I’ve Been Making a Huge Mistake!

I’ve been applying to SEO jobs like a madman.  So far, not much luck.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit discouraging.  It’s made me step back and ask myself what am I doing wrong? and how can I optimize my job search strategy? 

What was I doing wrong?

Well for starters, I wasn’t using an ATS-friendly resume.  That’s a big mistake.

What is ATS you ask…

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Look for any SEO job on LinkedIn’s job board and you’ll see tons of people applying.  It’s not uncommon to see some jobs with over 100 applicants.  And that’s just one job on one job board.  

Do you think hiring managers are sifting through hundreds of resumes themselves?  Of course not, they are using software to perfect their search. 

That software is ATS, and it’s why 75% of resumes never see human eyes.

If ATS doesn’t like it.  It doesn’t reach a human no matter how qualified you might be.  So the question is, how do I make ATS like my resume?

Here is what I found…

What ATS Likes, What It Doesn’t

Keyword Optimization  

Every job description includes keywords and phrases that ATS is looking for.  If you build a resume targeting those specific keywords and phrases ATS will rank you higher than other candidates.  

Simple Formatting

I thought my resume wasn’t standing out because it wasn’t unique enough.  My plan was to make a nice eye-catching resume on Canva with shiny graphics.  I’m glad I didn’t waste my time doing that. 

Turns out, ATS has a hard time reading complex formatting.  They like straightforward formats.  It’s easier for them to read. 

Resumes with tables, graphics, images, and non-standard fonts are harder for them to read.  

Standard Sections 

Once again, don’t get too cute.  Think simple.  Show your contact info, a concise professional summary, work experience, education, and skills. 

Make sure to list work experience in reverse chronological order.  And if it’s not relevant to the job, you may just want to leave it out. 

Specific File Types

The wrong file type will be misinterpreted by ATS.  

ATS likes .doc or .docx best.  It also likes .pdf, .txt, and .rft.  

With that said, ATS isn’t always able to read PDFs especially if they have non-standard formats.  That was a real kick in the balls when I found that out.  Every single resume I’ve sent was in PDF form.  That probably means some of them were being immediately rejected by ATS.  

Typos and Errors 

This one should be common sense.  You’re going to get rejected fast by robots or humans if your resume is littered with typos and errors.  

Keyword, Keywords, Keywords

Use my SEO skills to build a better resume, you say.  Why didn’t I think of that from the beginning?

ATS loves keywords the same way Google loves keywords.  If you’re effectively able to use these keywords you’ll rank higher in the list of potential candidates.  

To find these keywords you really have to read through the job description. Or you can just copy the job description, paste it into ChatGPT, and ask “Could you read the following job description and find me 5-10 relevant keywords.”

These keywords will usually be job titles, skills, qualifications, and industry-specific terms.  If you apply to enough SEO jobs you’ll notice that certain keywords continually pop up.  

Tailor Made Resumes

That doesn’t mean, however, that you just create one resume with those popular keywords and mass apply.  You should be carefully going through each job description and tailor-make a resume for that specific job.  

I’ll admit it, I started my job hunt by mass applying with the same resume, and cover letter. Sometimes I would just switch the name of the position and company name on the cover letter, and that was all.  That’s just lazy. 

I know now, that if I’m actually going to land a job in this competitive field I’m going to have to think sniper not scattershot.  

Final Thoughts

Don’t get cute.  I know you think your Canva resume is really going to blow the hiring manager’s hair back, but if ATS deems it unreadable, which it likely will, then it will be lost in the black hole of applications never to be seen again.  

Here’s what I’m doing to create each new resume…

  • Downloaded a standard ATS-friendly resume.  Professor Heather Austinhas a good one.  I use it as my template.
  • Use ChatGPT to go through job descriptions and pull out relevant keywords.  I then build my resume making sure to use those specific keywords while also talking about relevant experience.
  • Keep the resume to just one page.
  • Use a boring font like Cambria or Calibre.
  • Save as a doc. file.  Never as a pdf. again.

Now will see if this actually helps me get work.  Happy hunting y’all.

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