If you are going to be registering your CV on Job Portals (or if you have already done so) as part of your job hunting strategy, then you need to understand the significance of creating a keyword-rich Curriculum Vitae. Your CV is the only real bait that you have available on job boards in order to hook those recruiters who are searching for suitable candidates on job board search engines.
With so many companies using the Internet to find talent, a search-friendly, keyword-rich CV becomes your most vital job hunting tool, and while so many job seekers are competing for jobs in what is known as one of the toughest job markets in decades, you need to ensure that your CV stands out and ranks at the top of the recruiters' search results.
By optimising your CV for higher search rankings, you are effectively 'out-ranking' your competitors. In the traditional online world, this process is known by internet professionals as 'Search Engine Optimisation'. This is where millions of pages (owned by millions of companies) compete on search engines to rank on the first page of the search engine's results for a particular search query.
Job search engines work much like traditional search engines (such as Google, Bing or Yahoo) in that it uses algorithmic software to find, crawl and index the pages (CVs) on the Internet (job board) in order to better understand what the general theme or area of specialisation is for that that page (CV). By optimising your CV for targeted keywords, your CV has a better chance of out-ranking your competitors for that targeted search term.
How to optimise CV for targeted keywords
When compiling your CV, try to include more specific keywords instead of broader ones. For instance, if you are looking to be found for jobs that require a PHP Developer, be sure to use the word 'PHP Developer' or 'PHP Web Developer' throughout your CV where applicable rather than simply saying that you did web development and then listing PHP separately under a list of key skills. You would be far better off to list the full keyword phrase 'PHP Web Developer' wherever possible in addition to including the keywords in other areas such as a CV Title and under the list of Technical Skills as well as in your cover note (both in the body and the subject line of the cover note). If the job portal asks you for a list of key skills – or for a CV title – be sure to include 'PHP Web Developer' there as well. The more frequently you can specify your target keywords, the more likely your CV is to rank higher in the search results.
Most industries use very specific buzz-words, jargon and acronyms. If this is the case in your industry (eg, SEO Analyst is used for 'Search Engine Optimisation Analyst' or CA is used for 'Chartered Accountant) then be sure to use variations of both the full name as well as the acronym throughout your CV.
When listing your educational qualifications, try to be as specific as possible with regards to your area of specialisation in order to further support the rest of the body of your CV. Where you have completed short courses or workshops that relate to the target keyword (job title), then list these as well.
By repeating the keyword (naturally and where relevant), you are reinforcing the fact that you are a specialist in your field. To further enhance your CV – and to make it easier for the users to quickly identify that you are in fact the expert that they are looking for – make the keyword bold wherever you have used it (including the acronyms, variations and synonyms thereof).
Back up your credibility
In the traditional Search Engine Optimisation world, a page that receives links to it is considered credible (based on the quality of the linking website) and therefore counts as a 'vote of confidence' for that Web site. These links are considered important for search engines when determining which Web pages are not only most relevant, but also most credible and authoritative.
Since you are unable to get Web links from related websites to your CV on a job board's CV database, the most effective way to position your CV as credible and authoritative is to include references from previous employers, as well as links to websites, profiles or articles where you have been mentioned or credited for professional opinions relating to your field of expertise. If you have a professional blog, include the link to this blog in your CV as well.
If you are using LinkedIn, include a link to the recommendations page (if you have received endorsements on your profile) on LinkedIn from your CV where recruiters can view comments and recommendations by previous employers, colleagues or clients.
By following these basic guidelines, you will notice a significant increase in the number of views that you get to your CV.