Why & How to SEO Your Resume

Did you know that in a majority of cases where you are applying for a job online that your resume is being stored into a searchable database…and it’s not being sent to a human being for perusal? That’s right. Things are different now. Instead of sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes, recruiters search the database…for relevant keywords…and pluck out the best matches. They are keyword searching resumes.

Just the same as how you use Google to find a website, recruiters are using search tools to find the most qualified applicants in their database. What that could mean for you is lost opportunities, even if you have a great resume, excellence skills, and the exact experience they are seeking. You still run the risk of failing to float to the top of the pile.

While search engine optimizing (SEO) your resume is easy, it’s not as simple as loading it up with a whole bunch of keywords from the job description. There’s a big difference between general search engines and specialized search engines. What recruiters use on the backend of applications like Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Resources or SaaS solutions like Taleo is a specialized search engine, and specialized search engines look for keywords that show up in the right places…not just anywhere.

Think of it this way: If a recruiter is looking for an experienced marketing professional, she is probably going to search the pool of resumes for something like “Marketing Director.” The results will include those resumes where “marketing” and “director” appear in job titles for recently held positions. Resumes where both words appear, but are not together or in job titles, are not going to end up in top search results.

What that means is, optimizing your resume for searches is not about throwing in every keyword you can think of, but about creating relevant copy, with relevant keywords, that address relevant experience. It goes back to the golden rule of SEO, whether for a website or a resume, Relevancy Is King. If you use applicable keywords in a relevant fashion, there’s no reason why your resume shouldn’t pop to the top.

Therefore, selecting keywords is extremely important, and rewriting your resume to be more applicable to each job or job type is assuredly de rigueur.

If you are submitting your resume as a PDF there’s an additional step you can take to optimize for SEO and it’s making sure not to overlook the file’s metadata.

Metadata is just another way to say “descriptive” data that is embedded into the file that helps explain the contents further for proper classification. It’s not unlike the cataloging data used in your college library that allowed you to easily find Plato’s Republic for your poli sci term paper (is that an exaggerated example or what?!), comprised of author’s name, book title, subject matter and synopsis.

You can easily add metadata to your resume PDF.

Go to File > Properties and fill in the following fields:

  1. Title – This could be the single most important element of your PDF document properties. In almost every case, the title is used on the search engine results page. If you don’t write a title the file name is used by default, and that isn’t going to make anyone very interested in you. 
  2. Author – You can use your name here. 
  3. Subject – The subject serves as the meta description for your PDF document. This is the second most important element. Write something that is relevant and descriptive. Use your keywords, but do over do it.
  4. Keywords –  Use your relevant keywords here. Filling this space up with all sorts of trash is only going to hurt you.
There is an Additional Metadata button, but it really just allows you the opportunity to enter copyright information. That is not necessary when it comes to a resume.
I hope that helps. Don’t forget the golden rule of SEO (see above if you have already) and happy job hunting.

Don’t Miss: The Artist

Well, the 34th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival is long over, having officially concluded a little over a week ago on November 14th, but one film is still with me: The Artist.

Every year I enjoy the luxury of attending the screenings, parties, a variety of lectures and hanging out in the filmmakers’ lounge. Of course it’s all thanks to my wife, who works in the industry and gets first cut at tickets and passes. And every year we have the chance to see films before they are released to the public; before the hype and buzz starts. It really is pure moviegoing in a sense, it’s the opportunity to see movies without really knowing anything about them…the way I imagine filmmakers would like you to see their creative vision (before the studios slap on all the marketing whiz bang and drum up trailers that almost reveal the endings).

Of course there are a few films that come to the festival with some hype, like George Clooney’s The Descendants. But, then there are those that you know nothing about. And those are truly the surprising gems. Last year one of those gems was Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. It’s a story not always easy to watch, but wonderfully told in such a real and emotional way that sticks with you for days (or months, or years). Making the experience even more powerful was the fact that Cianfrance, a BFA graduate from the University of Colorado (my alma mater), spoke after the film about working with the actors, the creative process and his vision.

This years’ surprising gem, for me, was The Artist.  Directed by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, it is a silent film, shot entirely in gorgeous black and white, that beautifully depicts Hollywood between 1927 and 1932.

If you love movies, and are fascinated with old Hollywood as I am, you will truly enjoy the delightful performances by Jean Dujardin, a declining male film star, and Bérénice Bejo, a rising young actress. It’s the Hollywood of Singin’ in the Rain, at the very cusp of the advent of the talking picture and it includes everything that makes for a compelling story: lovable characters, adorable romance, hard-drinking depression and a car chase. Plus, the dog actor in the film, Uggy, won the Palm Dog Award for best performance by a canine at the Cannes Film Festival.

And when I say it is beautifully shot, I mean it is exquisite! It really looks like an old silent film. Everything about it is meticulously actuate and lovingly recreated…and it represents everything that old Hollywood was…risky and adventurous. And to think…this is a French film, shot in modern day Los Angeles, with French actors. And all for a mere $18 million!

The Artist opens November 25th. Don’t miss it. You won’t be disappointed.

Hopefully, next year I will see you at the 35th Annual Starz Denver Film Festival.

Latest Project: B&B 4 Sale Site

Here’s the latest project to be completed. It’s the For Sale site for the Mauger Estate Bed & Breakfast located in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico.Let me just say, this is truly an amazing place.

I was involved in the rebranding and digital marketing project when the current owner bought the property back in 2005, and she has done an incredible job updating the rooms and transforming the entire B&B. While built in 1897, and on the National Historic Registry, you would never guess it when you step into the lovingly restored and maintained rooms.

This project was simple: design a site that showcases the fantastic rooms and gives potential owners a complete sense of the overall beauty of the entire house. I think we did a pretty good job. You can view the site here: www.nmbedandbreakfast4sale.com.

More importantly however, if you’re looking to buy a B&B, look no further…this is the place!

And if you not exactly looking to buy, but are just passing through Albuquerque and need a great place to stay, look up Tammy Walden and the Mauger Estate. She makes a mean breakfast and has a complimentary afternoon wine and cheese serving!

Tell her Tony sent you. 😉

I Encourage Comments

What’s a blog without comments? It might just be the ramblings of a lunatic! 🙂

But, seriously: I won’t lie, I’d love to increase traffic — and search standings — for this blog.

Therefore I am encouraging you to leave comments.

Let me know what you think. I really would love to know.

I will also take this opportunity to mention my Twitter page (http://twitter.com/tonykelsey), which I think is a really informative mix of links pertaining to SEO, digital marketing, design and social media. I try to keep it focused and useful. Check it out and give me a follow.

Okay, wouldn’t you say that is enough shameless self-promotion for one Sunday morning?!

Lululemon’s Marketing Lulu

Lululemon Athletica Inc., the yoga-inspired athletic apparel company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and commonly known as just Lululemon, pulled a marketing lulu recently by putting “Who is John Galt?” on their shopping bags.

Along with the shopping bags, they feature praise to author Ayn Rand and her novel Atlas Shrugged on their website and blog. 

The blog states [rather defensively] that the whole idea came from Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson, who from an early age embraced the ideals of the book and found influence by the lesson that if we all pursue our own self-interest, the world can be a better place.

I’m not sure it is entirely necessary for me to give a complete recap of Atlas Shrugged, but let’s just say it is the most extensive statement of objectivism found in any of Rand’s works of fiction. Objectivism being the pure rationalization of selfishness in the form of individual rights over a community of rights, private property over any form of collective or government owned property, and the free market as the singular driving force behind personal happiness. 

It is truly a mix of conservative and libertarian ideals and in some circles (the Tea Party, for example) the novel is considered a bible. I say that factually and without making any political judgements or taking a stand on either side of the political spectrum. Rand, and Atlas Shrugged, are conservative and both are extremely politicized.

The lulu in Lululemon’s decision to embrace Rand is the fact that many people who practice yoga do not aspire to a political belief that champion objectivism. They are, instead, on what would be considered the other end of the political spectrum.

I’m not saying that a company can’t have a particular voice, or that a CEO can’t express particular values. But, embracing Ayn Rand when you are a yoga clothier is an almost perfect example of biting the hand that feeds you. From a marketing standpoint it is, well, to put it bluntly…myopically moronic!

Of course Lululemon is in damage control mode now, although the discussion on their blog is crafted to look anything but. They are back-pedaling and trying to twist it so that the average, liberal (unread) yogi is supposed to think that individual selfishness (as a good in and of itself) is suddenly a yogic way of thinking. After all, meditation is a singular and solitary thing, right? Therefore, the practice of yoga is about finding oneself and one’s sole purpose through exercise…and ultimately selfish manipulation of the free market.

Seems a stretch to me, and there are a lot of Lululemon shoppers who agree or are just plain outraged.

I suppose the one saving grace, for Lululemon anyway, is that most of their apparel is completely out of the price range of those who would probably be the angriest. Upper class yogis, I guess they figure, might not find the whole Ayn Rand connection all that offensive.

But, in the long run, the big lesson in this is:

Sometimes the CEO should just leave the marketing to the CMO.

The Power of Words

Here is a rather touching video (granted: it is an advertisement) that illustrates the power of words to radically change your message, and thereby, your effect on the world.
I really like this as it shows the incredible power of words. Words, and, more importantly, the way they have been arranged, have started or ended wars or relationships, created hope or despair and given encouragement or caused hurt.

In advertising, a particular arrangement of words could lead to a sale…or, an abandoned sale. Just that quick. Think of the many times you yourself have walked into a store, ready to purchase something you have been excited to acquire. All you really want to do is buy the thing and take it home…and over comes the sales clerk. Of course the clerk feels a need to “sell” you the item, and they begin their babble, babble, babble about every detail. Pretty soon your desire to buy the thing is diminished as their words wearily complicate the whole process. So, you walk out of the store without the thing you wanted so badly just a few minutes before.

It is the same on the web, in print ads and especially TV commercials.

I was watching something the other day and a commercial came on for a chopper thingy that would let you dice up a cucumber in less than a minute. The voice-over was a man who resembled a carnival barker…yelling all the details and with an inflection that made me feel like I was on the roller coasters of sales pitches. But the best part was at the end when he said, “AND, if you CALL RIGHT NOW you can get TWO for the price of ONE! THAT’S RIGHT: TWO!” I thought to myself, what could I possibly do with two of those things? And why was it that he’d suddenly turned me off from buying one?

Maybe that’s just an example of terrible advertising as opposed to an example of the negative power of words. After all, if you follow this blog, you know I am definitely annoyed by TV advertising (see: I Hate This Ad).

Instead, check out these examples of poorly (and humorously) worded classified ads:

  • Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
  • Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
  • Wanted. Widower with school-age children requires person to assume general housekeeping duties. Must be capable of contributing to growth of family.
  • 3-year-old teacher need for pre-school. Experience preferred.
While those are funny, advertisers who know the power of words (and their usage) often use what is known as Weasel Words to create phrases that lure the consumer. A weasel word is basically a term for words and phrases arranged in a fashion that create the impression something specific or meaningful has been said, when in all actuality, only a vague or ambiguous statement has been communicated. It’s phrases like:

  • “Four out of five people would agree…” [Out of how many?]
  • “Nothing is safer…” [Nothing??]
  • “More people are now using…” [More than using what?]
They mean nothing and yet they are compelling by nature.

It’s like me saying, “It has been suggested that this blog posting appear on the Fast Company website.”

[Suggested by whom? My mom?]

If you would like to read more about the power of words in advertising, I recommend Taking Advantage – The Power of Words: Advertising Tricks of the Trade Part One of a Two Part Series byRichard F. Taflinger.

Saul Bass: The Master of Title Sequence Design

Check out this cool video showcasing amazing title sequence designs by the great Saul Bass.

For those who don’t know, Saul Bass was an incredible graphic designer. His career spanned 40 years and he was responsible for some of the most iconic designs on the mid-century, including the AT&T globe logo.

But, once he began working in film, title sequences would never be the same (as you can see!).

If you are interested in learning more, there’s a new book out about Saul called Saul Bass: A life in Film and Design by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham.

By the way, the video was put together by Ian Albinson.

It’s Always About the User Experience

I recently wrote about an almost perfect example of interface design, the London Underground map. It was Harry Beck, an electrician with London Transport, who came up with the design based on an electronic circuit diagram. Part of the genius of Beck’s design is that he removed everything that was superfluous and even altered the true topography of the rail lines to make the information more visually digestible. The most important principle of design that Beck employed was thinking of the information as a user.

If you have ever been on a subway or underground railway then you know that you really have no concept of where you are going. When you look out the windows you see either blackness or tunnel walls. So there is no real relationship with where you are and what may be above you. Beck realized that the actual physical location of the stations was irrelevant to someone who just wanted to know how to get from one station to another. At some point during his design process he was able to remove himself from all the details he knew about the rail lines and concentrate on developing a map strictly from a user’s standpoint.

Good interface design always centers upon the user’s experience.

That statement is pretty obvious. But the focus on the user gets lost a lot of the time on either the drive for a particular aesthetic or the need to fulfill certain interactive functions (i.e., registering or buying something). The design process gets much more complicated when you have multiple people involved: designer, developer, programmer, DBA, security analyst, CEO! Many times the user is completely forgotten as the web application evolves and all the stakeholders and participants ensure their needs are met and make their individual contribution.

Designing for the web is all about making things as easy as possible for the end user without requiring the completion of special training or reading of instructions. I am sure we all remember ten years ago when someone would roll out a redesigned website and have a link to the “site tutorial!” That is a perfect example of disregard for user interface design in favor of making something cool (and complicated).

Web users need to be able to intuitively navigate, use and accomplish tasks on a site.

Web interface design needs to take people’s general interactions with everyday life into account. You enter an elevator and you push the button for a particular floor. You didn’t need to read instructions. You didn’t need a tutorial. Maybe the buttons look a little different from other elevators you have been in…maybe they are on a different side of the car or have a different shape. But intuitively you know that when you push the button it will light up and you will be carried to the floor you selected, and when you arrive, the button will turn off and the door will open. Users expect the same sort of intuitive experience on the web.

In the broad sense of things, web interface design should:

  • Present the information to the user in a clear and concise way.
  • Give users choices that are obvious.
  • Ensure that an expected action occurs through any action taken (clicking a button).

In theory, we will always want to engage a user focus group to evaluate anything that we are going to design, especially in the case of web applications. However, that is not always possible based on budget, time constraints, or a myriad of other business pressures. No matter how well thought out, you will always learn something about your design from a focus group that you would never have imagined. But on those occasions when a focus group is just not possible, we can take a moment and think of Harry Beck, and ensure that we have the user’s experience as our guiding design principle.

There’s a New Social Network in Town…

There’s a new social network in town and it’s called Unthink. It’s the site that is branding itself, in a bit of an angry fit, as the “anti-Facebook” network.

The basic premise of Unthink is its claim to be the “emancipation platform,” a place for people who want to be social online but are frustrated by unfavorable privacy policies, excessive advertising and unexpected updates that keep them unsure if their information is actually protected or not.

Since their launch on Oct. 25th, Unthink has registered over 100,000 new members, and claims they are doubling new registrants each day. Those are actually pretty impressive numbers considering it took Facebook a year to reach a million users and it looks as if Unthink could be on its way to that mark in just a few weeks. That is, if the hype and curiosity doesn’t suddenly waver. After all, there are a whole lot of industry folks and rebels that just wait for things like Unthink to pop up.

Whether they find success or not, they are executing a very interesting marketing strategy with their blatant attack on Facebook. Unthink CEO and founder Natasha Dedis has openly called Facebook the “place that looks like a palace, but in which users are slaves.” Unthink, she points out, is instead “a promised land [where users] own and can build what they want to build.”

Hmmm….is that a little over the top?

Check out the promo video:

There’s a whole lot of revolutionary language in there, and it goes with Dedis’ vision to radically transform the way people interact and share online. “It’s not a business,” she has said, “it’s a cause.”

With revolution, freedom and personal causes as the central theme, Dedis has gone on to say that there will be no place for traditional advertising on Unthink. Instead, the site will let people pick who they want to market to them, with Unthink protecting members’ data from advertisers. It’s actually a promise that is explicitly made on the site: “No ads. Not now. Not ever.”

However, the reality is that Unthink encourages users to choose a brand “sponsor,” who will cover the costs of maintaining their profile. In exchange, the sponsor will be showcased or displayed on the user’s page (in the form of an advertisement). If you’re the sort who wants a page free of sponsors (or advertising — even though we’re supposed to be thinking the whole jist of this thing is to be free from all advertising), you can make that happen by paying $2 a year.

I suppose $2 a year is a small price to pay, and the site’s design does put privacy as a primary focus. Unlike Facebook, who automatically makes a great deal information on new profiles public, Unthink’s default settings are in favor of the user’s privacy.

But I do wonder about the anger and hype. Especially when it comes to the “sponsors” and their roles.

In the end, is it all that different from Facebook?

I suppose time will tell.