<< by on August 26th, 2010
I read a lot of resumes, and the one thing that regularly strikes me is that good marketers are often terrible at marketing themselves. Think of your resume as your “landing page”. A landing page must convey the best information about a product in a very short amount of space and time — much like a resume.
So search marketers, let’s examine the parts of your resume (your landing page) and how we might improve conversion (calls for an interview) by optimizing the page.
- Try to keep to one page. As with a landing page, it’s important to keep the information concise and relevant. You wouldn’t believe it, but I get three-page long resumes from college students. Stop the insanity! Keep it clean, concise and to the point.
- Keep the most relevant information “above the fold”. With landing pages, we always try to keep the most important, relevant information “above the fold”, or where the visitor doesn’t have to scroll to see it. The same is true on a resume. For instance, I recently had a Google Challenge finalist apply for a position. The Google Challenge is highly relevant to the job description, yet I had to dig to the bottom of the resume to see that point. I could have easily overlooked it.
- Keep it concise and use bullet points. I cannot stress bullet points enough. When reviewing lots of information, bullet points (whether on a landing page or resume) make it much easier to scan the information quickly. It’s said that you only have about five seconds to catch someone’s attention on a landing page before they abandon. While you might get a little longer with resumes, it won’t be much. So don’t overcrowd your resume by writing long descriptions or a novella. Stick to bullet points.
- Customize your message to the audience. With landing pages, we always want to keep the message on the page relevant to the searcher’s original query. Same is true with resumes. If the position is for a search marketer, customize your message to fit this job description.You’d be surprised how many non-personalized resumes I receive. I once even received a resume with the objective describing the applicant’s desire for an accounting position when the opening was for a search marketer! Clearly not personalized for the position. Only tell the resume reviewer points that are relevant to the position — not a bunch of extraneous information.
Have you ever gotten to a landing page or website, were interested in the product, but had a difficult time finding how to call the company? Make it easy for potential employers to contact you. Make your contact information clear, easy to read, and put it at the top of the page. I recently even received my first resume with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook information.
My feeling on the objective? Duh. Your objective is to get a job at my company. Others disagree with me, but I feel an objective is a waste of valuable space to talk about real skills and experience. But if you do use one, be sure to personalize it to the job. Here’s a poor example of a resume for a search marketing position:
Objective: To obtain a position as a Junior Account Manager and further my skills in SEO and PPC.
Why is that objective poor? Primarily because you are telling me what YOU want out of the job. The statement “further my skills” tells me you want to learn from me as an employer. But what I want as an employer is someone who can contribute, not just teach them.
Think about it this way… if you were choosing a lawyer to defend you in court, would you hire the one that told you he was taking on your case to “further his skills” in legal defense? Probably not.
Here’s a good objective:
Objective: To bring my skills in search marketing to a search marketing agency setting to help clients improve traffic and conversion to their websites.
There are two schools of thought on how to include experience on your resume:
- List positions held in chronological order, from most recent to least recent.
- List positions by relevance, from most relevance to least relevant.
Think of these two options as a “sort order” on an ecommerce catalog page. Personally, I prefer chronological order, but if your most recent position doesn’t have relevance to the current position opening, that will hurt you. So consider that when you choose an option. Remember: keep the most relevant information at the top of the page!
Other Information (such as skills)
Think of other information, like skills and certifications, as the “trust symbols” on the landing page. On a landing page, symbols like the eTrust logo, awards won, and other symbols help visitors trust that this is the right product for them. The same holds true on a resume.
I highly recommend adding a section for additional skills you have. If you’re Google AdWords certified, shout it out! Even consider using the logo on your resume so it stands out — especially because this would be a highly relevant skill as a search marketer. Include relevant skills — but don’t over do it. You can easily have TOO MANY trust symbols, which dilutes the message. Keep it to relevant information only.
Remember the Audience
Above all with landing pages, when composing the message, we have to remember what is important to our audience. Is low price most important? How about free shipping? What about overall value?
The same applies to resumes. A potential employer wants to hear how YOU can help THEM. So lose all of the information that is about how special and great you are if it’s not relevant. For instance, if safety is my concern in a car, does it matter that the car was called “fun” by Car and Driver? What would likely have more impact on a landing page for a car for this visitor would be its safety record or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rankings.
The Bottom Line
You’re a marketer. It’s time to go market yourself. Take a step outside of yourself, as you would when selling a product, and ask yourself how you can better “convert” through a better “landing page”!