Stand Out Online to Land the Job

Dos and Don'ts for Online Resumes

Stand Out Online to Land the Job

By Denene Brox, for Yahoo! HotJobs

As a job seeker in the electronic age, it's important to be savvy when it comes to online tools that will help you land your next job.

Online and "traditional" off-line resumes share some similarities. Both serve to show potential employers why you are the best candidate for the job.

"The content of online and offline resumes is basically the same," says Hannah Seligson, author of New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches. "But it's even more important that your online resume stand out. With an online resume, you are dealing with a critical mass, as opposed to an offline resume that is usually handed to a personal contact."

So what can you do to ensure that your online resume will impress employers? Here are some do's and don'ts for creating a winning online resume.

Do: Make Your Online Resume Keyword-Rich

Meg Montford, of the career coaching firm Abilities Enhanced, says that keywords are vital for online resumes. Montford suggests searching through industry job postings to find common terms, and make sure those words are in your resume. Montford also advises job seekers to spell out acronyms to increase hits to your resume.

Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, agrees. "Since a computer will be scanning your resume before a human being ever sees it, you need to 'speak' in a language a computer can understand," she says. 

Don't: Embellish

Just because you're posting a resume online doesn't mean its OK to embellish your qualifications.

"Don't overinflate what you've done," cautions Seligson. "There's a funny scenario where a vice president of the company, who is doing the hiring for an entry-level position, reads the job applicant's resume and says (sarcastically), 'Wow, sounds like you've already had my job. It doesn't seem like you need to start at entry-level.' It's better to say less and have it accurately reflect what you did in previous jobs than to overinflate -- something most hiring managers can see right through."

Do: Be Positive

Many disgruntled employees have been fired for airing their frustrations about their jobs online for the entire world to read. Montford warns that it's important not to accumulate digital dirt that could cost you your current and future jobs. "Keep your online identity positive," Montford says. "Recruiters and companies go to the Web first to screen candidates, so it's vital to have a positive presence."

Don't: Overlook the Power of the Web to Sell Yourself

There are numerous options available on the Internet for promoting yourself to employers. Don't overlook blogs and your own resume Web site as unique ways to reach out to potential employers.

"Every job seeker should have a blog and a keyword-rich resume on their own Web site," says Montford. "You can blog about your industry and comment on articles and issues related to your field. Just remember to keep your comments positive."

Do: Be Cautious

Finally, realize that your current employer could be privy to your job search when using online resumes. Keeping a low online profile while employed may be your safest bet.