How To Make Your SEO Résumé Rank

SEO Job Interview

So, you’ve got some successful SEO experience under your belt, your skills and confidence are growing and you’re ready to sell your services to the highest bidder, or at least someone who will properly appreciate your SEO skills.

Sounds like you need an SEO résumé. With recognition of SEO as an important component of effective ecommerce that is moving more and more into the mainstream, companies are becoming more comfortable employing in-house SEOs with valuable search engine optimization skills.

But how can you write about your SEO experience in a way that will make it past your average (SEO-ignorant) HR officer? After all, you didn’t go to college to study SEO and then take a trainee SEO Consultant position at Acme Inc, did you?

Most likely, you have gained your SEO skills the hard way, triumphing over Google updates and algorithm changes, the shifting sands of link building, and competing against SEOs with shadier tactics than your own. The good news is that you already have the number one qualification you will need: experience.

SEO as a specialization is still sufficiently new for people to rely on past achievements and experience as the main indicator of skill. Your only challenge is to make sure you communicate that experience in the right way.

Remember: It’s not just what you’ve done; it’s how you tell it!

The Résumé Formula: Tried & Tested

The best way to nose your way inside the corporate citadel is to give them a resume they can understand. This means sticking to the tried and tested corporate resume formula, something we know works.

Start with your most recent relevant experience and work backwards from there. For example:

SEO Consultant: ABC Company, Anytown, USA (2012-2013)

This company’s objective was to double their online sales. I analyzed their existing website presence and formulated a plan for optimizing and promoting their site. This included:

  • Website code & on-page optimization plan
  • Keyword research & marketing review
  • Review and update of website content to reflect specific marketing & keyword goals
  • Promotion plan using high quality new content to generate links from social media, industry insiders And article marketing
  • Progress review

After my plan had been completed online sales had increased by 60% and were continuing to rise. Daily unique visitors to the site were up by 40% and the company had top 10 search engine rankings for 8/10 of its target keyword phrases.

You’ll notice that I have focused on actions and achievements in this section. The most important thing to anyone considering hiring you is what you have achieved.

You may have had projects where you have been more focused on a single goal such as optimizing a particular CMS system or promoting a new blog like this:

xyz CMS Optimization:

  • Reorganized template code to promote dynamic content
  • Implemented site-wide dynamic page title tags, meta tags and on-page optimization (e.g. relevant alt text for all images)
  • Ensured navigation structure was accessible to search engines
  • Resolved duplicate URL/content issues

Or this:

abc New Product Promotion:

  • Created WordPress blog with product-based domain and custom template
  • Ensured blog was regularly updated with photos and pre-launch news and that the author became active in relevant online communities
  • Through the development of high-quality content, gained links from other industry blogs and promotion through social media sites such as Digg, del.icio.us and Stumbleupon
  • By product launch date, the blog ranked held the number 1 position in Google for the product name

A word of advice at this point. If you’ve dabbled with a little black hat SEO in the past, I’d advise you to keep it quiet and focus on your white hat techniques. It may boost your credibility on online forums but anyone thinking about employing you will be instantly turned off due to the potential these techniques have for causing trouble in the long term and by the negative image (rightly or wrongly) they give out.

What Else Do I Need To Say?

You should now have the meat of your SEO résumé completed. You have explained your experience and skills and the results they achieved. You’re almost there, but you just need to put some finishing touches to it, to show that you
are a true pro.

Technical Skills

This is the place to put list your “tools of the trade.”

PHP, JSP, AJAX, Perl, Photoshop, etc.

List them all here, in sensible categories:

Programming Languages:

HTML, Java, JSP, AJAX, PHP, Perl & Cold Fusion

Content Management Systems:

WordPress, Drupal, Movable Type, etc…

Education/Qualifications

There are no formal educational or training requirements for SEO yet, but if you have some educational or technical qualifications then you should include them on your résumé, even if they are not directly relevant.

Any degree is always a good thing, as are recognized professional qualifications and certificates such as the Microsoft and Cisco certifications.

Certifications such as the CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) program can also help show that you are a well-rounded person interested in professional development.

Don’t worry too much if you haven’t got much to put in this section, and definitely do not make qualifications up. It can backfire badly.

Reference Sites

You’re almost at the end now and like any good salesman (or woman) you want to close the deal.

It’s time to pull your portfolio out of its holster.

Having some successful and well-designed sites in your portfolio can be the difference between getting the job and failing to. Nothing speaks louder than real, visible results.

Don’t worry too much about whether the subject matter is relevant. If the sites show the results you can achieve, they should help you get the job and they’ll make a great talking point in the interview.

The Final Word

It’s all down to you now, SEOs. Writing a résumé probably isn’t what you would choose to do with an afternoon or evening, but put the time in and you should soon be ranking with new clients and doing what you do best.

Emory Rowland

I'm editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. I consider myself a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. My love for social media and success with organic search led me to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, I could be considered pretty worthless. More...

97 comments

  1. Arpit Kothari

    Hi There,

    I have 4yrs Exp. in SEO & SEM. This time I am working as a Sr.SEO expert in Softwebsolutions.com , Can u guide me how to create a good C.V. ?

    Regards
    Arpit Kothari
    Sr. SEO Expert India

  2. Lucy

    Hey Arpit, you can try the getresume.com website. You can write and download your resume in PDF for free. You will also get free eBook on resume writing. In case you are applying for a job in Europe then use Europass CV format, official format used in European Union.

    Hope this helps

  3. Adelaide SEO

    Great article for anyone looking to progress their careeer in SEO! It’s always difficult writing a resume even for a traditional job, let alone one where there is no official training or qualifications! Thanks for all your suggestions, they will surely compliment and enhance any traditional resume for SEO jobs!

  4. I am going to go out on a limb here… I have been in the SEO job market recently and have learned a couple things. Applying for jobs is all the same thing no matter what role. Resumes are good but, what do they really show about your SEO skills? Sure you can have your list. But what really sells is the cover letter. Since most SEO hiring is done on job boards the cover letter is the real introduction. Sell yourself in the first two lines and in the end. Put the meat of your experience in the middle paragraph and end with a great closer.

    Use plain and simple language that can be interpreted by even a person that can’t turn a computer on. Remember don’t lie or embellish.

    If you need some pointers on writing a resume drop me a line through my blog contact form as if you are applying for a job and I will give you a objective opinion. notice you will have to everything in text format no uploads.

  5. Chris, I haven’t really thought much about the importance of cover letters, but you make some great points.

  6. Useful Stuff, i will add it to my cv.

  7. Hagen

    As a Jr. Business Development trying to get my hand wet with SEO, this guide is certainly thumbs up from me. Now I can carefully structure my resume to show my SEO skills to potential employers. :)

  8. Hagen, thanks for the comment. Best wishes in the SEO job market!

  9. SEO FOR RANKING

    Thanks Emory Rowland you really did it well. Nice Job

  10. i agree its a tough one to make a resume, i myself also having problems writing a resume

  11. premnath

    Hi,
    I am premnath, i am working as seo. its been 8 to 9 months and that to offpage. I found this site i really given very information about how to prepare the resume but it is very good for the people who are with loads of experience. If you can prepare a model for freshers too it would be great with a wonderful cover letter.
    Thank you for the wonderful information.

  12. Some nice tips. Well would include them in my next business pitch.

  13. The article was very resourceful. I am new to PPC/SEM but I want to creat my own resume blog and I have bookmarked it for my reference.

    Apart from personal blog, LinkedIn profile is alos very useful.

    Thanks

  14. Roxy

    With your tips I created my own resume. Hopefully to get a good business as well.

  15. the entire concept is great, if you are a seo expert then you must be appear on top 1 position for your name and name + SEO.

  16. Got a nice tips ….writing a resume from this comment ..

  17. Raaj

    Hi this is Raaj,

    Presently working with Pinga Solutions in Noida as a Sr. SEO Specialist.

    If some one has any type of query related to SEO/SEM can contact me here.

  18. Emory Rowland

    Alec and Premnath, thanks for your interest. I don’t have any plans to write more on this subject at the moment. I think you can apply your own experience to the first part. The second part just requires you to add your own skills, education and references. Good luck. Emory

  19. Hi,you have written very nice article about how to make your resume work. But it is only for experienced professionals. Can you write this type of one more article for freshers or who have less then 6 months or 1 year experience?

  20. Ravi

    Hi,

    I am working as Sr.SEO. Can any one send me a CV to this Email ID ravi_007_with_u[at]yahoo.com

    Have a greate day

  21. Nice article on SEO Resume.

    Thanks

  22. SEO Friendly Directory

    My resume will look like that. thanks for the tips

  23. Very Nice Information.
    Thanks for the informations about seo resume.
    It’s very useful for me.

    Regards,
    Manikandan

  24. Dattatray

    I’ve 1+ year experience in SEO onpage & offpage optimization & also Google & Yahoo PPC. Now i want to update my resume. Would any one send me sample resume as well if there are openings any where for the same?

    thanks

  25. Suresh

    Hi, This is Suresh. I am working as an SEO in offpage. This blog really gave me excellent information. Can any one post me a sample resume to msureshchowdary1@gmail.com

  26. SEO Expert

    Very nice blog. Helps people gifted in SEO have a chance at big companies.

  27. SEO Guy

    Thanks for pointing how to make cover letter specially for SEO.

  28. Nice work dude… It is helpful for me as well as others..

  29. swathi

    Hi,

    Nice information. Can any one send me a sample cover letter
    and a sample resume . I have very litle knowlege on SEO
    but would like to work in that. I have online sales experience .

    Thanks
    Swathi

  30. Nice Article, Presently i am working as a seo trainer and Consultant in hyderabad, India

  31. Seo india

    Hi

    i am also looking for a good PPC expert resume sample
    any buddy help me !!

    san

  32. paul

    wow! great article, u got some interesting questions as well from people already in the seo feild..

  33. Ravinder

    Hi, i am also looking for a good Resume sample for SEO Post.Can u help me!

  34. Nilesh Patel

    Hi

    I am Nilesh Patel.
    Your article is good, and thanks for sharing it.

    I am a SEO Executive. For the last 2.5 years I have been in this field.
    If any requirement of SEO in USA then please contact me on my mail id.

    Thanks

  35. making money

    Thanks this is a great place to start as I am working on a resume know for SEO. Very helpful hope it lands me a job.

  36. Nancy

    I having 1.6 years of seo-onsite and off-site optimization experience. Can you send me one professional sample of seo resume for updation of my CV in smart-format.

  37. Richard

    you did a great job, i will do same in my resume which you mention in your post.. thanks for sharing.

  38. Kanksha

    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for sharing. I am working as Web Executive (though my background is not IT) i have a PGDM to my credit. My work in my company includes similar to what u have mentioned. Its being 4 months that i have joined this Company. I would really appreciate if u could tell me what are the prospects in future in this field for a Non-It background person. Also how much money can i make in it.

    Regards,
    Kanksha

    • Emory Rowland

      Appreciate the question, Kanksha. I believe a strong IT knowledge would benefit a SEO job candidate–stuff like understanding the way servers function, networking, some coding skills, etc. Most important would be a good grasp of how search engines work. But how you develop this knowlege does not have to come from a formal education or background. You can develop these skills yourself by building your own websites and tweaking their performance for search. I can say this because my background did not start with IT. Most of my SEO knowledge arose from my own research and testing. Best of luck.

  39. Kanksha

    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for replying and your suggestions.

  40. anil

    Hi,
    Its very informative.I have one question some SEO Companies offering SEO Certification program. Is this Certification benefit for the candidates ?

    • Emory Rowland

      I have heard positive things about sempo.org courses.

  41. anil

    Hi
    Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

  42. venkat

    hi,
    This is venkat.. thanks for u r information… I have 2+ Ex in SEO.so Thanks for your suggestions.

  43. seo pune

    Very nice. I will try to change my resume.

  44. Edinburgh Accommodation

    Hey,

    I m really impressed after reading your article and i got lots of information about SEO Cv. I didnt have any knowledge before.

    Thanks man

  45. SEO Kerala

    Thank you for the great resource. I will try to make my resume better with these.

  46. Hi i am Ravi Patel Working as SEO Executive .
    I must tank u for providing us information abt resume.
    thanking u
    Ravi Patel (SEO)
    email – catch.ravi143@gmail.com

  47. It gives me alot of help to write my C.V. Very informative and helpful article for me. Thanks Emory.

    Best Regards,
    Jimmy

  48. Sam

    Hello,
    thank you
    very good tips about SEO interviewing.

  49. Johnson

    Nice tips about SEO CV but it will be better if you provide sample cv in .doc format.

  50. muthu

    Hi,
    I am Muthu, i am working as seo. its been 5 months and that to offpage. i am also looking for a good Resume sample for SEO Post. if any send a Seo sample resume format. i will be greatful to you…Can u help me pls!

  51. Kim Sanders

    Awesome post you’ve got. Especially to those who want to have a good position in an SEO industry. This would help.

  52. kaiyumvhora

    i am working as seo. its been 5 months and that to offpage. i am also looking for a good resume sample for a SEO Post. if anyone sends a Seo sample resume format. i will be greatful to you… Can u help me pls!

  53. Abrar

    Hi,

    I am a student want to begin my career in SEO as a freelancer can anybody suggest me how to start the work; am great full if anyone suggest me

    Best Regards,
    Abrar.

  54. addvita

    Hello !!!!

    starting acareer with SEO is really a good option… firstly you should have knowledge of SEO, about its techniques, services etc. It’s really important… after that take the advantage of the internet by putting your resume in various site and also regularly watch the freelancer’s project… you will definitely get the job… In SEO, companies are always hunting for the fresher.

    All the best

  55. Hi, i am also working in seo from the last six months and i am really enjoying it.

  56. Very nice information. Helps people gifted in SEO & SEM have a chance at big companies.

  57. Mateen

    Hi,
    I am Mateen jeelani, i am working as seo. its been 8 to 9 months and that to offpage. I found this site i really given very information about how to prepare the resume but it is very good for the people who are with loads of experience. If you can prepare a model for freshers too it would be great with a wonderful cover letter.
    Thank you for the wonderful information.

  58. paul

    this really is an excellent post, thoroughly enjoyed reading and it makes a lot of sense. i have not really thought of making an seo resume so in depth. certainly made me think! and gain a few pointers. much appreciated!

  59. Jamil

    Thank you very much for these useful tips regarding seo resumes. i highly appreciate it and am using them straight away.

  60. Praba

    hi friend, it was really useful. I am in the field of SEO for the past 1 year. even i was looking for a good resume format and this site is really helpful to update my resume format.

    thanks

  61. mamta

    Hey mate it is very nice and m very happy to come across such a very useful tips for writing a cv when m looking for a job in seo field.
    first thing that comes in our mind while going out for a job is to have a resume and here comes the headache; Is my resume effective? hmm!! maybe not..: (What to do to make it Representative of my skills.. So having a effective resume is not so easy. It is although very important what we sometimes simply ignores..
    Currently am doing work with a seo company in delhi
    mmtshrm703[at]gmail[dot]com

  62. Susan Walker

    Thanks for sharing. Generally employers find the talent through job portal. So for better views you should regularly update your resume. I believe that they validate the identity of the candidate through Google so it is good to consider your suggestion.

  63. Hi,
    Nice Article, here so much of information available for SEO Resume preparation, just i used here given guidelines in my resume preparation.

    Thanks

  64. Taimur

    well being an SEO I wasn’t aware of most of the things explained here in this article. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

  65. kevin

    I have just started preparing my seo resume. your article helped me alot. just wondering can i get some sample resumes?

  66. Vikas Nehra

    Hi
    much very good information available for SEO Resume preparation, i used all guidelines in my resume preparation.
    Thanks

  67. Gautam Barot

    Nice Info, I am just an SEO professional. I am passionate about search engines and enjoy competing with other SEO professionals. While the SEO consultant to give me the opportunity to follow my passion!

  68. Riccard - Posicionamiento en Buscadores

    It is important to read many books and artículs about seo, if you have programming knowledge in HTML and PHP, the better.

    Regards

  69. Binitha Subith

    Hi,
    I’m a SEM professional with 2+year experience.Curremtly im planning to look out jobs in UK, can you let me know the best format to write resume for UK jobs.

    • Emory Rowland

      Anyone able to add to the format from the UK perspective?

  70. Daniel

    My SEO consultant spoke to me in language that i can understand. The biggest tip i can give someone trying to sell their SEO skills is not to use SEO language. Sell yourself as non-technical as possible

  71. Thanks Emory and Chris for you insight on resume/cover letter writing. I am already changing somethings on my resume/cv to reflect more who I am.
    Thanks again,
    Cleia Grubb

  72. Nice article . Also read the “how to sell yourself” book of joe girard.

  73. Now this advice will really help me improve my SEO Resume. My current resume looks dull and not that easy on the eyes.
    Thanks mate.

  74. ashish gajmal

    hi,

    i am ashish complete my b.com from M.S.University and presently i am working as an seo executive at nividaweb.
    currently i am work on off page optimization and i want to seo cv so can anyone tell me how can i make good seo cv.

    send me mail on gaju.ashish27[at]gamil[dot]com

  75. Michael Gonzalez

    Very Good post, still trying out many seo tricks. Thanks for the tips.

  76. Nice article. I will write better cover letter but not get good jobs.

  77. yoganand

    I am seo expert now working as freelancer and i like to join a good software company

    i want to seo cv so can anyone tell me how can i make good seo cv.

    send me sample to yogsmca[at]gmail[dot]com

  78. Sheikh Farid

    Hi,

    Nice information. Can any one send me a sample cover letter
    and a sample resume . I have very litle knowlege on SEO
    but would like to work in that. I have Knowledge
    in Networking.
    Thanks
    Sheikh Farid

  79. Rama

    Hi can any one please provide me what to select in the field of ‘function area’ and ‘current role’ in all job sites,as I am confused, what to select while updating my details in job sites

  80. manasa

    hi, this is manasa. i am fresher in seo,so please tell me how to plan my resume, and how it look like .

  81. S k Yogi

    HI, My name is Skumar Yogi. I have read all things. Really this is very fruitful for me. I have started my career in SEO industry. I have got nine months experience in this field and I would like to opt this as professional. Please suggest me how a make a powerful resume of seo.

    thanks & regards
    skumar yogi

  82. anil

    Hi, Am Anil.Am Fresher In Seo. I Have Blog cinerak.blogspot.in and my site aphub.in i am started my blog in dec 2011.now it’s alexa rank is 85000 and page rank is 1.am planing to start my carrer with seo looking for job in seo.am searching for resumes in seo pls forwared resumes to my mail id anilkumar.ravirala[at]gmail.com

    thanks & Regards

    anil

  83. Siva Krishna

    Hi,
    This is siva krishna. Please forward sample resume for seo consultant to my email id : krishnit[at]gmail[dot]com

  84. I am working as Sr.SEO. Can any one send me a experience letter format to this Email ID megha510shah[at]gmail[dot]com

  85. The worst CV is the one which says “FTP” under “Skills”.

  86. Ravi

    Hello,
    I have around 400 pages that have to redirect to other new pages. Can i write it in single .htaccess?
    Thank you

    • Emory Rowland

      Yes you can and depending on what you’re trying to do exactly, you may be able to do it with a few lines. I have been able to get some great help from the good folks at webmasterworld.com/apache/ forums.

  87. Hello..
    How much is useful breadcrumbs for my seo ranking ? if i can not Implement the breadcrumbs concept for my website that will effect my ranking ?

    Thank you

  88. Really helpful tips to make a good cv for an experienced seo. currently working as seo executive.

  89. DHARMENDER

    i have done my graduation in B.Sc. computer science and MBA in finance and i am having 4 years of SEO experience so pls send me the best resume format

  90. Suresh Khatri

    Nice tips!

  91. Dear Emory Rowland

    Can I use og:image for my website is this support as per the google 2014 standards

    Thanks in Advance

    • Emory Rowland

      I always try and use open graph for images because several different social sites use it to specify the image when sharing – Facebook and Pinterest both use it.

  92. sagar soni

    Hi, Recently I completed my msc it. And going to SEO. So tell me about seo future.
    Thank you

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