Search engine optimization is defined as creating web content that ranks well in relevant searches. Appearing in the search results on a search for your name or your skills is known as personal search engine optimization ("SEO").
For a successful job search and career today, personal SEO is a necessity. Not being found (also known as being "invisible") kills your credibility, and labels you as "out-of-date" or, worse, fake.
On the other hand, having solid visibility in search engine results provides you with many opportunities, including:
The place to be found is Google, and the method, usually, is building an online presence via social media and other options discussed in this Guide.
Understanding personal SEO is hard to do without understanding the concepts of SEO practiced by web professionals.
Now, the necessity of understanding and practicing good SEO is here for all of us on a personal basis. Having a coherent, professional, visible, and find-able presence on the web is not optional today.
With low unemployment and many jobs open, employers are always looking for good people to hire. The availability of the Internet and the many online recruiting platforms provides many options for employers and job seekers.
Search options are not limited to Google and Bing. Employers also search relevant social networks, too, like LinkedIn, Facebook, GetHub, Medium, Quora, and many more, depending on their specific requirements. And "sourcers" search the social networks using search engines. Using social networks smartly is a simple easy way to become find-able, as long as you focus on your keywords.
Recent studies have shown that more than 90 percent of employers and recruiters use search engines to:
The results of those studies is really not surprising. Think about the times you are considering an investment (of your time, your money, or both). You use a search engine to research and evaluate your options -- which car, smart phone, restaurant, book, etc. is the best investment for you?
Similarly, employers hiring new employees are making big investments, too. The process itself is expensive, but more expensive is a "bad hire" -- someone who does damage or who needs to be replaced too soon. To avoid making a bad hire, employers research the people who apply for their jobs.
This searching by employers is a fact of life. So, smart job seekers adapt to this relentless searching, and learn how to beat the competition -- the people who aren't paying attention.
[Read Managing Your Google Resume, How Name Confusion Can Make Your Job Search More Difficult, and Defensive Googling to understand how to manage your personal online reputation.]
If nothing about you is found on the Internet, you are removed from consideration for most jobs. Your invisibility tells them that either you are out-of-date or hiding something. In your job search, personal SEO will have an impact in three main ways:
In addition to the other articles in this Guide to Personal SEO for Job Search and Careers in the column on the right, check out these articles:
Ignoring the necessity of personal SEO -- both public and private -- is not smart. Managing personal SEO is not an insurmountable goal. It takes time and attention to set-up the public version and to respond appropriately to the requirements of private personal SEO as you apply for jobs. Then, time will be needed every week to manage both. But, job search will be easier and more effective, and understanding SEO is an important skill today.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.