RSO, or Resume Search Optimization: Use It to Keep Your Resume Out of the Black Hole


A Guest Post by Peggy McKee From time to time, we’re publishing guest posts via Recruiting Blogswap. Do you know what resume search optimization is? It’s a complicated-sounding name for the simple concept of writing your resume so that it attracts the attention of potential employers. The vast majority of job seeking (at least initially) is done online, right? Resume search optimization helps you work within the system of online job searching to get the most bang for your buck. If you submit your resume online without making sure it is search optimized, it will disappear into oblivion. Why write a resume that’s not going to get you results? Ignoring RSO is a huge resume mistake. The way it works is through keywords. Keywords are the “action” words of your resume…and by that I don’t mean verbs. Keywords are the ones that indicate your skills and accomplishments that are going to matter to hiring managers. They are the buzzwords, jargon, or terms that are specific to an industry. You can recognize them easily by reading job descriptions, or job openings posted on job boards. The words employers are using to indicate what they’re looking for are the same words they’ll use to search a database of resumes. If those words are included on your resume, you’ve just greatly increased your odds. And it’s not just for online applications, either. It also comes in handy when you submit your resume to recruiters, who will immediately put it into their own ATS (Applicant Tracking System) database for mining whenever a position comes up. And, when you upload your resume to your LinkedIn profile, you have a keyword-laced magnet, drawing the attention of all the recruiters and hiring managers who regularly search LinkedIn for potential candidates. So how do you get the keywords you need for your resume? If you’re searching for a new position in the same career area, it should be pretty easy for you to think about what you’ve done and describe it in those terms — which is marketing yourself. In addition to reading job postings, you can look at corporate websites, talk to niche recruiters, or check out LinkedIn groups for specific wording ideas. If you’re moving into a new career area, you’re going to have to work a little harder. One way you can go is to think about your past experience and how it fits with your new goals. Can you (truthfully) describe your skills and accomplishments in the terms of your new industry? Another way you can go that many people don’t think of is arranging a job-shadowing experience. Job shadowing isn’t just for students. Anyone transitioning to a new industry can benefit greatly from following an experienced person through a typical day — you get great material for interview conversation and 30/60/90-day plans, AND you can put that experience right on your resume, complete with all the keywords you need to attract the attention you want. Editor’s note: See also our article Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.