Applying SEO to the job search …

This week co-Job Stalker Gordon Dymowski leads us off into strange waters where he takes the principles of “search engine optimization” and applies them to the job search. One of the less appealing aspects to where the Web has gone over the past five years or so is into the area of SEO, where what you say is becoming less important than how you say it, making inclusion of specific “key words” more essential than the concepts being expressed. It is the reality, however, as more and more employers are using computer programs to scan through resumes to find position-related terms rather than reading and evaluating candidates’ backgrounds as written. In this situation it certainly does make sense to “game” the system as much as possible.

Anyway, Gordon recently made a presentation on this (and has a workshop upcoming), and you should definitely check out his SlideShare deck (linked below) from that. This is certainly a different approach to getting your information out there, and I hope you find it useful …

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    For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis (and I know you’re out there), you’ve been reading my shares and insights about the job search on a weekly basis. This week, it’s a little different because I’ll be talking a little bit about what I’ve actually been doing….and share my successes.

    First, I’ve finally formalized a working relationship with the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, and will be doing some (paid) freelance work for local businesses. Is it the first step towards building my own business? Is it a good transitional step while seeking other freelance/full time employment? The answer to both questions is a resounding “yes”, and I’m quite looking forward to it. It happened simply because I was willing to….well, do things a little differently, and focus on networking slightly within (and outside of) my comfort zone.

    This past Saturday, I had the good fortune to give a presentation before the Chicago SEO Meetup Group about using SEO principles in job searching. I’m always looking for new and unique opportunities to network, and I was privileged to meet a very talented, unique crowd. (I even caught up with a contact whom I had initially met some time ago, but never provided adequate follow up). We also had a speaker who talked about how recruiters could better use SEO in finding qualified candidates. Thankfully, the inclement weather had attendees grateful they were inside and not, say, at the Chicago Air & Water Show, and I have received both positive feedback and at least one request to evaluate a site (I’m only an SEO “expert” from the blogging/content creation perspective), but this opportunity came about because I, well, did things a little differently and take a chance on an opportunity provided through a mutual contact.

    Thanks to another contact, I was encouraged to set up and put on a training on social media for small businesses and non-profits. (Yes, the inevitable “social media” training). For those interested, it will be held on September 1st at Newberry Library at 5:30 pm, and there is a cost which covers materials & facility rental. (As you can guess, I’m just a wee bit nervous about this happening). For me to actually share my knowledge and charge people to come in….well, that definitely is doing things differently for me. (I’m so used to living in a non-profit/social service/sharing insight and being paid by someone else that putting on a training without agency backing is a little unusual). If you know anyone who could use this, please let them know sooner rather than later.

    The last time I was involved in such a job search was when I first moved back to Chicago in 2007. (Four years? Really?) Granted, it took me about a year and a half to find something, but I was starting from ground zero. (Before you suggest that I should have been more prepared – I moved back to help take care of a parent. I did some initial searching before the move). Thankfully, although my current job situation is not ideal, I have seen much greater success in a much shorter period – freelance opportunities, major connections made, and a greater frequency of job interviews.

    Much of that is due to doing things differently – making changes, taking chances, and being a little bit more daring. And it’s starting to pay off.

    Speaking of paying off, please feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn or send me an e-mail with your comments or questions. You can check out my various social media channels via, or if you or someone you know wants to attend my September 1st Social Media training, please visit And as always, thanks for reading!


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