Your resume is your personal brand summary.

It lets recruiters know who you are, where you have been, and how you would make a better fit in their firm than other applicants.

If you’re looking to apply for a work from home job, optimizing your resume for an online job should be the first place to start.

The goal of this article is threefold:

  • To contrast the primary differences between submitting an online and a physical (or hard copy) resume.
  • To detail the major reasons why you need to optimize your resume when applying online.
  • To list three simple steps you can take to make your resume stand out.

Online vs physical resume

Lets start with the basics.

An online resume is data submitted by you, to a potential employer.

With the availability of application screening and tracking software, chances are that when you submit your resume online, it won’t be read by a human until it passes at least phase one where its content is evaluated by an algorithm to see if you’re a good match for the position.

A hard copy resume on the other hand is usually submitted to a recruiter or hiring manager.

You can use heavy stock paper designed specifically for resumes and clever formatting to gain a competitive edge over other applicants.

Online resumes are extremely easy to submit, open to everyone, and if you know what you’re doing, you can use an automation service to automatically submit your resume to dozens and even hundreds of potential employers.

Hard copy resumes are usually submitted in person or mailed to potential employers, so they’re not as easy or convenient to distribute.

Oftentimes, an in person resume is given to someone that you’ve previously networked with so there’s a human connection.

While this personal interaction (i.e. networking) is still by far the most effective way to land a new job, it can be difficult to cultivate relationships and takes time.


Why should you optimize your resume

With the prevalence of employers accepting applications and resumes online, recruiters and HR departments quickly realized the need to have an algorithm scan incoming resumes for keywords relevant to a position in order to quickly filter out any poor matches.

The downside to this is that while efficient, algorithms are impersonal and lack the ability of judgemental decisioning.

In other words, you may be the perfect candidate for the position, but  because the keyword density was too low in your resume, an algorithm might automatically reject your application.

Fortunately this problem can be easily avoided by simply knowing what keywords are relevant for a specific position and ensuring that your resume is able to be read by whatever system you’re submitting it to.

How to optimize your resume

Target your resume to the job you’re applying for.  You should never use the same resume twice.

Consider online ads that are served to you based off your browsing history.  For example, on Monday you look up information about the latest models of cellphones you’re interested in buying. Later that same day, you start noticing ads for different cell phones popping up all over the place.

It’s the same concept with your resume. If you’re applying for a position that has an emphasis on communication skills, you should find ways to work in all of your prior communication skills throughout your resume.

Keywords, keywords, keywords.  At it’s core, an applicant screening algorithm is parsing all the text in your resume and looking for keywords that can be matched up to the job you’re applying for.

This is why the most important aspect of optimizing your resume for an online job is to get your keywords right.

It’s a good idea to include an overview or qualification summary at the beginning of your resume that includes as many relevant keywords as possible.

Think of this as your resume’s tag cloud – the same kind of tag cloud you see on blogs.

Keywords should be separated by either a comma or a period.  Any other character, and the screening software may have a difficult time parsing the content.

Avoid stuffing this section with keywords and let common sense guide you.


A well constructed resume is the best way to get your foot in the door when you apply for an online job.

By taking some extra time to tailor your resume for each job you apply to, you’ll land a work from home job in no time.

Alright, enough from me, what about you? What resume tips have worked best for you?

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