How to Build an Online Resume: 6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

The rules of the game have changed over the last two decades. An online resume is more important than a physical one nowadays. Consequently, it is crucial for you to make a great first impression if you want to get the job.


Landing a great job is not as hard as it might appear when you know what recruiters have in mind. On the whole, recruiters want the best match for the candidate and company. Therefore, they must find applicants that best fit the job description and company culture. You can facilitate recruiters’ jobs by giving them the information they want to see on your resume. Here are five great ways to build an online resume so you can get your foot in the door and get that job you have always wanted.

How to Build an Online Resume: Five Ways to Make a Great First Impression

What Is an Online Resume?

In essence, an online resume is the same as a traditional paper resume except in digital form. Your online resume should still include your job history, education, relevant skills and contact information. Consequently, you must ensure that your online resume presents the most essential information recruiters need.

Your online resume is not a scanned version of your paper resume. It includes additional functionality and features such as hyperlinks and searchability. Online resumes come in a variety of formats. However, trying out unusual formats may do more harm than good as they may be confusing or hard to read. If a recruiter cannot identify the necessary experience or skills in under 10 seconds, they are likely to move on to the next resume Please remember that your online resume’s main goal is to make the recruiters’ job easier. You can do that by cutting down on the fluff and focusing on substance.

Please keep in mind, online or not, your resume makes the first impression. That first impression can get your foot in the door or cause recruiters to think, “next!” According to research, roughly 90% of resumes get the heave-ho. That means you have a 1 in 10 chance to get past the first filter.

Why Do You Need an Online Resume?

Most recruiters now use some type of software-assisted search system. These search systems use algorithms and keyword research to filter job applications. Now, more than ever, you need to ensure your resume is up to par — meaning online.

According to recent data, three-quarters of recruiters in large companies use an applicant tracking system. Also, more than three-quarters of applications do not get beyond those tracking systems. Given recruiters’ increasing reliance on automated tools to help them find suitable candidates, you cannot afford to go without an online resume.

Virtually all business processes have some form of a computer-assisted component to them, including hiring. Moreover, some processes are now entirely digital. This makes sense when you factor in the time and resources saved by automation.

Recruiters understand the usefulness of using digital tools to help them find and hire the right people. In the past, you had to deliver your resume in person or send it by mail. This approach required weeks, even months, to fill an open position. Then, the fax machine made delivery nearly instantaneous. Now, with the rise of the internet, filling a position can take hours.

Of course, you can still use the post office to deliver your resume. Doing so would most likely be a waste of time and money, though. Given the importance of digital online tools, you must have a neatly polished online resume. Without one, you are essentially invisible to recruiters.

How to host an online resume?

How Can You Host Your Online Resume?

The next big decision you must make is where to host your online resume. Having a digital version of your paper resume is not enough. You need to have a permanent location where interested recruiters can find you. So, let’s discuss the available options you have to host your online resume.

Business Focused Social Networking Sites

By far, the top business networking site is LinkedIn. LinkedIn currently boasts more than 800 million users worldwide. Top companies and major players in the business world have their presence on LinkedIn, and so should you.

According to recent data, more than 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly. Furthermore, 122 million people received interview offers via LinkedIn, while 35.5 million received job offers. These figures also indicate that roughly three people receive job offers via LinkedIn every minute. As you can see, business networking sites such as LinkedIn are the place to be.

Please note that LinkedIn is not the only game in town. There are other business networking sites you can check out, such as Meetup, Xing, and Opportunity. It is worth checking out each one of these sites so you can further expand your online presence.

Job Boards

Job boards have become increasingly popular. These sites aim to automate recruiting as much as possible. Users upload their work history and personal information, and recruiters filter through the information to find applicants that match their search criteria. Job boards such as Indeed, Monster, or Flexjobs are quite popular and typically offer thousands of jobs daily. Please remember to keep your resume updated and refresh it regularly; many recruiters do not look at resumes that have not been refreshed in recent weeks.

Your Personal Website or Blog

Creating a personal site to host an online resume has become a popular alternative for some industries. This strategy is quite common among professionals who may need a projects portfolio or want to maintain a constant online presence. Nevertheless, anyone who wants to keep an online presence can take advantage of this approach. For example, writing a blog can become a great way to showcase your writing ability, knowledge, experience, and industry-specific expertise. Please keep in mind that a personal site is not the same as a social media profile. Social media profiles typically focus on your personal life. You must, therefore, consider your personal site as a professional reference recruiters can check out to learn more about your experience and capabilities.

Additionally, you may be asked to submit an online resume through a proprietary job portal belonging to the company at which you are applying. In that case, you can include a hyperlink within your resume that links directly to your personal site or blog.

How Can You Build an Online Resume to Make a Great First Impression?

Building an online resume to make a great first impression is about showcasing your strengths while keeping your information concise and relevant. So, here are six great strategies you can implement to help your online resume cause a great first impression.

1. Include relevant keywords and SEO

Your resume should contain keywords relevant to your job description, title and skills. For instance, if you want an editor job, your resume should include the word “editor”, as well as associated words and software, as often as possible without unreasonably stuffing your resume with keywords. This approach boosts your resume’s search engine optimization (SEO). Please remember that recruiters use automated search systems. Thus, using relevant keywords and phrases will ensure your CV is visible.

2. Do some research, look for examples

Looking at other people’s resumes can help you get a feel for the good tactics others use to stand out. Also, you can get a sense of what others do wrong. Look for typical formats and templates that best fit your industry and needs. Please keep an eye on aspects such as fonts, colors, organization, and content to help you get a good perspective on what works and what does not. Please remember to keep it simple and avoid distracting recruiters with needless information.

3. Focus “above the fold”

The heart of your resume’s information should be in the section known as “above the fold.” Traditionally, good resumes included the most relevant information and a clean-looking headshot in the top third or half of the resume, hence “above the fold.” In online resumes the “fold” is where the browser window ends but the content continues. Once you start to scroll, you are below the fold. Additionally, include key information in the first few lines of every section. Please remember that recruiters scan every section’s first two or three lines. Leading off each section with the most relevant information ensures you get more of a recruiter’s attention.

4. Address timeline gaps

It is common for most people to have gaps in their employment history. There are many reasons why this can happen. So, it is a good idea to address these gaps. Indicating when you went back to school or took some time off is important as this shows you are transparent. Otherwise, it might seem like you are hiding something. If you have frequent job changes, it is a good idea to include a brief explanation about why you needed to change jobs often. For instance, your resume has a gap between 2010 and 2012. A simple one-liner stating, “Enrolled in Master’s Degree Program at ” can provide a clear explanation about why there is a gap in your resume.

update written on a typewriter

5. Regular Updates

Failing to update your resume regularly is a key mistake. Firstly, regular updates are important to ensure you have the most relevant information on your resume. Secondly, updating your resume ensures you tailor it to fit the position(s) you want now. Be sure to revisit keywords and update them to match your current search and skills. When you neglect to update your resume, recruiters may not find your application relevant to the position you want.

6. Get feedback

Getting honest, third-party feedback can help you effectively tweak your resume. Asking friends, family, professors, or other professionals is a great way to optimize your resume. Never underestimate the power of objective feedback. After all, it is quite possible you may have overlooked something important.

In Conclusion

Just like a traditional website, you can’t just create your online resume and expect it to do all the work for you. You still need to apply to job openings, network, follow up on opportunities and go on interviews. An online resume can help you get noticed and open up opportunities but it’s up to you to land the job. Please check out our article titled, “How to Get the Job: 15 Great Job Interview Tips” for a helpful list of tips and strategies you can use to ace your next interview.

How Can TalentZök Help You Find the Right Job?

TalentZök is a specialized staffing firm that matches the right people with the right companies. Find out more today about how we can help match you with the right company. Our business partners are looking for someone like you to make a difference in their organization.


This post is made available for informational purposes only to provide a general understanding of the topics discussed herein. It is not intended to provide specific business, legal, or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. TalentZök is not liable or responsible for any damage or loss arising from any reliance placed on such materials.

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