About a year ago, I helped a friend’s husband with his resume and within 2 weeks he landed an interview and in a month, he had secured a part-time position in his field as a mechanic. He was delighted as he was job hunting for more than 18 months.
One of the main obstacles that had previously hindered his job search was an ineffective, poorly written paper-only resume. Once he was able to email his resume and respond to online applications, it improved his prospects a whole lot. (Now, I don’t ever recommend that you exclusively use online job sites)
At a time when everyone is online, texting, Tweeting, emailing and doing everything but live on the Internet, having a digital ready resume is not optional. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind when developing a digital resume that will make it appropriate for all online mediums and document search systems.
- Leave the creativity to your wardrobe. Digital resumes don’t need to look fancy. Enhancing items like clip art, photos, logos, and other graphics transform into strange looking characters, distort the resume content and make it difficult for HR specialists and hiring managers to read.
- Say goodbye to headers and footers. Once you create a text document, headers and footers actually “disappear” so avoid using them to place your name and contact information or you could end up missing interview opportunities.
- Templates complicate the process. While using a pre-formatted resume templates may see like a great idea, they end up creating more trouble than they are worth as most templates use tables and columns that can’t be read by electronic systems.
- Size matters. Your resume should not require readers to need magnifying glasses for either a person or a system. Keep fonts to at least 10-point and stick with sans-serif options like Arial, Times Roman, Courier New, Calibri, Century Gothic and Book Antiqua.
- Pay attention to keyword and key phrases. If you deviate from traditional resume section titles – for example, instead of “Training and Development“, saying “Personal Growth” – your resume could get inaccurately overlooked by the parsing system. Stick with basic section titles like Education, Professional Experience, Certifications, Training etc.
- Being separate is acceptable. Unless you held one position over the years and the job responsibilities never changed, always provide separate job descriptions and achievements each position, so associated keywords and related content gets proper credit through the scanning system.
What has been your experience with resume/employment application systems in terms of finding you a fit for your target positions?