5 Secrets for Resume Success

With all of the technology at our fingertips, who would believe that at one point in time, candidates applied for jobs in person?? Not so long ago, it was suggested that you show up fairly close to opening time, dressed professionally in a navy or black suit, ready to fill out the firm’s paper application. This interaction gave an eager candidate the opportunity to interact face to face with management before an interview was ever discussed! My how things have changed. The application processes for most companies are now conducted electronically, which really does make sense.

This is the most efficient, cost effective method for recruiters and hiring managers who are faced with thousands of resumes on a weekly basis. It is humanly impossible for an individual to accurately evaluate the qualifications of numerous candidates in one week. Therefore, many employers use a scanning system to find qualified applicants for open positions. What this means for the candidate is simple: if you don’t know what to include as well as how to format your resume, you could be overlooked. Keep the following in mind as you continue to submit your resume and strive to reach your next level:

1. Some databases convert your resume into the ASCII format, which is what the system understands. This means that you don’t have to convert your resume and your name should be the only item on the first line.

2. Remove graphics and/or artwork from your resume. The system doesn’t read this information.

3. Your resume should contain keywords or “buzzwords”. Not sure which ones to use?? The position that you are applying for contains skills and job titles that apply to the position. Your resume should contain some of those same words.

4. Bulleted items can confuse the scanner so convert the bullets to hyphens or asterisks.

5. Use only one font size, between 10 and 14 points with all text moved to the left margin. In terms of font design, try Arial or Times New Roman. In addition, keep in mind the system doesn’t read bold, italics, and underlines.

I’ve heard and even said that your resume should be attractive and that hasn’t changed. If you have the opportunity to email you resume, you can send the “attractive one” as well as an ASCII version to your contact person within the organization. However, if you have the opportunity to simply apply online; please don’t risk your potential job opportunity because the database didn’t like your resume. It is wiser to make the necessary adjustments so that you might be considered for newly anticipated position.

Ericka Spradley