5 Steps to an E-friendly Résumé


Today's Internet-driven world has changed the way we look and apply for jobs. Gone are the days of handwritten cover letters, typewritten résumés and hand-delivered job applications. Given the increasing number of online job boards that require Web-based applications, many employers don't want a hard copy of your résumé. Instead, they'll ask you to submit an electronic résumé, either online or via e-mail.

Electronic résumés are plain text or HTML documents, which can also be included in the body of an e-mail for job applications online. It may not be as attractive as your word-formatted résumé in all its bulleted, bold-text, fancy-font glory, but it gets the job done.

Why you need one

When an employer asks you to submit your application materials via e-mail or online, your résumé will be entered into an automated applicant-tracking system. These systems don't care what your résumé looks like physically, which is why it's imperative you reformat yours so the database can read it. The system will scan your résumé (along with hundreds of others), keeping those with keywords similar to the company's job descriptions and discarding the rest.

Make sure you keep a hard (and visually appealing) copy of your résumé on hand – not all employers are up-to-date on the latest technologies and may still require a paper copy. Plus, you'll need one to give to employers at all of your interviews.

Here are five easy steps to format your existing résumé into an e-friendly work of art.

1. Remove all formatting from your original résumé.
Unfortunately, the same formatting that makes your résumé nice to look at makes it almost impossible for a computer to understand.

To remove the formatting, open your word-processed résumé and choose the "Save As" option under the "File" tab on your toolbar. Save the document type as Plain Text or Text Only. In the following dialog box, choose the option to insert line breaks.

2. Use Notepad, WordPad or SimpleText to reformat.
Close your original résumé document and reopen the text version using editing software like Notepad, WordPad or SimpleText. Your text version should be free of most graphic elements, like fancy fonts, lines and bullets. Text should be flush with the left side of the document.

3. Stick to a simple font and style.
Use clear, sans-serif fonts, like Courier, Arial or Helvetica. This way, the computer won't mistake your fancy lettering for a jumbled word.

Use a 12-point font; anything smaller won't scan well. Also, stay away from italics or underlining. Rather than using boldface type, try using capital letters to separate sections like education and experience.

Instead of using bullets, use such standard keyboard characters as an asterisk or a dash. Instead of using the "Tab" key, use the space key to indent. Make sure all headings – like your name, address, phone and e-mail – appear on separate lines, with a blank line before and after.

4. Apply keywords.
Applicant-tracking systems scan résumés for keywords that match the company's job descriptions. Fill your résumé accordingly with such words (as they pertain to your experience), but remember that using the same word five times won't increase your chances of getting called in for an interview.

Place the most important words first, since the scanner may be limited in the number of words it reads. Use nouns instead of verbs. For example: "communications specialist," "sales representative" or "computer proficiency" is better than "managed," "developed" or "generated."

Additionally, avoid abbreviations as best you can. Spell out phrases like "bachelor of science" or "master of business administration."

5. Test it out.
After you've reformatted your résumé into a text document, make sure it really is e-friendly. Practice sending your new résumé via e-mail to yourself, as well as friends who use a different Internet service provider. For example, if you use AOL, send it a friend who uses MSN Hotmail.

Send your e-résumé pasted in the body of an e-mail, rather as an attachment. Have your friend alert you to any errors that show when they open it, like illegibility and organization. After getting feedback, make any necessary adjustments.
 
Source: careerbuilder

Perfecting Your Digital Résumé

You spent hours scrutinizing every word and punctuation mark of your résumé. You listened to the criticism and advice of one proofreader after another telling you exactly how to make your résumé flawless. Now it's perfect and you are ready to send a digital résumé to the company of your dreams through the Internet with just a click of the mouse.

Before you send it, stop and consider the hundreds, maybe thousands, of job seekers you're competing with who are about to do the same thing. Are you still confident your résumé is ready to shoot through cyberspace?

The Internet has drastically changed the job search and how to write an effective résumé. Years ago, the classifieds section of a newspaper could only reach job seekers in a limited area. Today, the Internet allows job seekers from all over the country to find and apply for jobs thousands of miles away. A study of more than 1,500 job seekers discovered that 34 percent found their last job on an Internet job board, according to Peter Weddle, an expert in recruiting and Internet job search. The competition that this has created among job seekers requires résumés to be more precise and outstanding than ever.

With so many employers relying on computers to screen résumés through keywords, job seekers must know how to make their résumé stand out from the thousands of others it competes with.

"It is believed that more than 80 percent of all résumés processed by employers are now electronically searched for specific keywords before a human ever sees them," says Richard Beatty, author of "The Ultimate Job Search" (Jist).

Keywords are typically nouns and noun phrases that represent specific areas of skill or experience that the employer identifies as important. Computers sort through résumés and distinguish which ones feature more of these keywords than others.

Beatty suggests job seekers scan job ads, job descriptions and company Web sites to create a list of which skills employers need most often. Placing these skills on your résumé will demonstrate that you have something employers want. Because computers also count the number of times keywords are used, Beatty recommends repeating the words moderately throughout the résumé to ensure the computer pulls it from the masses.

Beatty also believes it is important for people to create a plain-text version of their résumé to quickly copy and paste into the body of an e-mail, rather than send as an attachment.

Although it would seem easier to send an MS Word document, employers have shifted away from accepting résumés this way due to computer viruses that are often embedded in e-mail attachments.

The subject of your e-mail should catch the reader's attention by featuring words more enticing than "résumé" or "profile." Beatty suggests job seekers try using subjects like "Talented Human Resources Professional" or "Award-Winning Sales Professional" to stand out to employers.

As job seekers prepare to apply for jobs, Beatty encourages them to use these techniques to get ahead of their competition.

But job seekers beware. Just because you've loaded your résumé with keywords, converted it into a plain-text format and e-mailed it to an employer under an enticing subject, that doesn't mean it won't be discarded later.

Job seekers would be wise to avoid the mistakes most often committed on résumés. The following are the most common résumé mistakes:

  • Typos or grammatical errors
  • Including too much information
  • Not listing achievements in former roles
  • Poor layout and/or design
  • Including too little information

"Considering the extent of today's competition and the huge numbers involved, résumé writing is not a process you can afford to leave to chance," Beatty advises. "Designing the right résumé can make all the difference in the world. It will determine whether your candidacy rises to the top or sinks to the bottom of the stack."

Anatomy of a memorable résumé

A memorable résumé is crucial in helping you get your foot in the door. "The structure and strategy behind a résumé are often the keys to engaging employers," says Laura Smith-Proulx, executive director of résumé writing service An Expert Résumé. Getting the right résumé formula isn't as hard as it looks. Here's a top-to-bottom list to help you craft the perfect résumé:
Clear formatMany different formats are available online. Choose a format that looks professional and use an 11- or 12-point font so no one has to squint. Colors done in a tasteful manner can also help job seekers stand out, says Mary Elizabeth Bradford, author of "21st Century Résumé Guide for the Perplexed." "I prefer two colors to add character to a résumé but one must use discernment and not overdo it," she  says.
Résumé title If you're worried about starting with a boring summary of your achievements, use the top of your résumé to convey a quick title, such as, "Business Development and Sales Director" or "Vice President, IT," Smith-Proulx suggests. "Résumés without titles often appear 'headless' and confuse the reader as to your ultimate goal," she says.
Quick tagline and profileAfter the title, add a one-sentence tagline to further promote your skills and "give a quick snapshot of brand value," Smith-Proulx says. Then add a profile of your qualifications in one or two sentences. Tailor your résumé with keywords from the job description to help your résumé get past the electronic filtering systems.
Reverse-chronological job historyMost hiring managers want to see this type of résumé, even if there are holes in your job history. "Even if there are gaps in your career, it's critical to show employers your work chronology, as many will rule out candidates that appear to be hiding something about their past," Smith-Proulx says. Address any gaps with a single-line explanation, she adds. With limited space, use the bullet points of each role to highlight specific achievements. If your résumé goes back more than 15 years, then simply state the company name and position without providing details.
EducationRecruiters don't need to know where you went to high school, but it's important to include any certifications or college degrees that are applicable to your career. Most of the time, graduation years are also necessary. No matter what degree you earned, don't be afraid to point it out, Smith-Proulx says. "Even seemingly unrelated degrees can be valuable to employers, as in the case of sales reps who have a degree in psychology," she says.
Extracurricular activitiesEven though it doesn't speak directly to your professional background, including any hobbies or volunteering positions can help you stand out from the other applicants. Several points that allude to your personality will help hiring managers gauge whether you'd be a fit for the company's culture or provide a glimpse of your life outside of work. But be careful about disclosing too much about your religious or political views. "You'll want to avoid mentioning affiliations that disclose your religious activities, as this can turn off hiring managers who don't share your preference," Smith-Proulx  says.
As you work to include the various components, it's important to tailor certain areas of your résumé. Consider your résumé from an employer's perspective -- decide which skills and accomplishments are best to highlight. "Leave out info that does not apply to your next job," Bradford says. "Get laser-focused on an ideal job and write the résumé to that industry and position." Each position is different, so having various versions can help you build a more memorable document.

Source: careerbuilder

4 Hidden Resume Mistakes That Will Cost You The Job

Most employers will tell you that job seekers routinely make obvious, painful errors on their resumes that cost them the job. And while there are online tools that will help you avoid making some of these mistakes, such as punctuation errors, most tools won't catch these four major blunders.

When you fill your resume with lavish self-praise, like "dedicated self-starter," "exceptional communication skills," and "hard-working professional," you're just stating your own opinion. This kind of language is like nails on a chalkboard to recruiters. Why? You're not stating facts. Don't tell them how you see yourself. Prove it by listing quantifiable accomplishments. Let the recruiter decide if you're actually a self-starter.


Too Much Info:
Many people assume they should list everything they have ever done at every job. It makes them feel like they're proving they've got valuable experience. Well, in reality, it detracts from your core message and strengths. Information overload to a recruiter is not a way to stand out. It's actually the fastest way to get in the 'no' pile. That's because, when they see you've listed everything, they look for every single skill they need. And, if even one skill is missing, they assume you don't have it.

The better approach is to simplify the resume to list only the key skills you want to leverage. Then you will be implying that you have a lot more to offer -- but the recruiters need to contact you to find out. Less is more. If the hiring managers like what they see, they'll contact you for a phone screen to get more details. And that's exactly what you want the resume to do: Make the phone ring!

Weak Top-Fold:
The first third of our resume is known as the "top-fold" -- it's where the eye goes when someone sees your resume for the first time. Most studies say a hiring manager's mind is made up about the candidate within six to 13 seconds of reading the resume. Which means the top-fold is determining whether you even get considered for the job. Text-intensive top-folds that aren't well-formatted and don't present key skill sets lose the reader's attention. It's that simple.

Fancy Fonts:
Curly-tailed fonts (aka fancy fonts) are harder to read. That translates into the reader absorbing less of what's been written. When you use script fonts as a way to make your resume look "classier," you are only making it harder for the hiring manager to retain what you are all about. Skip the script font and go with something clean-lined, like Arial or Calibri. While that may look more basic, the hiring manager will at least take in more -- and that can lead to the phone call you want.

Keep in mind: Your resume is your marketing document. Paying attention to these minor details can help you get a better response to your marketing message. Which is: "I'm worth talking to about this job!"




Source: careerbuilder

Résumés in 2012: What's old, what's new?

It seems everyone has an opinion on what a résumé should contain, how many pages it should be and how it should be formatted. So as we enter into a new year, what are the universally agreed-upon elements that are in, and which ones are now passé? Here are some of the best practices when it comes to crafting your résumé in 2012:

Stop trying to make "objective statements" happen
The days of including a career objective and/or professional summary are over. It's a waste of valuable space. Instead, just address this with a sentence in your cover letter about how the position you're applying for fits into your overall career plan. Get to business by starting with accomplishments and facts that are relevant to the job posting.

Be concrete
Use numbers and proof of what you've done. "Increased sales by 35 percent through client profiling campaign" is better than "Increased sales in my region." Stop putting generic tasks down, and instead, get creative in portraying what you did in your role or how you brought forth new ideas for products, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can quantify your efforts with actual numbers or data, the better positioned you'll be.

Cover letters are back
Like the "two page versus one page" debate, the subject of cover letters is heated. While some recruiters say they don't bother looking at them, others say some job seekers have grown lazy and won't take the time to write one or tailor one specifically to the company to which they are applying. It's a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it's where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don't just push it out to every job prospect. Take the extra few minutes to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.

Keywords are your friend
If a recruiter or manager can put your résumé side-by-side with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you've made his life so much easier. Instead of using a lot of useless jargon on your résumé, pay attention to the keywords in the job posting. Be sure to use them in your résumé and cover letter, because even applicant tracking systems are based on keyword searches. Just as you use keywords to search for jobs, employers are using keywords to find your résumé.

Get creative with quick response codes
Young professionals are using QR codes -- bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones to download or link to information -- on the back of business cards and on their résumé to link to online portfolios. As you network and attend career fairs, you're able to pass out business cards with the QR code that can link recruiters and other contacts to either your portfolio or LinkedIn profile so they can instantly connect with you.

Wow with visual résumés
More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites such as Vizualize.me. These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their résumés in a unique way that stands out. Just remember that you still need a traditional format to hand out or attach to make it easy for saving in company databases.

Give video a chance
In this tough economy, job seekers are going to creative lengths to get their name, talents and personality in front of employers, like this résumé video for a Google position. If you're going to create something like this, make sure you're providing substance or showing off your soft skills within the video instead of just doing something flashy to get the recruiter's attention.

Social media are here to stay
If you're not using social media to promote yourself, you're missing out. Just as employers use multiple avenues to push out job postings, you as a job seeker need to use all the channels available to you to put yourself in front of recruiters. Using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals gives your résumé legs and can make you more memorable as a candidate. But since companies are screening candidates through social media, make sure your online profiles are either professional facing or locked for outside viewing.






source: careerbuilder

Résumé-writing tips for managers and executives

Job seekers often communicate a first impression through their résumés. In the newly updated edition of "Expert Résumés for Managers and Executives," authors Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark stress the importance of a strong résumé for all applicants.

"A vital component of your career management plan is your résumé, which must instantly position you as a well-qualified and highly competitive candidate," the authors say. "The easiest way to accomplish that objective is by developing a powerful, performance-based résumé."

In their book, Enelow and Kursmark provide numerous résumé samples, divided by career field, that are aimed at people at all levels of management, from front-line supervisors to top-level executives. They also offer nine strategies for writing effective résumés:

1. Write for the job you want: "You cannot write an effective résumé without knowing, at least to some degree, what type or types of positions you will be seeking."

2. Sell it to me, don't tell it to me: "If you 'tell it,' you simply state facts. If you 'sell it,' you promote it, advertise it and draw attention to it."

3. Use keywords: "Keywords are ... specific to a particular industry or profession. When you use these words and phrases, you are communicating a specific message."

4. Use the "big" and save the "little": "Try to focus on the 'big' things -- revenue and profit growth, new initiatives and ventures, special projects, cost savings ... then save the 'little' stuff -- the details -- for the interview."

5. Make your résumé "interviewable": After "you are contacted for a telephone or in-person interview, your résumé becomes all-important in leading and prompting your interviewer during your conversation."

6. Eliminate confusion with structure and context: "Be consistent, make information easy to find and define the context in which you worked."

7. Use function to demonstrate achievement: "A résumé that focuses on your job functions can be dry and uninteresting and says little about your unique activities and contributions."
8. Remain in the realm of reality: "Do not push your skills and qualifications outside the bounds of what is truthful."

9. Be confident: "There is only one individual with the specific combination of employment experience, qualifications, achievements, education and technical skills that you have."

"Your résumé can have tremendous power and a phenomenal impact on your job search. So don't take it lightly," Enelow and Kursmark say. "Rather, devote the time, energy and resources that are essential to developing a résumé that is well-written, visually attractive and effective in communicating who you are and how you want to be perceived."




Source: careerbuilder

Résumé tips and tricks

Résumés in 2013: What's old, what's new?

It seems everyone has an opinion on what a résumé should contain, how many pages it should be and how it should be formatted. So as we enter into a new year, what are the universally agreed-upon elements that are in, and which ones are now passé? Here are some of the best practices when it comes to crafting your résumé in 2013:

Stop trying to make "objective statements" happen
The days of including a career objective and/or professional summary are over. It's a waste of valuable space. Instead, just address this with a sentence in your cover letter about how the position you're applying for fits into your overall career plan. Get to business by starting with accomplishments and facts that are relevant to the job posting.

Be concrete
Use numbers and proof of what you've done. "Increased sales by 35 percent through client profiling campaign" is better than "Increased sales in my region." Stop putting generic tasks down, and instead, get creative in portraying what you did in your role or how you brought forth new ideas for products, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can quantify your efforts with actual numbers or data, the better positioned you'll be.

Cover letters are back
Like the "two page versus one page" debate, the subject of cover letters is heated. While some recruiters say they don't bother looking at them, others say some job seekers have grown lazy and won't take the time to write one or tailor one specifically to the company to which they are applying. It's a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it's where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don't just push it out to every job prospect. Take the extra few minutes to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.

Keywords are your friend
If a recruiter or manager can put your résumé side-by-side with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you've made his life so much easier. Instead of using a lot of useless jargon on your résumé, pay attention to the keywords in the job posting. Be sure to use them in your résumé and cover letter, because even applicant tracking systems are based on keyword searches. Just as you use keywords to search for jobs, employers are using keywords to find your résumé.

Get creative with quick response codes
 Young professionals are using QR codes -- bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones to download or link to information -- on the back of business cards and on their résumé to link to online portfolios. As you network and attend career fairs, you're able to pass out business cards with the QR code that can link recruiters and other contacts to either your portfolio or LinkedIn profile so they can instantly connect with you.

Wow with visual résumés
More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites such as Vizualize.me. These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their résumés in a unique way that stands out. Just remember that you still need a traditional format to hand out or attach to make it easy for saving in company databases.

Give video a chance
In this tough economy, job seekers are going to creative lengths to get their name, talents and personality in front of employers, like this résumé video for a Google position. If you're going to create something like this, make sure you're providing substance or showing off your soft skills within the video instead of just doing something flashy to get the recruiter's attention.

Social media are here to stay
If you're not using social media to promote yourself, you're missing out. Just as employers use multiple avenues to push out job postings, you as a job seeker need to use all the channels available to you to put yourself in front of recruiters. Using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals gives your résumé legs and can make you more memorable as a candidate. But since companies are screening candidates through social media, make sure your online profiles are either professional facing or locked for outside viewing.

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