Monday, June 30, 2008

Designing Digital Resumes

Job candidates often give no thought of designing their resume for the new digital world. Once sent, a system will likely review their resume several times before it lands on the desk of a real-live person. There are several major things a candidate can to do to help themselves when building a resume destined to be submitted online.
  • Do not count on a personal review of resume. Managers are busier, and more often these days they let systems narrow the field of candidates for them.
  • Find and use key words. Key words are vital and will help applicants get past the initial screening to a live person. To determine what the key words are for a position you are applying, do an Internet search of online ads or job descriptions for similar positions (e.g., by job title: “Chemical Engineer” or “High School Math Teacher.” Scan the ads, and make a list of descriptive words you see repeated (note: expect from 3-4 key words to as many as 10 or more for complex jobs).
  • Salt resume with key words sensibly. Use the key words in ways that make sense and provide a natural, even flow. Use of key words should not be obvious and get in the way of your message.
  • Win the “space race.” Remember, the resume is basically an advertisement. You want it to gain attention, picque interest, and get you to the next stage of the hiring process. Therefore, resist the need to tell your life story. Keep your resume from 1-2 pages in length, with a readable font and some white space. Save the rest of your story for the interviews.
  • Use resume to highlight areas not covered on a job application. Some organizations fail to ask about such things as language skills, technical skills, volunteer work, and professional organization involvement. Including brief mention of these items in a resume can help set you apart.

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