- Resumes should be on quality Bond Paper, ideally with a light pastel color making distinctive without being feminine and easier on the eye to read.
- Fonts smaller than 10 point are not recommended. About 50% of our population over 20 years old need vision aids (glasses, etc.) for regular use or reading. Using an 11 or 12 point font makes it easier for everyone to read thus leaving a better impression with the reader. It consumes more space but it is it better to have Resumes easily and clearly readable than to skip over sections or become frustrated with your Resume. You can enlarge or shrink this page electronically through your browser at will to meet your needs. Paper doesn't work that way.
- Spell Check is nearly always free with a word processor. Try it sometime it can
make a significant difference between looking professional and being pathetic.
- Avoid the "weirdness" appeal if you are applying for a job.
- Do not engage is content without substance.
APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS
What happens when people want high tech on a tight budget to reduce the time
Human Resources spend looking at Resume. You buy this technology and you
get what you pay for if you're lucky.
There is a lot of fault out there on these system and why they are used so don't
think job seekers are exempt from blame.
Submitting a Resume that is not specifically written for the specific position you are seeking is like sitting in a Casino playing Poker with "Go Fish" cards. Hope as you may, you cannot win and may be tossed then banned from the Casino for life. Companies may "black list" you for submitting "junk" and not a professional Resume they expected or requested.
Companies buy without checking things out and end up with an Applicant Tracking System that prints out a formatted Resume as one long continuous paragraph with all formatting being lost. Some scanners can't handle color, underlines, horizontal bars, many different fonts, many different font sizes, etc. Job Seekers who KNOW a company uses an Applicant Tracking Systems will do themselves well by always bringing good clean formatted copies of the Resume to the interview and offer them to the Interviewers. You will be an instant hero.
So, with a very imperfect system on both sides, what do we do?
1. Applicant Tracking Systems Scoring.
In addition to extracting key information such as name, address, contact info,
certifications, dates, etc., they are also looking for KEYWORDS which can be
anything they want them to be. This assists in determining, often by simple
count of the located keywords, who moves forward and who does not.
Keep in mind some companies will intentionally list a requirement that they
want but are looking for a keyword that would meet their real objective. An
example is requiring experience with a computer technology and 6 years of
experience. In this case, if you really have 6 years experience you would also
likely reference the Industry Standards Committee that was defining this
technology back then as it was not released to the public 6 years ago. They
keyword was not the technology but the name of the Committee.
If you have the experience take credit for it and potentially put yourself in a
better chance for an interview. If you DO NOT HAVE the experience do not set
yourself for being Black Listed. Most companies will deny this practice yet in
fact it is being done and you have no means to find out why or how to fix it.
2. Here are the "gotta haves" things for an Applicant Tracking System.
This is a simple means to screen people out quickly. Scoring is often done on a
simple count of the word in your Resume, thus the more the better for
screening people in or out and include them in your Cover Letter as that often is
STRENGTHS (or Executive Summary or Core Competencies or others)
This provides a snapshot of your skills, strengths and other items of high value.
It is also on the top one-third of your first page so humans can find it easily.
Include these across your Resume for higher keyword counts.
Computers do not understand humor so don't try it as it will confused the
system designed to keep you out and confusion will keep you out of the race.
Spell out abbreviations to insure your hit rate will be higher because someone
did not spell something out in the keywords.
FONTS AND SIZES
Minimize your creativity to no more than 3 font sizes and 1 to 3 font faces.
Arial, Georgia, Impact, Lucinda, New Times Roman, Tahoma and Trebecha seem
to be the most readable for scanned Resumes.
- Avoid graphics or logos as scanners that look for text get all confused. Some
were trained to skip over these in subsequent generations of their software.
But upgrades often cost time, labor and hard dollars so frequent updates are
not high on many lists.
Graphics, pictures and the link are NOT searchable by this technology. So
what does this mean? It means if you had the words I AM THE BEST ONE
YOU WILL EVER HOPE TO FIND, the scanning system WILL NOT SEE IT because
it is an image and not text. This includes text in Excel, PowerPoint, Visio
and darn near anything else.
- Headers and Footers are often used to provide information even if it is just
the page numbers. DO NOT DO THIS. It is reported most system will not
scan what is in the Headers and Footers.
- When we scan a page our eye can go all over the page and detect clear space
seperated items for columns, tables, etc. These systems don't have human
eyes. Each line is scanned for content ONE LINE AT A TIME. Spaces are NOT
recognized to indicate a new column or table. Put another way, imaging all
that information squished together looking at each line at a time and how
readable and informative that FAILS to be.
- PDF's are a great document technology but many systems do not have a clue
how to read the "digital" information and formatting to actually read it. Here
the documents are often simply entered as input and not scanned which is a
- Headers and Footers most likely will be skipped so an old tradition to help
people in Human Resources dies because of bad software.
- Speed kills and so do Resume lengths
Try sitting and reading 50 horrible resumes that were badly scanned turning
them into a mess. Once the system is finished, in come the humans who
can't do 50 resumes a day. As my fifth Jr. High School Science Teacher
advised us (before gender sensitivity become rampant), "It's like a girl's skirt.
Long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting."
Thank you Ms. Wall.
- Copy/Paste versus uploads
When possible, always upload as it reduces risks by you and the machines.
Risk reduction if not elimination is something you want. Just make sure you
have delivered a high quality, targeted, informative and attractive Resume for
them to be impressed by you and your accomplishments and skills.
- Skellin Errrors
An ATS will make not attempt to correct your Resume and for many very good
reasons, starting with your Resume should be as pristine as possible. If you
don't know now to use a Spell Checker or care to take the time, say Goodbye!
And no one every promised a Spell Checker will identify every problem there!
Resume Format & Content for College Graduates
Whether an undergraduate seeking summer work, part-time work or recently graduated you need to follow a different format because you most likely have limited experience. Thus the order of the Resume changes to show the most relevant items first to capture the attention and interest of the reader. Makes sense, right?
- Qualifications Summary
Show your top qualifications here making it more effective than an objective statement. Focus on clearly outlining the employer a picture of the value you bring to their organization. People buy what they want and not always what they need.
You either are now with degree or it's still in progress. While this is typically at the end of the last page, you want it as the second section in your Resume. If you do have real-world experience (direct jobs, summer programs, internships, real-word class assignments, etc.) make sure that is included as it adds value to your academics.
- Unrelated Jobs
As suggested above, you may have had jobs to build your professional experience or have funds for college and it may not all be related to your field of study. Show you worked as this presents a picture of a good work ethics and dependability to employers. Give home images of leadership, drive and determination even it if is sweeping warehouse floors or mopping floors.
- View Your Resume from the Employer's Perspective
Touch on past jobs that involve hard and soft skills employers want for the position(s) you are seeking. Highlight these skill development opportunities.
- Resume Length
There are some disputes in this due to the growing use of employers scanning Resume. While not politically correct, my female Junior High Science Teacher told me to create a document "that is like a girl's skirt: short enough to cover the subject to long enough to make it interesting."
Scanning really has no impact on required content. It does have a potential impact on not scanning certain areas well, bad scans of letters or special symbols, total miss of some areas, and the ever cursed no line breaks leaving a resume nearly unreadable for the hiring manager. For this reason alone you always must bring clean crisp copies of your Resume to any meeting. If their optical scan system mangles Resumes, having a readable well formatted resume will make you outstanding.
Typically these will be a one-page Resume. Graduates or undergrads with considerable industry experience outside of class through internships and/or work experience most likely will run into a second page. The big thing to remember is are you selling yourself fully using minimal but high impact words and not necessary using perfect English sentences. It is a sales document not an English Final Exam, Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation.
First and foremost, it must showcase what you can offer the employer!
Resume Format & Content for Most People
Stylin' Up da Resume
Do not go there! Here are some basic guidelines for your Resume styling:
1. Use clear headers for each major section using a slightly larger font.
Insure two blank lines before, one blank line after. You want to use the
white space to improve the image of your Resume.
2. Do not use more than 2 at most 3 different font types.
3. Limit font sizes to 3 maximum.
4. Use italicizing, highlighting or underlining items to a minimum.
These can clutter up your resume and mess up optical scanners which
can trash your resume.
5. Eliminate words that DO NOT BRING VALUE to the meaning or impact.
6. Make sentences short and they do not have to be perfect English
7. The job title you are seeking goes just below your name and contact
8. Avoid the relocation excuse. Let's say you live in Southaven, MS for a
job in Memphis, TN. You actually live closer than people in Germantown,
TN. YET some recruiters will EXCLUDE YOU as a relocation or risk of
resigiation due to distance. YET recruiters in San Francisco, Los Angeles,
New York, Chicago and other high density/multi-state metro areas often
face hours of one-way commutes without any issue.
If you live out-of-state but are close to the job city, tell the Recruiter
how close you live. Otherwise you may be seen as a relocation need. A
good Recruiter will check your distance via Google. Many will not!
>>> Wanna check out your Resume versus the Job Description you have?
http://goo.gl/MFnfQM will provide a free examination using copy/paste
of your Resume into the LEFT box and the Job Description into the
RIGHT BOX. Carefully and intelligently adjust your Resume to insure
you have all the critical areas covered. Otherwise, you may be OUT!
Broad, Buzzwords, Cliche's, Fluff, Generic, Hyperbols, Obvious and other JUNK WORDS to REMOVE
For those who read applicant resumes, there is temptation to skip a resume
so heavily filled with these low value, low impact and tiresome words. You need to communicate in minimal words the maximum value of your qualifications, skills, experience and education/training as you can.
Put yourself into the reader's position. You are reading your thirty-fourth resume and it reads just like the prior thirty-three resumes. Your brain start to become mush.
Here are some buzzwords that are highly overused. If you find these potential opportunity killers in your Resume, rethink that sentence to provide real versus hoped for impact to your audience.
If you are a leader use the word but back it up with accomplishments and actual efforts. Otherwise it is your word versus their perception based on your statements.
So often this is used to describe part of the mandatory tasks the position requires. Use it for anything less and the sentence is diminished.
Over the years, this word has lost significant impact thus you need an actual statement of things you achieve. Actions speak louder than worn out overused words in a Resume.
Whatever you say is your passion, expect to be questioned during the Interview and if you do NOT have a true passion as stated in your Resume, it is very easy to determine during the Interview and your potentials of surviving that interview have vanished. Passion is important but so is credibility and integrity.
If you are successful prove it by telling us how and in doing what. Otherwise this is a "filler" word that you do not want to be using.
Vague and meaningless to most if not all hiring managers without some real meat behind it using examples of what you mean.
Everyone is dedicated to something, like cashing their paychecks. Provide a real world example of your dedication and how it helped the company.
How long have you been doing this ... make it meaningful versus vague and back that up with how you have applied this extensive experience in a success story or accomplishment statement.
If you want them to believe something you need something more than just vague nondescript words ... provide real examples of your great work!
Do OR Do Not Put These On Your Resume
- Personal Information - DO NOT.
Your life is your life during the Resume submission and Interviewing. Once you are hired you may want or need to open up on your personal life to add spouse and/or children, bios, grades, offences, etc. As discussed before, ALWAYS use a professional e-mail address. BigHotSassyMomma is not a professional e-mail address along with many others. College is behind you, act accordingly. If you do not this will potentially impact you without any awareness to it.
Insistence for Social Security Numbers in the Applicant Submission Process are growing. If possible, avoid this as they only need your Social Security number if you are employed. You never know with certainty who will have access to this over time despite their security investments and practices. If you must enter it, consider using all zero's or all nine's. Sometimes this works. Fortunately they often don't tell the computer these are illegal Social Security numbers.
Awards received and other recognition are strongly encouraged for display on your Resume, Profile and Facebook pages. You warned it, take the credit!
- "References available upon request." - DO NOT.
1. Wastes needed selling space on the Resume.
2. If they want References would you really refuse to provide them?
3. Many References are "cherry picked" and not necessarily representative of
your total work history.
4. Some Reference are 100% bogus sometimes crafted between members of
the same family.
5. Some companies won't ask for references any while others will insist. If
you are known to people in the company, enlist their help to speak for you.
- Vague, Generic, Cliched, Fluffy Items, Outdated Skills or General Objectives
- DO NOT - BE SPECIFIC.
Whether you are using Resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, or Facebook, people will find you using specific keywords nothing else. If you want to be found, be as specific as they will be. Make your objective statement dynamic with high impact. DO NOT have an Objective Statement ... that is obsolete as you are submitting to A SPECIFIC JOB. Do not use broad, generic statements as people hire for specifics. If you are still on Windows 95 DO NOT ADVERTISE IT, same with older versions of Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access; Microsoft Project, Visio, etc. If you are more than 2 levels behind you need to update your skills using on-line free classes.
- Short Term Jobs - USE SPARINGLY.
Employers prefer long term positions with long-term objectives. If you have short-term jobs, such as a contract, make clear it was a contract position especially when the economy or industry conditions impacted your career. It also helps to avoid perception you are a "job hopper". Many employers forget about economic downturns, Corporate Mergers, Major Downsizings, or Companies Closing in their industry, an industry area within their company or the national or global economy. Help remind them of that. Many hiring managers have to be reminded about the Y2K impacts to over 1.5 million in
IT in the United States alone.
- Align Resume to Job Description
The buyer has told you want they need and want. You spend time telling them about experience unrelated to their needs and wants. This is a waste of paper and disrespectful of their time. Keep it focused. If you have experience related to items required reflect that as "value add" making you look better.
- Stay Focused on the Job Description
Everyone reading your Resume will be seeking alignment to the Job Description. You cannot change their job description but you can show your "value add" ... everyone loves to get the better deal! Do not get wrapped up in details about jobs beyond 15 to 20 years unless they being meaningful value to your submission. Unless you graduated from college within the past 10 years, forget college UNLESS you:
a) won an award for "real-word" problem solving competitions or classes
b) have a recommendation from one or more Professors/Teaching Assistants
c) elected officer in a professional organizational
d) received recognition from a professional organization in your field
e) received honors for academics or contribution to your University or College
We all want to "put the gold" into our Profiles and Resumes but those reading them are seeking alignment with their Job Description. If you have space to add to your "gold", go for it. If it pushes you into another page, rethink it.
- OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
These really date back into the 1950's when companies accepted all Resumes then sought to place them into a position. Those days are long gone friends.
You apply to a Job Number. If that is NOT a job you want, why did you apply?
Dump this and use the "Resume Real Estate" for more important messaging.
- PHOTOGRAPHS / HEAD SHOT
Are you a Model or Actor? If so, you're good to keep this on your Resume. If
you are nearly anyone else, do NOT include it. Employers are concerned it can be the foundation for a discrimination charge into your nationality, religion, sex, race, age and many others. YET it is deemed save to put your LinkedIn URL on your Resume where you have the same picture. Government at Work.
- INAPPROPRIATE E-MAIL ADDRESSES
STOP AND THINK. Would you hire BigHotSassyMomma@domain.com? How about MoreFunToPlayNotWork@domain.com? Personal e-mail addresses are smart that include your name. If you MUST use a number make it sure it does not look like a year you graduated from High School or were born as someone will try to interpret it that way. Inappropriate e-mail Addresses with close friends/family is OK, but THEY HAVE NO PLACE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD.
- YOUR ADDRESS MAY BE HURTING YOU
There are two cases you need to think about in your Resume:
1. If you are open to relocation avoid from putting your address as this locks
the mind in you being in the wrong place. Relocations are expensive, take
considerable time away from work to deal with, then there is the damage
to property that you deal with plus the frustration of everything else while
you are trying to get situated in a new place and in a new job.
2. If you are out-of-state from the job but within a short commute, include
that on your resume towards the bottom on the last page below your
Education. Many recruiters do NOT live where you do. They do NOT know
that it is a 15 mile drive from your house out-of-state to the location for
the job while it is a 35 mile drive for someone in-state. Paint the picture
to avoid from being rejected over a non-issue. Great Recruiters will do a
Google Maps to find where you are. Weak Recruiters won't take the time.
- MULTIPLE PHONE NUMBERS
Recruiters and Managers are busy people. DO NOT put them into the game
of trying to guess how to reach you. Worse, which number DID THEY CALL
YOU AT about your Interview tomorrow and will you find it in time? This is a
double edge sword that can kill you twice. Don't do this to either of you.
- PERSONAL INFORMATION
There are a number of personal things an employer CANNOT ask you prior
without it involving a background check request or part of pre-employment.
This is some of the limited protections Government provides for you.
DO NOT OFFER OR PROVIDE:
Social Security Number Marital Status Nationality
Religious Beliefs Children Age or Birthdate
Place of Worship if any
DO NOT INCLUDE ANY HOBBIES UNLESS they are tied to your profession or
skills that bring value DIRECTLY to the employer. The longer you have been
in a profession the less valuable hobbies are.
- SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
The number of Social Media Sites grows quickly. Showing an employer YOU
are involved with all the most trendy and hot spots is only of value if your
role is in Social Media work. Plus more sites means more places you MUST
protect yourself from unwanted postings on your pages that could leave a
negative image of yourself at the hands of another. Insure you keep things
locked down from any updates, insertions and deletions.
Focus on LinkedIn.com, a free professional web networking resource that
has grown for many years at 2 NEW MEMBERS PER SECOND and have over 400
MILLION people you can connect and network with for your job search. You
want to leave a good impression of yourself to the world. How much time do
you have to do a high quality job across multiple different tools?
- EMPLOYERS CONTACT INFORMATION
Not needed and can actually hurt you. For your former manager who really
liked you and your work. Do you want their day to be mostly answering
phone calls about you and damage your relationship? Do you want them to
be called by Sales Reps every day, unhappy customers, etc.? Do you really
want your manager to know you are leaving? There is a time and place for
this and your Resume is neither.
- ATS OR SCANNED RESUMES
The passing of a Resume to managers is a lost practice. Most Resumes are
scanned into equipment that is old technology and not always does justice
to the effort you invested in your Resume. Here are some of the areas in a
scanned Resume that are likely to do you harm:
Pictures or Illustrations Embedded Tables Headers or Footers
Embedded lines Signatures Scanned Items
Often your well formatted Resume become scrambled. Having copies of
your resume on light colored bond paper, unstapled, without paperclips,
unfolded will often be well received by those interviewing you because
they are READABLE and helps to set you apart from your competitors!
- FONTS AND COLORS
Some published Executive Resumes are not including lots of color, font sizes,
images and are printed on extra long paper to make them more difficult to
file or put down. There is great risk in going "hip" in a conservative process
unless you are a graphics or advertising person and then some risk exists. If
you are in graphics focused professional, it is still recommended you create
a Resume in a traditional format to accommodate the scanning. IF you are
not in their computer, you may not exist as a candidate in their process.
Fonts: Arial, Calbri, Cambria, Tahmoa, Book Antique or Franklin Goth
are NOT known to confuse scanned resume. Use them.
AVOID from mixing multiple fonts as this distracts the reader.
Sizes: Avoid from using more than 3 Font Sizes as three help you use size
to signal different sections of your Resume visually along with blank
Bold and/or all Capitalized Characters help with visual separation
and as a means to drive attention for they eye.
Colors: Minimal color, black is recommended. Avoid light colors that will
not scan well. Dark blues and dark greens work well.
- SALARY AND OTHER INCOME
Not Resume appropriate. If the application requires a salary information,
address this in your cover letter. The person who talks salary numbers first
is often the person who loses the discussion. They need to determine if
you will fit their budget; if the money isn't there you can't be there Websites
like Glassdoor.com can provide salary information for many companies by
job title and city.
- NOT-JOB RELATED INFORMATION
Your resume should focus on your most recent and relevant experience that
is called for in the Job Description.
If you are an entry-level professional, get references from your Professors in
your professional area of study as they essentially are your managers in
college which is how YOU want to view it. Focus on any internships you had. Industry related summer jobs. Awards and recognitions. Scholastic honors,
competitive "real world" projects that you or your team received awards for
ESPECIALLY if you headed the team. PAST PERFORMANCE IS AN INDICATOR
OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE. Show them your success in real-life challenges
and you will be seen as desirable. Get recommendations from any of your
processors and industry professionals you worked with on your LinkedIn
profile to make a significant impact!
Experienced applicants should use the company name and job title with
Accomplishment Statements to grab the attention of Recruiters and the
Managers involved. Work to get recommendations on your LinkedIn Profile
from those you worked with and college professors if possible. When it is
possible, include people from within the companies you are applying to for
their recommendations. This mitigates hiring risks to the managers making
it easier for them to select you and defend their recommendation.
EXCEPTIONS are few but relevant. Volunteerism has been on the rise since
2010 as companies realized it was a good image for their employees to send.
If you are actively involved in charitable or community efforts consider adding
a brief section. This says that you do care about others, will help others, are
likely to mentor other employees and be a true team player. Interpersonal
traits being incremental value to you as a prospective employee and your
attitude towards others will save time, costs and build strong teams. If you
do list these, assume your involvement undergo some validation/verification.
If it cannot be checked out you could damage your chances of employment.
- TOO MUCH HISTORY
Focus your background on items from the Job Description PLUS your
Accomplishment Statements showcasing your ability to see and achieve what
others did not, could not or would not. This is a strong differentiation.
Consider excluding items beyond 15 years. If this causes you to loose some
great and relevant experience and skills, create a section as if it were an
employer and label it as "Pre-" and then a year. This allows you to include it,
get credit for great things and not provide clear insight into age.
- REFERENCES UPON REQUEST OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES
If you are asked for references indicating a true interest in hiring you (if the
decision was not already made), would you REALLY REFUSE? Of course not!
This is also a "hold over" from the 1950's era of Job Search Best Practices.
This space on your Resume is out dated and is a waste of space.
Companies know that many if not most references are:
- "Cherry Picked" - you selected people you knew who would provide
and "sign songs" of your incredible accomplishments
and abilities. Value to the employer: Good or Low
- Big Fabrication - employers don't validate references as a general rule.
It is difficult. People have created 100% bogus
references for positions they never held using close
friends, family and even their Mother to hide reality.
Value to the employer: Good but may be 100% bogus
This is in part, why Recommendations on LinkedIn from people who can
confirmed with background information provided in their Profile, is
superior and more reliable than traditional References. Some companies
still focus on having those Recommendations.
Try to identify former managers or coworkers who will serve as someone
as a Reference and ideally a provide a Recommendation on LinkedIn. This
meets the employer's needs, allows you to prepare your volunteer, and the
volunteer to potentially avoid the telephone call by posting their comments
on LinkedIn. Everyone spends less time, it is better documented, and it is
easily confirmed using LinkedIn. You may need to help them understand
the process but this is a great investment of your time to further build a
- WHITE SPACE
There is a temptation to cram everything in minimal pages. Put your Resume on a wall and walk to the opposite side of the room and look at your Resume.
Does it resume a brick of black letters? Using blank lines helps add white space which improves readability which encourages the eyes to tell the brain to keep going ... it is attractive and hopefully balanced. If you get past the computer, white space can add value to your submission. Make it look good!
- MAILING ADDRESS
Generally deemed unnecessary in this electronic age. Besides, why waits 2-3 days when they can reach out to you in a few minutes electronically. Leave the street off but the City and State are acceptable as it shows you're local.
- MULTIPLE PHONE NUMBERS
No one wants to track you down across multiple telephone numbers. Use a cell phone number with voicemail that tracks your calls well. Don't add to their confusion and frustration.
- SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS THAT ARE NOT RELEVANT
Stick with the large professional focused accounts like Linkedin. You do not want the risk of someone posting that picture of you being underdressed and clearly drunk.
- EMPLOYERS CONTACT INFORMATION
Low to negative benefit, can hurt relationships, could get your fired.
- "I" or "me" or "Prasing adjectives"
Use your word processor to insure these are not in your Resume. No first person words, no third person with pronouns. Do not include any self praising adjectives like "savvy", "smart", "a highly strategic leader". Greater impact is realized when you show case through an accomplishment. Let the reader discover how great you really are.
- SALARY HISTORY
Your Resume is about your professional experience and skills, not how over or under paid you may have been. And if you want to work for a place that offers less compensation, you may be disqualified over your listed salary. Don't do it!
- UNRELATED INFORMATION
Personal stuff, unless it plays directly to the corporate focus, should be left as personal.
- TOO MUCH OF YOUR PAST
What you did beyond 20 years ago may not be that relevant unless it is a soft and interpersonal skill matter. Even then, this dates you quickly. Age discrimination begins around 45 to 50 despite many people will need to work until their mid 70's because of the many layoffs, financial failures and other major setback many workers have faced.
- EMBEDDED TABLES
These, along with images, footers, headers and other attachments are invisible to most if not all scanning systems for Resumes. Don't shoot yourself in the foot trying to be fancy.
- DRIVER'S LICENSE NUMBER
Do not provide this information on your Resume.
- NON-DISCLOSURE, CONFIDENTIAL, CLASSIFIED, SECRET, etc. DOCUMENTS
This is for any source whether it is your current or former employer(s) or any government. It will destroy your application as your new employer may be next to have their secrets put into the hands of others. Not worth the risk.
- PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, RACE, RELIGION, PARENTAL STATUS,
PARENTHOOD, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, etc., etc.
Do not do this. It is protected information that you SHOULD not offer.
- FINANCIAL INFORMATION INCLUDING BANKS, CREDIT UNIONS, BROKERAGES
This should go on this document HOWEVER it may be required as part of a Financial Background Check for appropriate positions.
- Your Name
Be consistent in the presentation of your name. For those with very unique names some different guidelines will appear further in this area. Whether you use your first middle and last or first and last (a) make sure it is unique in LinkedIn for your ZIP code for at least 50 miles (b) you use it consistently on your Resume, LinkedIn Profile, Business Cards, Facebook, e-mail signature block, e-mail address, etc.
Consistency will help to burn your name into the minds of the readers make it easier to remember you.
For unique names, go as short as you can yet remain unique. It stands out more.
You will need to use a legal name in a number of areas but your LinkedIn Profile and e-mail address can be shortened.
- Your URL
Make sure it is included in all your documents: LinkedIn URL, personal web page that is business appropriate, business cards, Resumes, Facebook, e-mail signature block, etc.
- Your Branding
Branding helps to highlight who you are, what you are, what you can do, and set you apart from the multitudes. A short high impact declarative statement or two will help draw attention. OBJECTIVE STATEMENTS ARE DEAD. Include 3-5 statements to make this an Executive Summary for a double hit to the reader!
- Electronic Contact Information
Your e-mail address and one telephone number must be present. Afraid of not being reached? Use a cell phone number where you can be reached quickly. Cheap cell phones are available if you look around. And when an employer wants to talk you want to be positioned to respond ASAP.
Make certain your telephone has a voice mail system setup and operating correctly to take any calls you can not and test it! Do NOT use a generic boring outgoing message. Create your own with a message like "Hello. This is Albert Einstin. I am sorry I cannot take your phone call right now. Please leave your name, phone number, times best to return your call, and what you would like to discuss and I will get back with you as soon as I can. Thank you for calling."
1. You gave your name; they know they dialed the correct number.
2. They hear your voice and can estimate your communications skills
3. You apologized for not being available to offer to call them back
4. You indicate your call is important and you will call them as soon as you can
5. You are polite in thanking them for their call
NEVER USE A COMEDY RECORDING, YOUR CHILDREN'S VOICE, INTRODUCE THE ENTIRE FAMILY, MAKE JOKES, ETC. This is a business call. Show you know that!
- Employment History
1. Always in reverse chronological order.
2. Always start and end dates flush with the left margin; set a tab for left margin.
3. The first row is always company name then start/end dates
4. The second row provides insight to the company. If a Fortune 500 company, put
that at the first of the second row. Give idea of size in Revenue and what they
do to help the reader understand size. A Sr. Financial Account at a $3 million
dollar company versus a $3 billion dollar company makes less of an impact.
5. The third row is your Job title
6. Next is 1-2 lines of your responsibilities and duties.
7. Next should be Accomplishment Statements each starting with a bullet "dot" to
draw attention. Statement should begin with a know or estimated dollar value
of your contribution in new revenue, savings, incremental sales, higher profits,
anything that helps drive business upward. 2 to 4 Statements is usually good.
DO NOT reveal how you achieve this success; that's part of your value!
- Key Words
Make certain your resume contains keywords for the job description as these are
often what gets someone recognized. Be honest; take credit for actual skills and
work performed as false statements can get you blacked listed quickly.
- High White Space
Maintain a high percentage of white space within your resume making it more attractive to read and sections easier to find. Put your resume on a wall and step back 10 to 15 feet. Does it look inviting, attractive, balanced, well organized? The eye is attracted to symmetrical items and items that have good space use. Thus a Resume with a white space and symmetrical will cause the eye to tell the brain to read your resume.
A less obvious need for white space: Recruiters and/or Hiring Managers often take notes on your Resume for the follow-up to showcasing your strengths. Don't cheat them out of this space!
- Fonts, Sizes and Colors
a) Do not use more than 3 Font Sizes ... impact suffers when you do this.
b) Use black most of the time, a nice blue or other colors for major section titles.
Avoid light pastels as the scanner may not pick it up then you're toast!
c) Stay conservative using Arial, Tahoma or Calibri fonts. New Times Roman is a
little old school. Remember, this may be put through an old limited ability
scanner and what it does not recognize it does not worry about it.
d) A font size of 12 is recommended as most people over 20 years of age use
vision aids (glasses, etc.) and this slightly larger font makes it easier for them to
read your Resume.
- Pictures and Graphics
a) Never include your photo as that creates a potential discrimination case
b) Graphics and other items should be part of a limited portfolio of your work
and not part of your Resume pages to avoid scanning problems
- Headers and Footers
Most people don't know how to use them and scanners sometimes choke on them.
Don't put it an extra effort for something that may hurt you.
Education is at the bottom UNLESS you are a recent graduate where your education is your strongest card on the Resume. Reflect "real world" projects in classes and more so if you were the lead and more so if you won an award. This shows strong
traits that draw favorable attention to you.
- Driving from Out of State
Some recruiters assume if you live in a different state from the job site you are not a good candidate. The fact is some people live in a different state yet are closer to the job site than people living in the same city. If you live out of state, include a note how close you are to their work facility in terms of miles. It may save your Resume!
- Special Licenses and Clearances
Security Clearances for government work can take 12 to 24 months to get which, if you do not already have, will disqualify you from many jobs. If you have it, tell them as it will make a difference is required.
- Your Resume is a reflection of you and your ability to produce a pristine document containing high content using minimal words yet be understandable with keywords and accomplishment statements for maximum impact. Most people will need help with this.
- Attach your resume to an object at least 15 feet away and look at it from an art perspective. Is it attractive? Does it have symmetry? Can you clearly see the different section of the Resume? Can you see section headings readily? Do the different pages use the same footers?
- You want your Resume to ideally be reviewed by at least one person in the following groups:
a) a hiring manager overseeing people in the same profession/industry you are in
b) a hiring manager that is in a different profession/industry to get their
c) a good Resume critic who can proofread for unintended messages or errors and
understand the message you are trying to convey
d) in general avoid professional Resume writers as it is expensive and may leave
you with a Resume you do not recognize and something you could not answer
questions about thus killing your hopes
Do not use family as the temptation is to give you glowing reviews no matter what it looks like.
- Resumes should always be delivered unfolded as it tradition. This leaves the Resume easier to handle and read due to the lack of folds.
- Resumes should NOT be stapled or have any other means to hold or bind the pages together.
- Carry them in a sturdy 8.5" x 11" folder to protect from damage.
- Mail them in an 8.5" x 11" or slightly larger envelope. This gives you an advantage as most mail arriving is in a letter or legal envelope making your submission stand out this sometimes more tempting to open first.
- If needed to prevent damage when using envelopes, insert an 8.5" x 11" piece of cardboard or poster board paper to add protection against being bent, folded or spindled from mishandling or equipment failures.
- Never present a damaged Resume unless there is no other option.
- THIS IS FOR YOUR DELIVERY OF YOUR RESUME FACE-TO-FACE
Insure all your copies are ready "face up" and are ordered in sequence. This helps avoid "fumbling" with them when you are presenting them to the interviewer or interview panel members.
- When possible, hand a resume to each interviewer if they will accept your offer of a "fresh" copy. The resume should be held by you from the top and presented the interviewer face up. Verify all pages are included in the Resume being presented.
THIS IS FOR YOUR DELIVERY ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHER DELIVERY MEANS
This most likely is during your initial submission. Always give consideration to a Cover Letter. This may be in the form of a narrative highlighting your alignment to the position by indicating your training and experience. Cover Letters are NOT always reviewed but it is another "marketing" document you should include to further promote your qualifications to be a candidate for the position.
Resume Records Keeping
THIS OFTEN OVERLOOKED TASK CAN CAUSE YOU GREAT PROBLEMS LATER
OK, everyone will submit to one position and win the job and be done with search!
Now or the real world. Here are some tips on what you need to be doing:
- Create a folder on your computer, call it 2016 Job Search to reflect the years of your efforts. Should you need to do this again in another year, you have a good repository for a faster job search.
- Under the 2016 Job Search folder, create the following folders:
- Master Resume (for your best attention getting Resume you have)
- A folder for each Company you apply to
- Contacts you have at the companies you are targeting
- Employment-Background folder to include details on:
- Employment Information
Companies, Managers, Addresses, Telephone Numbers, Job Titles,
Start/End Dates where you worked along with starting and ending
If you receive any bonuses, include them.
If you receive any awards/recognitions, include them.
This can help you with your future Resumes and to complete the
sometimes VERY detailed forms for background checks.
- Formal Education/Training
Start with High School or equivalent through all college and additional
training you receive. This should includes Name of the institution or
provider, address, telephone, dates attended, areas of studies or specific
classes as appropriate, whether you received a degree, certificate,
certification, or other proof of completion. Include any special awards,
recognitions, honors or "real world projects" you were involved with and
not any awards and if you were the leader for this effort.
- As you apply for positions create a new folder in your Company folder that includes the Job Number, Job Title and Date submitted. This folder will hold:
- The Resume you submitted
- Your Cover Letter submitted
- A Tracking Document you will continue to update and will include:
- a list dates and other activities tied to this opportunity such as:
- date, time, e-mail, telephone, place and reason you talked to someone
- the outcome of that conversation for your notes
- invitations extended to you or them to you
- Any requests for information to conduct a background check
- A copy of all information provided for the background check including
printing all web forms and copies of paper documents sent to them
General Check Points
- Are you using full complete sentences in your Resume?
Stop it! Provide short statements with high impact value to achieve the transfer of information to your reader. ook for words you can remove without losing any of your message. Keep it short, to the point and with a punch. Save your reader time and excite their interest to move forward to an interview.
- Got Over Used Phrases?
Imaging reading resumes and seeing the same line over and over and over again.
In lieu of the boring "self-starter", "problem solver" or "creative", describe your experiences by highlighting your experience. Your achievement will say this and more.
- Grammatical Mistakes?
Resumes must be free of grammatical and spelling errors. With most word processors of the past 10 years, these tools are available for no extra cost yet people do not or will not use them. These errors suggest you don't care about those reviewing your Resume and you don't care about your work either.
- Poorly Written Content?
If you lack strength in writing, get someone to help you out. This goes to show your level of professionalism and education and that you care. Take the same care and review for your Cover Letters.
- Your Accomplishment Statements (and you really need to have them)
Have at least two Accomplishment Statements showing you (a) increased profits, (b) cut costs, (c) increased quality, (d) prevented a disaster, (e) created a new product or service, (f) retained a customer at risk with creative ideas. Every company has needs for people who can do some of these. Show you stuff.
- No Proof of Professionalism
Keep the family, pets, household events, relatives and the neighbor's kids out of your Resume. Focus on areas related to your qualifications and skills.
Explain periods of unemployment. Employers will almost envision the worst about gaps, like 6 Months in the County Jail worst. Indicate briefly if it was a layoff due to merger or economic conditions, end of the contract, temporary need to care for a family member or parent, etc. Drive the reason in minimal words to avoid visions of you being someone they don't want!
- Go for stuff not for fluff!
Paint a sincere clear direct portrait of yourself. Exchange fluff words for hard facts or numbers to get attention. So many waste space and time of the reader in saying "I am a hardworking, dedicated, conscious honest employee who is committed to high quality and a productive workplace."
- Number pages: drive-by experience, profession, industry
If you are a professor, researcher, scientist in area, medical doctor, or such areas you're resume will be longer as you are expected to list papers written and published, books published, major research projects you were involved, patents or trademarks you hold, major conferences where you spoke at, etc. If you are just graduating from high school or college, keep it to one page as your experience is limited. Are you a seasoned professional, two or more pages are appropriate provided you do not kill your reader with boredom.
- Page Margins - you don't have to use the defaults!
By default Word sets top, bottom, left and right margins at 1.0 inches. Consider using 0.75" at top and bottom allowing some space to use the headers and footers plus 0.5" on the left and right margin. You now have more room for information, larger font and ability to incorporate the white space.
- Page Footer - Name, Page Number, Phone Number
Have you ever seen 500 pieces of important papers suddenly fall all over the floor?
It can happen to your Resume. Use the page footer to include the information above: Name to the left, Page Number of Total Page Number centered, and your phone number flush with the right margin. Reconstructing your Resume is now easier and if they can't find all of it, they have a means to quickly ask for another copy from you. While footers can be helpful, in the Scanner age it may create
problems in image and quality before the hiring manager.