Hamilton Preparing a Digital Resume

Here are some tips for the "digital age" or the "wired world", to update your resume writing techniques:

Resume Content
These days, computers are used to rapidly extract information from your resume. Once you understand what the computer searches for, you may decide to add a few key words to increase your opportunities for matching requirements or getting "hits."

Recruiters and managers can search the resume database looking for applicants with specific experience. They will search for key words, usually nouns such as writer, BA, marketing collateral, Society of Technical Communication, French (language fluency), Calgary, etc. It is very important to describe your experience with concrete words instead of vague descriptions.

Tips for Maximizing "Hits"

  • Use enough key words to define your skills, experience, education, professional affiliations, etc.
  • Describe your experience with concrete words rather than vague descriptions. For example, it is better to use "managed a team of software engineers" than "responsible for managing, training..." Be concise and truthful.
  • Use more than one page if necessary. The computer can easily handle multiple-page resumes, and it uses all of the information it extracts from your resume to determine if your skills match available positions. This allows you to provide more information than you would for a human reader.
  • Use jargon and acronyms specific to your industry (spell out the acronyms for human readers).
  • Increase your list of key words by including specifics. For example, list the names of software you use such as Microsoft Word and Lotus 1-2-3.
  • Use common headings such as: Objective, Experience, Employment, Work History, Positions Held, Appointments, Skills, Summary, Summary of Qualifications, Accomplishments, Strengths, Education, Affiliations, Professional Affiliations, Publications, Papers, Licenses, Certifications, Examinations, Honors, Personal, Additional, Miscellaneous, References, etc.
  • If you have extra space, describe your interpersonal traits and attitude.
  • Key words could include skill in time management, dependable, high energy, leadership, sense of responsibility.
You may wish to have two versions of your resume:
  • One for the computer to read - with a scannable format and detailed information. Send this one. One for people to read - possibly with a creative layout, enhanced typography, and summarized information. Carry this one to the interview.
  • When faxing, set the fax to "fine mode"; the recipient will get a better quality copy.

Advantages of e-mail resume transmission:

  • E-mail can be addressed specifically to the hiring manager. This is better than faxed and printed resumes, which are more likely to be screened by an administrative assistant or the HR department.
  • E-mail is the fastest way to get a resume in front of a decision maker. Faxed resumes could be as fast, but often fax machines are bombarded with incoming documents, and there are also delays for internal routing, sorting, and distribution.
  • E-mailed resumes can easily be forwarded by the recipient to others in the company, even those in distant cities.
  • E-mailed resumes can easily be stored to a disk or database, making it searchable against future employment needs.

E-mail resume tips:

  • Send your resume in a plain text format (ASCII) rather than attaching a resume file in a word processor, PostScript, or other (PDF, HTML) format. If you choose to attach a formatted resume file, be sure to also send the plain text version as part of the message. This will allow the receiver to view your qualifications without opening or converting the attached file.
  • If you attach a resume, use a file name that indicates it is your resume. Use smithres.doc, instead of resume.doc.
  • Left-justify all text. This alignment is consistent across different platforms, operating systems, and e-mail programs. Centering, indentations and tables may vary at the receiving end.
  • You may want to follow-up an e-mail or faxed submission with a hard-copy formatted version of your resume version via the post office. Include a note that says you have already e-mailed or faxed the resume to the recipient. This is a way for you to get double exposure when applying for a particularly desirable job opportunity.

Web page resumes:

  • Some individuals have been putting a copy of their resume on the World Wide Web as one of their personal web pages, for better presentation. When applying for a position, send your resume in plain text format via e-mail with a click-able link to the web page.
  • Web page resumes are not a good idea for individuals who want privacy. Some web site administrators can password protect certain pages of your site. Can then to refer someone to your web-based resume along with a password for viewing.

E-mail Accounts:

  • Employers archive resumes into databases and search them months or years later. Therefore, you might consider getting a permanent and personal e-mail address. Remember too, that corporate e-mail is not suitable for things like resumes, since there is no statutory privacy with e-mail. Consider a free web-based service like www.hotmail.com, www.excite.com, or www.rocketmail.com, which survive a change of employment or on-line access provider (eg: MSN, AOL, etc.)
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