There's an Elephant in the Room...
By Tim Walker
There’s an elephant in the room.
He’s carrying a resume in his trunk. And that resume is in a format no one can read.
Do a quick search for resume tips or advice online and you’ll get about a billion (okay, 121,000,000) results on things formatting, grammar, and what to include (or leave off) a resume.
Here’s the truth; if you apply to a job online and you don’t have a resume that the system can “see,” chances are you’ll never hear back from anyone.
Most companies use automated resume parsing systems that suck in online resumes and create profiles which make it easier for HR departments or decision makers to see what each applicant has to offer. These systems can be efficient, accurate and a huge time saver in a lot of cases. They can also generate errors. Especially if you’re resume isn’t a Microsoft Word document.
People want their resume to stand out. In the past, creating a pretty, colorful and graphically intense resume would help catch the eye of the HR person or recruiter tasked with combing through applications. Creating a resume that made it to “the top of the pile” gave you a huge advantage.
There is no pile
There’s no longer a need to create a resume that will make it to the top of the pile because there is no pile. Not only do online resume submissions never get printed, they usually are never seen in their intended format.
Prepare to be parsed
More than likely your resume will be housed as a document attachment. Before that happens a program will read your resume and parse out any relevant details. Use this to your advantage. Read the job description and tailor your resume (honestly, of course) to the specific job. For example, if a job requirement is Microsoft Office experience, don’t list your experience as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Instead say you have Microsoft Office experience. This type of keyword tailoring is more important than a pretty resume.
Pay attention to formatting
2 words. Word Document. The best resume when you’re applying to jobs online is one that can be easily parsed by one of the systems that just about every company uses now. Your resume should be a word document formatted in a single column without fancy graphics or scripting. Keep it simple! Try to avoid pdf resumes as some systems are unable to parse them.
Creating a simple, easy to read resume will give you the best chance to showcase your experience in today’s automated world. It’s a sad reality in some cases, but one you can use to your advantage!