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Electronic Resumes

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GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW WHEN CREATING A RESUME FOR THE INTERNET

When you sit down to create your electronic résumé always remember, if résumés were flavors and a computer could choose, the choice would definitely be vanilla. Successful electronic résumés require a different strategy than paper résumés.

For this reason try to keep in mind the following points:

  • To increase your chances, focus on nouns, not verbs. Searches are done by key words and phrases that describe the skills and core work required for each job.
    For example, consider "Supervised several staff" or "Manager of several staff". Manager will stand out, where as supervised might be skipped over. As the web site, Job Bank USA, puts it: "Computers have problems with verbs and enjoy key words. What pleases a computer is likely to bore a person." So keep thinking "Dear Computer..." and just ignore how boring it sounds.
  • Use labels or keywords. Keywords are an extension of the noun concept and are also called buzzwords or descriptors. Keywords are words employers search for when trying to fill a position. They are the essential characteristics required to do the job: education, experience, skills, knowledge and abilities. The more keyword marketing points you present about yourself, the more likely you are to be plucked from an electronic résumé database now or in a year from now.
  • Place the most important keywords towards the beginning of the résumé. The program may have a limit to the number of items it will scan for and it usually starts at the top of the document.
  • Put your name first and contact information on a separate line.
  • Keep your résumé and cover letter to no more than 65 to 70 characters per line in case those who read your résumé have different e-mail programs and different sized screen widths.
  • Keep the design simple. Use white space. Computers like white space. They use it to recognize that one topic has ended and another has begun.
  • You can use modest design elements. Highlight areas with asterisks and use capital letters instead of underlining.
  • When using bullets in your ASCII résumé, make sure to insert a space between each bullet and text so that the bullet doesn't interfere with a keyword search.
  • Minimize use of abbreviations, except the more common ones like BA (Bachelor of Arts).
  • Use Common language. Not all systems have a full-fledged synonym table so try to maximize the "hits" between a position search and your résumé by using words everyone knows. Do, however, maximize the use of industry jargon.

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