These top ten hints are from a guy who recently got a tech support job with a large staffing agency and has learned more about resumes than he ever imagined possible.
Tip 1 – No matter what your parents and teachers tried to tell you, this time it IS all about you! Make sure your name, address, phone number and email address are on your resume! If they can’t find you, they can’t hire you!
Tip 2 – Most resumes are never seen by a person. They are processed by a computer. So, you need to give the computer a resume it can understand. Start by submitting a .doc, .rtf or .txt file. Few resume processors deal with the .docx files produced by newer versions of Word. Fewer still handle OpenOffice. Microsoft Works, Lotus Notes, or WordPerfect files.
Tip 3 – Just about everything you can do to make your resume stand out for a person will confuse the computer. Make it simple. Very simple.
Tip 4 – If you are going to submit a .doc or .rtf file, save it as a .txt file and open it with NotePad or another text editor. Chances are, that’s what the computer will see anyway. Make sure you can read it and understand it. Clean it up as needed.
Tip 5 – Don’t use tables, headers, footers or anything else that makes your document visually interesting. What should make the document interesting is your work history.
Tip 6 – If you’ve been to college, don’t put your high school information in the resume unless you did something really spectacular in high school.
Tip 7 – Don’t combine your cover letter and resume into a single document, it confuses the processor.
Tip 8 – Don’t include your references in the resume. You want to keep your references from being annoyed by companies who aren’t really interested in you. Also, if you include their (or any) email addresses in a resume a number of resume processors will become confused and will assume that one of your reference’s email addresses is yours.
Tip 9 – Don’t give them any reasons to discriminate against you on the basis of age. Leave off the dates of your education. Only show the last 10 years or so of your employment.
Tip 10 – Check out some much more comprehensive resume tips at http://www.sovren.com The Sovren Group writes resume processors. They have two great papers. One on how to write a resume that will actually get you hired, another on how to write a resume that a computer can understand. When you hit their web page, just scroll down, you’ll see the links for the papers.
BONUS - Tip 11 - It isn’t enough to leave a resume in a database. Make sure you apply for all the jobs they have that you are qualified for and willing to perform. In our database we have close to a million candidate profiles, so if you just drop off a resume you are one in a million.. A recruiter will search the database until the recruiter finds enough good resumes to be able to fill the job. If, on the other hand, you apply for a job, you instantly become one in a handful. Your odds just went up dramatically!
BONUS - Tip 12 - Get a temporary email address for the duration of the job hunt. Some job boards do a better job than others of honoring your request to stop receiving email. At the end of your job hunt, deactivate the temporary email address and the email flow will stop.