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Tips for Electronic Resumes

Ensuring your information is captured when submitting electronically

When submitting your resume, it will not be viewed by anyone until after it has been read, parsed and classified by the resume submission software.  Further, no one will see it, unless it is selected from search criteria.  Therefore, it is important to understand how the computer software will read and parse your information, to allow for the best possible resume submission results.

Below are guidelines to aid you in assuring your resume is read and parsed correctly:

  • Looks can be deceiving. Although a nicely designed resume can make you stand out among your competitors in the real world, in the cyber world, it simply hinders the software's ability to read and parse your resume.  Therefore, it is important to keep the following in mind:
    • Do not put anything into headers or footers.
      • Many resume submission software programs cannot read information in headers, which will cause this information to be skipped, making it impossible for potential employers to reach you.
      • Footers pose a different problem; they are simply grabbed by the software and inserted randomly into the main text; causing your information to be hidden, again making it impossible for potential employers to reach you.
    • Do not use graphics.
      • The best case scenario, when dealing with graphics (clip art, photos, logos, anything that is a .bmp or .gif or .jpg or .png, etc.) is that they will be ignored.
      • The worst case scenario, is that they will be turned in ASCII code, leaving your resume easily read by the computer software, but gibberish to the actual person trying to read it.  Please see below how it will look to the reader:
        • (shppict{\pict\picscalex81\picscaley81\piccropl0\piccropr0\piccropt0\piccropb0\ picw7407\pich2408\picwgoal4199\pichgoal1365\wmetafile8\bliptag159028895\ blipupi96{\*\ 097a969f0002499996eb8b27309a3c5c}\bin12896  333333333333333333333333333...)
    • Do not use “tables” in Microsoft Word®.
      • In the real world tables organize information into an easily read format, however in the cyber world they simply are ignored and the information becomes filled with extra lines and can become difficult for the end user to read. Please see below for an example:
        • WRONG:
          Jan. 2003 – Present

          Superb Products, Inc.   Parts Manager.

          Reduced parts inventory by 10% while eliminating most out-of-stocks.

          Mar. 2000 – Dec. 2002

          Doug’s Truck Sales, Inc.   Repairman.

          Fixed trucks and managed the parts inventory.

          This will be read and parsed by the computer software as the following:

          Jan. 2003 – Present
          Mar. 2000 – Dec. 2002
          Superb Products, Inc.   Parts Manager.
          Reduced parts inventory by 10% while eliminating most out-of-stocks.
          Doug's Truck Sales, Inc.   Repairman.
          Fixed trucks and managed the parts inventory.


        • RIGHT:
          • Utilize tabs instead of tables, producing a more favorable result.  Please see below:

            Jan. 2003 – Present
            Superb Products, Inc.   Parts Manager.
            Reduced parts inventory by 10% while eliminating most out-of-stocks.

            Mar. 2000 – Dec. 2002
            Doug's Truck Sales, Inc.   Repairman.
            Fixed trucks and managed the parts inventory.

    • Do not use “fields” in Microsoft Word®.
      • Resume submission software is programmed to skip anything contained in a "field" value. Therefore, this information will be missed and not included in your final resume – leaving out valuable information that could help you stand out from another candidate in a search process.
  • Always put your contact information first and in the proper format, to ensure your results are displayed accurately and are easily read.
    • WRONG:
      • John Doe  ▪ 12345 Nowhere Lane ▪  Somewhere, Texas 00000 ▪  888.555.1212
    • RIGHT:
      • John Doe
        2345 Nowhere Lane
        Somewhere, Texas 00000
        888.555.1212
        John@Doe.com
  • It is important to include all contact phone numbers, to ensure that you are accessible to potential employers.  However, it is equally important to label each number, so the potential employer knows what number they are calling. Utilize common labels to avoid confusion, please see below:
    • Home
    • Cell
    • Fax
    • Pager
  • Continue to utilize these common labels when creating your headers within the content of your resume.  Remember to separate each header with a full space before the content begins for that section.  Your contact information does not need a header, however all other sections require one.  Please see below for common header examples:
    • JOB OBJECTIVE
    • WORK EXPERIENCE
    • EDUCATION
    • PROFESSIONAL AFFILATIONS
    • AWARDS
    • TRAINING
    • PHILANTHROPY
    • REFERENCES
  • Do not combine sections, as this can effect how the search engine compiles results.
  • Do not nest information within your descriptions, make it standout by listing each piece of experience separately.
  • Keep information organized in like order and utilize the same writing style for all information, for example:
    • Dates - Company, Position Title
      Description
  • Do not save your resume as HTML, PDF or RTF format, most resume submission software cannot covert those formats and will discard them.  If you cannot save your resume in Word format (.doc), the best alternative is Text (.txt); as a last resort save it to Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • Resume submission software applications do not read the resumes directly, they first convert the resume into plain text, then they read and process the information. If you want to see how your resume will look once parsed, save it as plain text (.txt) and you will be able to see any unusual formatting problems and correct them prior to uploading.
  • There is not a need to include page numbers on your resume.  Resume submission software does not need page numbers and simply skips this information.
  • Be sure to include skills in your WORK HISTORY details. Resume submission software will parse your skills along with the dates associated with each job to determine a total number of years of experience.  This will be critical in putting your resume at the top of search results.
 
       
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