Today’s blog is inspired by an article I read from USA Today, about how to write your resume so that an HR Robot will read it. This article is spot on and echoes what I regularly advise our job seekers.
In my career, I work with countless resumes. What I have found to be true is that many resumes that include tables, special features, or using the Header & Footer for contact information can backfire when you upload your resume.
For example, if you have your name and contact information in the header, it won’t come through in an import. If you use tables, the formatting generally skews during import as well. So, save yourself some grief – just keep it simple.
There are several tips on creating a resume that reflects the employers’ lingo. Many candidates complain to me that they don’t like to customize a resume, since it adds even more time to the application process. However, as time consuming as it might be, it’s a tried and true way to catch the employer’s attention. (Check out Resume Help, where we offer 7 valuable strategies on creating a resume that will get read!)
For job seekers where this isn’t your first rodeo – make sure to check your fonts! As simple as it sounds, it’s important to keep your format consistent. This slip tends to happen when people have a longer career. They may add to an existing resume and the default font might be different. Bonus tip: if you use bullet points, use them consistently. Don’t flip from stars to bullets and back again.
I get this question all the time from candidates: “Should my resume be only one page?”
Here’s my take on the age-old question – I don’t think so. If your career is more than 5 years in length, I don’t think it’s feasible for you to feature your achievements, skills, education, and professional endeavors to stay current in your field on a single page. For those reasons, I prefer to see a concise 2-3 pages. I want to see your entire job history and when I read your resume, I am looking to see the full scope of a person. Your volunteer work is just as important as your education and career achievements. It shows how you invest your time and efforts. It helps guide me to see if you’d be a good fit for the corporate culture I am recruiting for.
Finally, there’s a good reason to keep a baseline resume on file and keep it updated. I recommend you revisit your resume once a year. The best time might be just before your annual review at work. You can reflect on what you’ve done, add those accomplishments to your resume, and you’ll be ready with a showcase of your most recent achievements to share with your boss during your review. (Hint: that’s also how you prove you deserve that raise!)
To recap: when you see a position that is appealing, carefully review the job description and visit the company’s website. Script your messaging to make it easy for that HR Bot to find you. Remember, they can’t read your mind, so make it easier for them to notice you. When you take the time to craft your resume for the positions that you want to land, you’re going to have a better shot at beating the competition.