Will Your Resume Pass the Black Hole Test? Part 1

Have you posted your resume online and been unhappy with the number of responses received? You’re not alone. Many online job seekers fall short with an internet-friendly resume. A different set of rules apply when going the cyberspace route.

If you do take the cyberspace course, your e-resume will typically have three kinds of readers. Two are the human kind; one is a machine. So you need to write your resume for three potential audiences: employers, recruiters and resume scanning systems.

Let’s touch briefly on the first two—the humans.

  • Employers. When you apply to companies online, your resume usually goes to a person in human resources. These folks are frequently overworked and rushed. If you want their attention, answer what are almost always (in some form or another) their top three questions. Answer, of course, from your perspective as a job candidate.
  1. What specific job do you want?
  2. What is your general overall employment background?
  3. What value, expertise, or specific skills do you offer relevant to the job you’re hoping to land?

Your resume is like a movie trailer. Stimulate your audience’s interest. Leave them wanting to know more about you.

  • Recruiters. When dealing with recruiters, the advice above holds true as well. Recruiters usually want to know two more things.
  1. Where do you want to work / live (geographically)?
  2. What are your salary requirements?

You will want to provide that information; the best vehicle is your cover letter, rather than the resume. Don’t leave them guessing. If they have to make a phone call or inquiry to find out, they probably will not do it.

Now, what about the computers?

  • Resume scanning systems. Almost all large companies—and many small to mid-size organizations these days—scan the resumes they get. Why? In a nutshell, because it’s simple, inexpensive and efficient. This is great for them. If you’re not ready with an internet-friendly resume, it could be bad news for you. Your resume stands a good chance of getting lost in their database instead of being read by a human being.

What happens?

When you post your resume online, initially the computer selects resumes based on some programmed criteria. Your resume must impress the computer, and it must speak the language of the computer. Many systems will allow Word and other downloads. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they ask you to copy and paste. If you simply send your resume in its original form, you run the risk that it will not be read, simply because the computer is unable to read the file or the format.

The computer also seeks to match your keywords (or buzzwords) with those in its criteria. It wants 1 + 1 = 2; not 1+ 1 = whatever you want me to be.

In Part 2, I’ll show you step by step how to create an e-version of your resume. In Part 3, we’ll explore how to create a keyword-rich resume that will help put you at the top of the pile with a computer audience. Actually, with your human readers too!


Photo:  jurvetson

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