It couldn’t get any better. You scroll to the bottom of the page and you see that it’s an online application. You aren’t worried because you know you’ve got a great resume and cover letter that you’ve tailored for this job. So you click on the “Apply Now” button. But have you made sure your resume is tailored to the online environment?
If this sounds like you (and if it doesn’t right now, wait 5 years and it will), then this post is for you because it’s all about electronic resumes.
With the increasing number of organizations and businesses conducting their recruiting online, it is only a matter of time before you are forced to apply for a job online. For the most part, an online resume is the same as a hard copy of your resume, but with a few key differences.
This is a sample of an electronic resume:
So, if you are thinking of making an electronic resume (and really, everyone should), then here are some tips to keep in mind.
First of all, you will most likely have to upload your resume in plain text format. That means no bolds, italics, underlines, or fancy fonts. Instead, to add emphasis to a particular part of your resume, use the asterisk ( * ), dash ( - ), or CAPITALS.
I find that CAPITALS work best for headings (e.g. OBJECTIVE, SKILLS, EXPERIENCE), whereas the dash ( - ) works well when listing your job duties. You can use the asterisk, but I find that lists don’t look as nice. Plus, I’m told that the asterisk is a “special character” that is used in programming language … so personally, I’d avoid using it.
Now, if you’ve applied for a job online, you might have seen the increasing number of organizations that allow applicants the choice of uploading their resume in MS Word or PDF format. If the company you are applying to does that let you upload, then use that over the plain text format if you want. However, make sure that the content in your resume, regardless of which method you use (plain text versus uploaded file), is tailored to the online environment.
And what is this environment you might ask?
Well the online systems that websites use cannot read sentences. In fact, hiring managers enter in search parameters (a.k.a. keywords) that must appear in your resume in order to be forwarded.
For example, the system cannot read “Managed multiple, time-sensitive projects in a busy real estate office and sales driven environment.” A better phrase to use would be “Project management in a high sales volume real estate agency.” Essentially, because a computer programme will be the sole determiner if you get screened in or out, you need to use “keywords” that the system will pick up on.
When you are re-arranging your resume for an online job application, open another browser tab that has the original job posting and look for any keywords that the hiring manager might use. Some examples include special programmes (Photoshop, Oracle, etc.), particular industry jargon (POS for retail, TREB for real estate), or general work attributes (hard working, attention to detail, etc.).
So make sure that you highlight keywords that relate to the job you are applying for. I’ve asked some hiring managers who have used the Workopolis system, and some of them have said that they input 20 keywords into their search, and only applicants with at least 15 of the keywords will make it to the next stage of recruiting.
Therefore, I cannot stress the need for keywords enough. You’ll see in the sample electronic resume some of the keywords, such as Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, market analysis, websites, etc.
In a few days, I will be posting a list of some of the most common keywords by industry; however, in the meantime, make sure you look at the posting and see if there are any keywords that should appear in your resume.