Electronic Resume
(No. 3 of Job Surf series)

Market Thyself # 044
By James Lap

The job surf revolution is reshaping today's job market and Market Thyself strategy. Recently, a national study showed that 78% of all surveyed employers had computerized their applicant tracking function. The following guidelines will help you write an electronic resume to make you and your qualifications stand out.

1. Think Nouns, not Verbs

In resumes written on paper, we used to search for action verbs to make them sound great. In electronic resume writing on the contrary, action verbs like accelerated and launched are out. In scannable resumes (refer back to Market Thyself # 038 - The Scanner-friendly Resume 11/11/98), nouns are dominant. Computers search for words like engineer, accounting and manager, etc.

2. Use Keywords or Labels

Keywords are words that employers search for when trying to fill a position. They are the essential characteristics required to do the job (computers, engineering, education, experience, skills, knowledge and abilities). The more keywords Market Thyself points you present, the more likely you are to be plucked from the electronic resume database.

3. Less is More

Yes, it is very true in technology world, the world of acronyms and short cuts. Avoid decorative and uncommun type faces. Do not underline words. The scanner may make them out to be a blob. Use white or beige paper. Also avoid Italics.

4. Simple Design

Avoid fancy things such as graphics and shading. Most equipment is set to read text, not graphics. If you use complex tables with leader dots (...), computers may trip over them.

5. Minimize use of Abbreviations

Except for the more common abbreviations such as BA for Bachelor of Arts, BS for Bachelor of Science, MS for Master of Science, try to maximize the use of industry jargon.

6. Your Name and Address

Put your name on the first line. Include your contact information on a separate line.

7. Use White Space

Computers like white space. It is considered as mark of the end of one topic and the beginning of another one.

8. Use Common Language

Not all systems have a full-fledged synonym table, so try to use words everyone knows.

9. Length of Resume

Three pages, maybe four, are the maximum an electronic resume should be. Here are some benchmarks: new graduates, one page; most people, one or tow pages; senior executives, two or three pages.

10. Go On-line

Now, if you are ready to post your electronic resume, then go for it. Besides mailing and faxing it, you should go online on the World Wide Web.

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