Job Resume Tips
Be Prepared with a Scannable Resume

Job resume tips may be a dime a dozen, but... Here is a job resume tip that will increase your odds of getting called for a face-to-face interview.

Many companies today use computers and word-recognition software to scan resumes in an effort to weed out the good ones from the bad ones. This allows them to save time in the screening (or pre-screening process). These software packages are programmed to look for industry-related or qualification-specific keywords; the employers chooses which words or phrases related they want to target. If your resume doesn't have these keywords, then it automatically goes into the virtual reject pile, without human eyes ever seeing it.

That's the bad news. The good news is you're now aware of it, and can make it work in your favor when applying for a new job! This is one way you can get ahead of other job candidates. Here's how to make this job interview tip work for you:

  1. Study the job posting and make a list of the resume keywords and resume phrases used to describe the required skills and desired qualifications for the position and/or the job candidate. For example, "strong verbal communication skills" or "knowledge of c++".
  2. Include every one of those keywords and phrases in your resume exactly as used in the job posting (as they apply to you). For example, include "strong verbal communication skills" even if you'd prefer to say "experienced with public speaking." A human may make the connection; a computer will not. You must use the exact phrases from the job posting. Do not profess to have skills that you do not have simply to stuff the right industry keywords into your resume. However...
  3. Find a creative way to include industry-related or qualification-specific keywords that do NOT apply to you. For example, if the job posting includes the keywords, "proficiency with Microsoft Excel" as a requirement, but you don't know Excel, you can say something like this: "While I do not currently have proficiency with Microsoft Excel, I love learning computer applications and can become proficient within two weeks." The exact keyword phrase is in that sentence for the computer to find.

These three job resume tips will help you get your resume approved by the computer and thus passed along for human review. But they are also good strategies when you don't know whether or not computer scanning of resumes is used by the company for which you're applying. Seeing the desired keywords and phrases will make even human resume scanners sit up and take notice!

The list below, from WorkSmart!, a State of California site, offers additional tips on writing scnnable resumes for employers.

  • Keep the design simple; the equipment reads words, not pictures.
  • Prepare resume on white paper.
  • Do not bold, italicize, or underline any information.
  • Use a size 12 simple font (such as: Arial, Courier, or Helvetica).
  • Do not use hollow bullets.
  • Do not use symbols such as the number (#) sign.
  • Leave white spaces between sections of the resume so the computer can read it easily.
  • Print only on one side of the paper.
  • Use common language.
  • Use KEYWORDS and phrases that are commonly used in your career field to describe your skills and experience.
  • Do not fold the resume. Mail the resume in a large envelope with extra postage.

Source: WorkSmart - Resume Tips

Here are a couple of additional articles about resumes that you might also find interesting:

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