What You Need to Know and Why You Need 3 Resumes
Would you go golfing with only one club? Of course not.
You need a driver to get off the tee, an iron for the fairway, a putter, etc. In short, one club won’t work in all situations.
It’s the same with your job search.
To compete in today’s high-tech job market, you need more than one “club,” in this case, a resume.
In fact, you need no fewer than 3 versions of your resume: one for humans, a second for computer scanners and a third for use on the Internet.
Read on to discover why you need 3 different resumes and how to create them …
1) Traditional Format – For Humans
This is the version you’re most familiar with.
It’s the one- or two-page resume you print on nice stationery (ivory is my suggested color) and either hand-deliver or mail to hiring managers. It should appeal to the eye and be easy to read.
But, to be safe, you also need a …
2) Scannable Format – For Computers
Since there aren’t enough hours in the day for humans to read them all, most larger companies use optical character recognition (OCR) software to scan resumes into computerized databases. Once scanned, hiring managers can search thousands of resumes with a few mouse clicks, to match applicants with jobs.
Trouble is, your traditional resume may not scan clearly. The underlining, fancy fonts and other word processing tricks can befuddle the computer. Because computers are dumb.
So, create a scannable resume.
First, change the typeface on your traditional resume to a sans serif font, such as Arial, for more accurate reading by the scanner. (Serif fonts, such as Times Roman, are harder to scan.) Use one font size throughout — I recommend 10 or 11-point type.
Next, eliminate all underlining, bolding, bullet points, italics, etc., to make your resume easy to scan.
After that, create a keyword section to match your target job. Keywords are the nouns employers use to search a database of scanned resumes. If your scannable resume is rich in matching keywords, it’s more likely to get noticed. And you’ll be called for more interviews.
IMPORTANT: mail or hand-deliver your scannable resume (printed on white paper) TOGETHER with your traditional resume (on nice stationery). This way, you’re 100% certain that your credentials will appeal to both human and electronic eyes. Because you never know where your resumes will end up.
But don’t stop there. You’ve heard of the Internet, right? If you want to use it your job search, you need a third resume …
3) ASCII Format – For Email And Web Sites
ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. An ASCII resume is a plain text file, without any special formatting, so it can be read by any computer — Windows, Mac, whatever.
Like a Quonset hut, this thing is ugly, but very useful.
To create an ASCII version of your resume, do the following:
- a) open your original resume in your word processing program;
- b) from the File menu choose Save As and then Plain Text;
- c) close the document.
Congratulations. You’ve just created an ASCII resume.
For best results, make sure include plenty of KEYWORDS, which describe your skills, job titles, education and experience.
Employers search resume databases using keywords to find candidates. If your ASCII resume has the right keywords, it can jump to the top of the pile. If not, it won’t.
Ready? Open your ASCII resume using Notepad or a similar text editor — do NOT use your word processing program, which could mess up the plain text format.
Now, add a section of keywords. Think like an employer. What search terms would they use to find someone like you?
Example: if you’re a sales manager, your keyword section might look like this:
sales manager, sales management, sales trainer, team building, consultative sales, consultative selling, Director of Sales, BA: Marketing, Bachelor of Arts in marketing, sales/marketing, sales and marketing
… the list could go on. Put your keyword section near the top of the resume, which may cause some databases to give those keywords more relevance (the jury is still out on this, though).
There’s no limit to the number of keywords you can use, so long as they accurately describe you and your skills.
You can use your ASCII resume two ways: send it by email to employers, or copy and paste it into Web sites when applying for specific jobs.
Final tip re: ASCII resumes — the width of the document should not exceed 60 characters. If yours is wider, the lines may wrap in some email programs or resume Web sites, which will wreck the format.
So, to slice some time off your job search, be sure to create and use traditional, scannable and ASCII versions of your resume. Because you really do need a whole bag of tricks to compete for the best jobs today.