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Resumes:  Keywords and Hints

Your resume must find its way to the person who wants to hire you. To do this efficiently, organizations that receive many resumes have two ways to filter all the resumes:

  1. A person quickly looks over the resume, hoping to recognize keywords.
  2. A computer program searches through the resume for keywords that it has been told to look for.

Getting your resume noticed has never been more difficult. The number of ways to submit your resume is growing: paper, fax, email text, email attachment, and webpage form. After you submit your resume, the receiving organization must put the resume into its filtering system and hope that some resumes get noticed.

Note: Despite the arrival of the Web, many organizations still accept paper resumes, then scan them, then use an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program to detect the letters, and then put the information in a database.

Once a scanned resume is loaded into a database, it can then be searched by anyone who has access to the database. Getting noticed inside the database has become as tricky as getting your website noticed inside a major search engine. This new reliance on resume database systems has resulted in a situation where many resumes are never seen by human eyes once they enter the computer systems.

media advice for getting your resume noticed
paper Make the resume scanner friendly: Left justify the entire document. Use a sans-serif font, size 10 or higher. Avoid italic text, script, underlining, graphics, bold, shading, and lines. Avoid parentheses, brackets, and compressed lines of print.
fax Don't do this! The low image quality of the fax will increase errors in the OCR software. If you must send your resume via fax, just make sure to follow the hints given above for paper submission. Larger font, such as size 12, is recommended.
email text Make the resume computer friendly: Avoid tabs and, when possible, hard returns. Avoid parentheses and brackets.
email attachment Follow the advice for both paper and email text submissions. You never know whether they will print and scan the image or they will open and paste the file contents.
webpage form This is equivalent to submitting via email text, so just follow the advice for that media.

Use Keywords!

The old school of resume writing focuses on using action verbs. The new school of resume writing has a second focus: use keywords as much as you can, without getting annoying.

the old school:
Developed customer applications using object-oriented software for client/server environments.
the new school:
Developed CRM ERP and SFA applications using C++ Java and SQL for systems using Apache iPlanet and Oracle running on Solaris Linux and Windows NT.

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