CV - The Internet
The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the way people live and do business, and in the process the Internet has created new sets of rules for applying for jobs. In order to be successful in your job search over the internet, it will be helpful if you familiarize yourself with these rules. There are three ways of formatting your resumes for the web that you should be familiar with when applying for a job online: a scannable resume, a resume sent as an attachment, and a plaintext resume sent in the body of an email.
Scannable Resumes & Keywords
Many large companies that receive thousands of resumes a year have begun to scan resumes into computers to make the selection process easier while allowing the employer to make sure every resume is "looked at". Through scanning resumes into a computer, companies can filter out resumes that do not contain keywords they are interested in. There are two important things you should know about when creating a scannable resume:
Traditionally, keywords are action words and verbs such as "developed," "initiated," and "achieved," and these words would catch the human eye. Believe it or not, though this is still true, the standards for writing keywords have changed in that when computers scan a resume they are just as likely (and often more likely) to look for noun phrases specific to the industry you are applying in. These are some examples:
Designer, Consultant, Producer, Executive
Key Technical Words, Acronyms and Software
Java, Unix, C++, CAD, Microsoft Word, Photoshop 5.5
Quality Management, Pharmaceuticals, Product Launch, Market Research, Performance Testing
Remember that a computer doesn't care about anything but keywords
- they are all it is programmed to pay attention to. As a result, the keywords you use will make or break your resume so take care to include as many as possible.
When a computer scans a resume into its database, there are a number of things you should keep in mind so that the scanner's lens reads your resume correctly. To ensure that your resume is read correctly by computers, almost all companies will ask you to send a simple "bare-bones" resume; that is, a resume without any of the bold, italics, or other attractive formatting often used.
Though it may seem scary to send a resume that seems less attractive, in truth, you should avoid fancy formatting, because you will never be able to impress a computer with it, and it may quite possibly cause it to misunderstand your resume. These are some things that you should know in order to create a resume that is most readable by a scanner:
Your name should go at the top of the page, on a line by itself.
Use a 'sans serif' typeface (examples of sans serif fonts are verdana, tahoma or helvetica - fonts without embellishments at the end of letters).
If you want to include any horizontal or vertical lines as section separators, place a lot of white space around them so they stand out from the rest of the text.
- When writing your phone number, use dashes to separate the number; do not use brackets or parentheses which can be misread. Write your phone number as such: 212-555-1212, or + 04 0171 443 3123
- Do not fold your scannable resume. Send it flat or in a stiff envelope. This might seem like a lot of care to take for your resume. However, if your resume has been folded, when it is scanned the folds may show up as dark lines and obscure some of the important information.
- Do not include bullets; use dashes when listing ideas. Computers may interpret bullets as the letter 'o', which would make your information look misspelled.
Sending a resume as an attachment to an email
An employer may ask you to send a resume as an attachment. If so, there are two things which may cause an employer to be unable to read the attachment for consideration:
- If you send a resume written on a Macintosh to an employer who only has a PC, he or she will not be able to read it.
- If you send a Microsoft Word 7.0 file to an employer who has an older version of Microsoft Word, such as Word 5.0, he or she will not be able to read it.
In addition, if you send your resume only as an attachment when the employer has not requested this, they may refuse to open it. Some companies have regulations against opening attachments, since attachments sent through email sometimes carry viruses.
Thus, whether an employer asks you to or not, if an employer asks you to send your resume as an attachment, you should be sure to also send a plain text resume in the body of your email, as described below.
Sending a plaintext resume in the body of an email
A plain text resume contains no bold, italics or other fancy formatting and is known as an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), or "bare-bones" resume. Sending a plain text resume prevents inadvertent corruption of your text which may occur since most email readers display formatting in differently, if an employer uses a different email reader than you, any formatting you include may actually end up being unattractively displayed to an employer. If that happens, instead of impressing an employer with your pretty resume, you will annoy him or her with an illegible mess on their screen. It's wise to always send a plaintext resume in an email, using only ASCII text, such as in the model
we've provided here.