Hey Parent’s, what follows is only a smidgen of what your new grad will need to know about successfully submitting a resume that will actually be seen by a real, human person. In other words: A resume that will successfully navigate the software that is, as CIO.com says, “The bane of all job seekers.”
PS This is a reprint of an article that I originally published at Salary.com.
With the overwhelming number of applications and resumes received on a daily basis, recruiters must do all they can to manage the flow — thus resume filtering software.
What follows here varies by company and the software used, but for now let’s work from this premise: In the larger (and not so large) companies, your resume/application is not initially viewed by a “real human person” but is scanned and graded by a piece of software and then archived until those results are called up. What this means is that only those resumes that”made the grade” (literally) will rise to the top of the pile to be reviewed. To help you successfully negotiate this software, here are some first-glance Dos and Don’ts.
- DO NOT include your physical address on your resume.
Professional recruiters don’t want me to tell you this but this tiny little piece of what you may think is harmless information is very often the first point of elimination. You might be able to cure cancer but if you live too far away from the job site your resume might not receive any consideration whatever. You may be willing to relocate or carpool, but you never got the chance to express that you understand that may be a consideration. [PS–and I have mentioned this before–should young women just out of college be providing their home address to who-knows-who-might-be-on-the-other-end?! Just sayin’!]
- YOU MIGHT not even want to include your city or town on your resume.
I live in a small town outside of Houston. My resume says “Houston, TX.” When the recruiter calls to ask me what part of town I live in, I’m going to respond with “Where’s the job located?” Get my drift? She had to call me, which creates a conversation. (Remember that you don’t get a job from a resume. You get a phone call. Be ready to take that call!)
- DO NOT use the Header feature of your Word doc software to place your name and contact information. Headers and footers are not read by some of the softwares. In effect you may be submitting a ‘headless’ document.
- DO draft a conservative resume that takes filtering software into account.
- No script or designer fonts. The software might reject your document.
- No tables for the same reason.
- No logos or graphics. Almost guaranteed to get your resume rejected.
- No continuous formatting lines that cross the page. Filtering software may read a continuous line as a page break and skip to the next file meaning yours just got passed over without a read.
- No giant fonts. A common mistake of the recent graduate trying to fill vacant space on the page is placing their name in a 36PT bold font. The software in most cases will be set not to accept PT sizes in excess of 16 or even 14PT.
- DO include a Seeking Statement (my little invention) telling your reader which position you are applying for. Just below your contact information and above your Objective Statement, add a single centered and bold line stating: “I am seeking a position as (use the exact job title) with (insert company name), reference #(fill in the blank).”
- For example: “I am seeking an interview for the Entry-Level Graphic Artist position with Dell Computer, Inc., reference #67890.”
- Know that the software is looking for an exact match of the job title. Make it easy for this to occur. Make it easy for the reader to “like you” by making it easy for them to do their job.
- Yes, I know–it might seem redundant to mention the name of the company to which you’ve just sent your resume, but my best information tells me that, based on the software used, you may get points in the scoring by using the company’s name.
- If a position contains a reference number, by all means use it. Make it easy for the recruiter to route your resume to the hiring manager.
This is only a sliver of what you need to know re: job search/resume filtering software. You can read the ‘rest of the story’ in my JOB! book.
As always, I wish you great success!