Before a person views your resume, it might be scanned by a computer to screen your qualifications.
Career experts suggest preparing your resume for three audiences: a computer screening program, a human resources specialist, and the hiring manager.
To pass the test of automatic resume scanners, consider these suggestions:
- Be sure to include your contact information, and avoid putting required information in the heading where it might be missed by the scanner.
- Avoid fancy formats and fonts. Use a professional presentation. Bullets are suggested for an organized, easy-to-read appearance.
- Emphasize keywords that reflect your competencies and experiences.
- Connect to the job description. Use the requirements and responsibilities of an employment position as a guide for presenting your background, skills, and accomplishments. Avoid a generic resume; tailor your resume to the specific position. Especially look for keywords that are repeated in the job description.
- Use clear job titles. Adapt and simplify previous job titles to fit generally-accepted labels in an industry.
- Seek guidance. Ask for assistance from career development centers, professional colleagues, friends, and others who can help you prepare a resume appropriate for scanning software.
Of special note, job applicants with military experience should match job description keywords to their military service. They should also emphasize and communicate their background so the resume scanning software will easily recognize their employment competencies.
For additional information on automatic resume scanners, click here.
- Have students create a resume for a specific job description to connect their background to the available position.
- Have students talk to a few people to obtain suggestions for improving their resumes.
- Based on selected job descriptions, name keywords that might be appropriate to use in a resume for those positions.
- List various sources that might be used to obtain resume preparation assistance.
“What did you do to prepare for this interview?”
According to CNBC contributor and author Suzy Welch, the above question is the most important question that a manager can ask and the best question a prospective employee can answer. She explains she has asked this question for years and is always surprised at the answers she gets from prospective employees–answers that are the good, the bad, and the ugly. One answer stands out. When asked what she did to prepare for the job interview as my personal assistant, the applicant answered, I’ve been stalking you for three days. Welch loved the answer because stalking involved reading virtually everything she could find written about Welch plus reading and scanning everything I’ve ever written online and in print.
Not all answers display the passion that a job applicant should have. For example, one applicant answered, “Well I drove here last night with my boyfriend so I wouldn’t get lost today.” Not an answer that would demonstrate the kind of passion and curiosity and most importantly, the resourcefulness Welch was looking for.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Stress the importance of doing some detective work when preparing for a job interview.
- Point out there are many websites that can help job applicants prepare for a job interview.
- Assume you unemployed and have scheduled a job interview with a human resources manager for a bank teller position at a local Bank of America branch. What would you do to prepare for your interview?
- What traits or skills do you have that would make the bank want to hire you for this position? How can you tell or illustrate your traits and skills during the interview process?
Since the career objective presented on most resumes is too general and unfocused, hiring managers recommend a career summary. When developing a resume summary, consider the following actions:
- Plan a clear direction that emphasizes the skills and experience directly related to your career area. Communicate results and accomplishments that highlight your strengths.
- Research the industry to obtain an understanding of the trends and career competencies you will encounter.
- Develop phrasing that communicates the value you can add to an organization.
A resume summary can be appropriate for highlighting your work history and when transitioning careers. This resume feature also allows you to clearly communicate your personal brand.
For additional information on career summaries, click here.
- Have students search online for sample career summaries for industries of interest to them.
- Have students create a career summary that reflects their current competencies and experiences.
- Why are career objectives discouraged on resumes?
- What actions might be taken to develop an effective career summary?
Resumes continue to evolve. To have a modern-looking resume, consider these suggestions:
- Use keywords from the job description that will allow the applicant tracking systems (ATS) to select your resume.
- Adapt your resume to each position for which you apply. Use organization-specific keywords to help you get an interview.
- Eliminate your photos and references from your resume.
- Include social media links for the recruiter to obtain additional information on your background and activities.
- Make use of callout boxes, in addition to bullet points and line breaks, to highlight key experiences, qualifications, and accomplishments.
For additional information on updating your resume, click here.
- Have students talk to others to obtain suggestions for updating a resume.
- Have students create a resume based on these suggestions.
- What are common mistakes people make on resumes?
- How might a person improve the effectiveness of their resume?