Tara Weiss, Forbes.com, October 31, 2006
Back in the day, getting your job application
noticed used to mean drafting a crisp cover letter and resume
on 24-pound, watermarked linen paper. But rising to the top
of the pile is a bit different for the Monster and HotJobs
With job applications now more likely to
be filled out online, it's trickier to get attention when
you're filling out a form on a Web site. To stand out from
the crowd, you'll have to get into the mindset of a recruiter
and work the online system.
The human resources department of a typical
large company may receive hundreds of applications for each
job it posts. To sort through them all, companies search keywords
and use filtering software. To make sure you aren't filtered
out, adjust your resume to mimic the language in the company's
job listing. If the job description uses the words "accounts
payable," "accounts receivable" and "general ledger," make
sure those phrases are tailored into your resume.
"The employer's whole goal is to drill
down to the least amount of candidates possible," says Kathy
Sweeney, president of the National Resume Writer's Association.
"It's not an inclusion factor--it's an exclusion factor that
employers are going after."
Jenny Sullivan, a Careerbuilder.com spokeswoman,
suggests the following phrases: problem-solving and decision-making;
performance and productivity improvement; oral and written
communications; team-building; leadership; project management;
customer retention; Internet; and strategic planning.
Monster Worldwide (nasdaq: MNST - news
- people ) also provided Forbes.com with popular search terms
used by recruiters within five categories over the past 90
days. Within advertising, recruiters are looking for resumes
that include: marketing and advertising experience, public
relations, media planner, account executive and sales. Within
engineering: civil, mechanical, structural and electrical
engineers, as well as AutoCAD and HVAC skills. Within consulting:
SAP (nyse: SAP - news - people ), J2EE (Java 2 Express Edition),
Essbase, Kronos, Oracle (nasdaq: ORCL - news - people ), and
Peoplesoft. Within accounting: CPAs, staff accountants, accounts
payable and tax skills. Within journalism: creative, online,
broadcast, interactive and corporate journalism.
If you're e-mailing or uploading your resume,
keep it simple. Online applications often call for candidates
to upload their resume to a company's Web site, and ornate
fonts and bullets get lost in translation. Another tip: If
you're cutting and pasting your resume from a Microsoft (nasdaq:
MSFT - news - people ) Word document to an online form, create
it in Rich Text Format or with .txt after the name. (Do that
while "saving as.") That will keep your formatting from being
garbled. However, if you're sending it as an attachment, there's
no need to save it differently.
Other tips: Recruiters receive hundreds
of resumes per week, with many named "resume.doc." Make it
easy for them to find you by adding your name to the resume
file. Also, if you're e-mailing your resume, paste it in body
of the e-mail in addition to attaching it. If you have technical
problems, don't give up. The job boards all have customer
service numbers that you should contact. Call them even if
they take you to the actual company's Web site.
If you've posted your resume on a board
like Monster.com or Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people )
Hot Jobs, Sweeney recommends refreshing it every 90 days,
since employers tend not to look at resumes posted longer
ago than that--they wonder why the candidate hasn't been able
to secure a new job. There's no need to make drastic changes--just
tweak something and re-save it.
Of course, one thing about resumes hasn't
changed: spelling errors. Don't make any.