Over the Last couple of posts, we promised to Give you 8 Tips for formatting your resume so you CAN beat the bots. This IMPROVES your Chances that your resume will be reviewed by a human.
This is part 2 of a 2-part series.
At https://eCareerCoaching.com, we believe there are 8 ways to format your resume to beat the bots (ATS Systems). If you do get by those systems, you have a better chance of getting your resume reviewed by a human.
Remember this factoid – popular companies receive between 500 and 5,000 resumes per posted position. How do you blast through all that noise?
The 8 Suggestions for resume formatting
We’ll start by listing all 8 suggestions. If you’d like to review the first 4 points, just click on any of the topics listed below, numbered 1-4:
- The header – what info should you include and even what FONTS you should use
- What position title you’re applying for
- Result statements/”Wow is me!” paragraphs
- Body content layout suggestions
- Length of resume content – and proofread
Tip 5 – Keywords
Why should you worry about keywords? Well, let me show you what I mean…
In a nutshell, if the job posting calls for a “spreadsheet expert,” don’t mention that you’re an “Excel guru.” Use “spreadsheet expert” instead. They may use Google Sheets, for instance.
Even with AI on the horizon, at this moment in time, computers and ATS’ are still very literal. Given that, if you claim to be an XL guru, you will never be found by the person using the ATS. If you are not found, it stands to reason that your resume will never be read. If your resume is never read, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be contacted for an interview, right?
Use the keywords that are used in the position description, and your odds of being found are better.
TIP 6 – Body content layout
The first thing you want to do is lay out your resume most efficiently. You want to get across as much information as you can in as few words as possible.
Our tip for this is shown below:
Tip 7 – Length of Resume – and proofread!
There are as many opinions on the desired length of a resume as there are career coaches. My opinion is, make it as long as it needs to be, to accurately show how your experience maps into the target company’s needs. If that can be done in 1 page, great! Maybe it requires 2 pages – OK! Even if you go to 3, that’s probably OK, too!
It all depends on the position you’re going for, and the length of your tenure in your career level. Also, almost everyone reads things on screen today. Given that, they may not even know how long your resume is, much less thinking “this resume is too danged long…”
Now, for a business resume that runs into 4, 5, or even 6 pages – that’s stretching things a bit, unless you’ve done something so awesome and with such huge successes – keep it no longer than 2.5-3 pages. Other than that, it’s the wild west out there.
Proofreading your resume is absolutely essential. Nothing makes an HR person crazier than seeing someone claim to be “detail-oriented,” and then see 4, 5 or 10 misspellings or misuses of punctuation, or whatever “English” error you may inadvertently make. This is even more important than any of the other 8 ways to beat the bots.
Think about this for a moment – put yourself in their shoes. Let’s say you submitted for an executive admin position – but you can’t spell. How can they trust you to take a letter from the big boss, and mail it out? If it’s full of errors, how does that make the company look?
Professionalism takes a nosedive in these situations.
Now, we can hear you saying “I have spell check, and even a grammar checker – I don’t need to proofread my work!”
Ahem. Uh. Yeah.
No. Not gonna happen.
I’ve been a writer for over 40 years, and I can tell you that one of the hardest things I have to do is proofread my own work. Our brains have this mysterious capability of being able to fill in the blanks, and correct minor errors it sees. Especially when those errors were generated by the same brain in the first place.
Have your significant other, a good friend, or a career coach review your paperwork for you before you submit it.
You can’t take it back once it’s in the system.
HOW Proofreading CORRELATES WITH THE “LENGTH” TIP
Simply put, proofreading reeks of length of your resume.
It’s your last chance to make sure everything that’s there in your resume deserves to be there. If you find out that there’s somehting in there about how well you know DOS or Windows 3.1, you’ve created 2 issues for yourself:
- You’ve dated yourself. “S/He’s too old for my company.”
- Who uses DOS or Windows 3.1 any more? How is that relevant? It might be, but I doubt it – a lot.
Now we all know that no one can say number 1 out loud, but you aren’t there to hear them anyway, so what can you do about it? You just won’t be contacted for an interview for the job.
Tip 8 – The Footer
“It’s at the bottom of the page? What do I care about the footer?” you may be asking yourself. I get it.
Now this may sound odd, especially after I said above that most people read things on the screen these days. Very few print things out, that’s true.
Given that fact, the 8 ways to beat the bots may not apply, because it’s a human that’s looking for the rest of that great information.
But what if it turns out that the one person at the one job you really want is the person that prints it out?
Let’s take that a step further. Let’s say they print it out, and the front page somehow gets separated from the last 2 pages? The staple lets go for some reason. The last 1.5-2 pages is all that’s on the hiring manager’s desk. If you have an effective footer, s/he will still know how to get a hold of you, if they like what they see on those pages they still have.
Why should that matter?
Because you’re going to format your footer to look like this:
Yes, you want to include your name in the footer, so they know who did all of these wonderful things on page 2!
So there you have it…
None of this will guarantee you get a job by following these Tips, but your odds will increase. If you enjoy increased odds, you have a better chance at winning the job search game.
After all, the better you know the rules of any game, the better you’ll be able to play that game!
Best of luck out there!
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