Thousands upon thousands of resumes and CVs written each day end up in a resume graveyard. It’s a huge depository of viable, highly skilled talent waiting and wanting to be hired. But because the document’s format and content don’t meet the current standards today, the resume slips quietly into the grave.
As a resume writer, I have watched this document evolve through several format and content changes over many years. I have also watched many people struggle in their career management and job search simply because their resume is outdated, contains the wrong information, or doesn’t sell their soft/hard skills and accomplishments.
First impressions are crucial and you only have one chance to make that first impression and capture a career decision maker’s or recruiter’s attention. A resume/CV doesn’t get you the job; its purpose is to snag the interview.
So, how come?
Today, resume and CV processing is generally performed by a computer scanning software, Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The software is written to scan this crucial document designed and written in a certain format.
You can never beat a computer, but you can at least try and match it. Statistics state that 70% of resumes/CVs FAIL to pass the ATS screening. Isn’t that astounding?
Here are a few tips to take into account when writing your resume.
Use a plain, clean format and design. Zero charts, graphics, custom fonts, or elaborate bullets which will be scrambled by the ATS system.
PDF of Word Format?
Sidestep submitting the resume in PDF format unless you know that that particular system can cater to PDF. Some do, most don’t. Utilize MS Word that is compatible with all ATS systems.
Don’t use headers or footers, because the ATS is programmed in a way that inhibits the reading of the text within the header or footer. Therefore, if your name and address are in a header, this vital information will be missing. This might be why you’re not receiving calls!
Don’t Forget Your Keywords
Ensure the resume has all the keywords or buzzwords representing both the hard and soft skills you possess and that are required for the position. Without these keywords your resume is dead and will be sent to the graveyard. Use the most important keywords to the job more than once dispersed throughout the resume.
The latest ATS scanning software will be thrown off by missing dates so don’t leave them off. The system is also tracking the amount of experience required for the specific job.
Finally, customize your resume to the postion by pulling some of the words from the advert/job notice.
Which is on your agenda? The graveyard or the interview?