When crafted carefully, your well-written, well-formatted résumé will have all the attributes needed to attract positive attention, whether it is mailed to a hiring manager, scanned and searched in a management system, or indexed in an Internet site.
Based on our 35 years of experience in advising people in career transition, DBM recommends the following tips for every résumé, online or not:
- Just the facts. Be true to your record. Don't lie about your experience or add popular keywords to your résumé simply to attract recruiter attention. You'll avoid problems from misrepresentation as well as find opportunities more closely suited to your background and goals.
- Talk the talk. Understand and use the language and terminology of your profession to describe your experience. Potential employers will more quickly grasp your background and determine a possible fit.
- Pick and choose. Be selective about where you send your résumé. Recruiters will notice if you post your résumé on every site and in every job bank, and they will not take you seriously. You will waste the recruiter's time, as well as your own.
- Highlight key points. On your paper-based résumés, you can (and should) effectively highlight key points using font treatments, underlining, and bullets. Though it must be a plain text document, your online résumé can be just as readable and effective if you use these alternative type treatments:
- Bullets: use asterisks (*) or plus signs (+) at the beginning of lines.
- Lines: use a series of dashes (––) to separate sections.
- Bold text: consider capital letters or use asterisks to surround the text.
A few points are specific to the online résumé. These include:
- Timing is everything. Most large job sites list résumés chronologically and recruiters often look at the most current postings. Consequently, it's a good idea to re-post your résumé on a weekly basis.
- Going public. Once you have posted it, consider your résumé a public document that is outside your control. Even the private résumé databanks and traditional mailouts do not always let you dictate who can and cannot look at your résumé.
- Hint: Instead of putting your home address and phone number on the résumé, consider renting a post office box and getting a voice mail account during your job search. Cancel both when your search is over.
- Update or outdate: Some Internet services will let you post your résumé at no cost, but they will charge you for updates. You don't want an old résumé out there, but you also don't want to pay for updates. Look for services that allow an unlimited number of updates.