When a company or executive search committee invests thousands of dollars to locate the perfect employee for a high paying position, they expect to interview only stellar candidates. A recruiter's job is to screen and deliver only the finest applicants to the employer. As a former recruiter and a professional resume writer, I see hundreds of resumes each year where job seekers underestimate the importance of their resume. Many job seekers mistakenly believe because their backward-focused, one-size-fits-all resume worked 5 or 10 years ago, it will work today. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. With automation, population growth, and the continued exportation of American jobs overseas by large corporations; the number of job seekers is likely to continue to exceed the number of job openings for years to come. Technology has not only reduced the number of available jobs, and will continue to do so, but it also plays a key role in the hiring process. It is not unusual for recruiters to receive 100’s of resumes for a single open position. As a result, more than 70% of employers and recruiters have opted to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software to filter and screen the most qualified candidates. Failure to understand this software can result in months or even years of unnecessary unemployment. Avoid these common mistakes:
- Many of the old-school resume templates were designed within tables. These tables make the resume look great when printed, but all content disappears when uploaded into the recruiter’s database.
- Never put your contact information into the header of your resume. Headers cannot be uploaded and as a result you will never be contacted for an interview.
- Your resume must be focused specifically for each job target (i.e. sales, accounting, HR, etc.). Each resume needs to include the most sought after keywords for the industry. You will need more than one resume if you have multiple job targets.
- Do not create a bulleted list of daily tasks; recruiters already know what the general role entails. Instead, focus on quantifying your accomplishments using numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages. This demonstrates both the level of responsibility, as well as the level of success that you have had in that position.
- Do not submit your resume in a .pdf, .gif, .jpg or .odt file. Many of the older ATS software systems are unable to read them. It is best to use a .doc or .txt file.
- In today’s job market, you cannot afford anything less than an exceptional resume. I am regularly contacted by job seekers who were told by a recruiter that they wouldn’t accept their poorly written resume. If you aren’t proud of it; don’t bother to send it to the recruiter. No matter how qualified you may be; recruiters won’t jeopardize their reputation with the employer over your poorly written resume.