Friday, January 15, 2010

Killer, resumes for the Internet age: gone are the days of curriculumvitae using attractive fonts on classy stock. This is not your parents'job market, so you need to write a resume that will reach today'stech-savvy recruiters.


Virtual Resume & Letter, originally uploaded by Olivier Charavel. USA, LLC

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Citizen Warriors over the age of 40 may remember the rigors of putting together a resume in the late 1970s and early '80s. You carefully hand-typed your resume on clunky electric typewriters, and someone else proofread it with a discerning eye and a heavy dictionary. The final draft that rolled out of the typewriter was unique, and we don't mean in the sense that it was different than all other resumes; we mean that it was the only copy, and had to be handled with extreme care, delicately held from the corner like a just-unearthed ancient, sacred scroll. In a time when resumes were actually sent to printing presses for duplication, a precise set of rules guided the creation of each resume. Those rules filled entire books and covered everything from resume content to margin widths, proper fonts, and proper to use.

Fast forward to 2006. Job seekers working on their resumes find a dramatically changed playing field. Electric typewriters arc long gone. Huge printing presses have been replaced by cheap desktop laser printers. The magic of automated spellcheck has turned proofreaders.

In the Internet era, the paper resume is also quickly becoming extinct. A recent survey of corporate recruiters on, an online job board for the defense industry, showed that approximately 94 percent of resumes reviewed by human resource professionals in 2005 were viewed on the computer screen rather than on a piece of paper.

These days, personnel recruiters and headhunters are some of the most tech-savvy employees at any company. Human resource professionals employ powerful software applicant tracking systems, optical character recognition, Boolean logic, and database queries to find the next company hire. Like an annoying pop song that won't go away, the words "cost per hire" reside in the minds of corporate recruiters. The use of these high-tech tools and processes lowers the cost to find, interview, and hire a new employee. The less the cost per hire, the more successful the recruiter is at her or his job.

King Content

As easy-to-use Internet-based job boards like and become the new preferred medium for both candidates and recruiters, the old focus on resume format is loosening. In fact, websites for creating and posting resumes simply acquire raw information and format it into a template consistent with all other resumes on the service. This negates your need to create a formatted resume that adheres to the old rules of paper resumes. Without the distracting wide variations in resume margins, fonts, colors, and text size, recruiters are now able to shift their attentions to the resume content.

Thus, in the Internet era, content is king.

Hundreds of thousands of resumes are now available on the Internet, digitally stored in databases of all kinds and sizes. Company recruiters use specialized search engines to query these databases and return lists of resumes to review. The volume of resumes available is staggering; the large quantity is why content is critical.

By typing keywords into a database query, recruiters can narrow their resume search to precise defined parameters. This culls thousands of resumes down to a more manageable number. Keywords might describe skill sets, like UNIX or network administrator; they might seek certifications, like MCSE or PMP; or they might target other narrowing criteria, like Texas or Willing to Relocate. When the content in your resume matches the keywords the recruiter is searching, a match is made.

Keyword Rich

With tens of thousands of resumes available, how can you ensure that your resume is found in search results and viewed by those responsible for hiring? Make your resume "keyword rich" by including a separate keywords area at the bottom of your resume. In this area, add acronyms and their definitions, alternate spellings for words, skills and certifications, and even commonly misspelled words.

Don't worry about your resume being too long with the added keywords. Remember, the old rules about resume length no longer apply because on-screen resumes scroll rather than have pages to turn. In fact, resumes with fewer details are more often discarded.

Another criterion for resume selection is timeliness. Unlike paper resumes, online resumes in databases have a date attached to them. Human resource personnel have the ability to view resumes based on date ranges, usually preferring newer resumes first. For whatever Internet-based resource you utilize, determine its method for refreshing your resume date stamp and update yours frequently.

So, do paper resumes have any use in the Internet era? "Yes" says Steve Loring, director of marketing at "At job fairs, paper resumes are still the standard. It's important to have something to give recruiters when you shake their hand--something to read while they meet you"

But don't be fooled that recruiters will carefully examine your paper resume when the job fair ends. Most likely, your paper resume will end up with resumes from other hopeful candidates, and scanned into a computer to be dropped into a company database for easy searching. For this reason, paper resumes should be simple and clean. Heavy formatting, tables, non-standard fonts, and light type colors can make it difficult for optical character recognition software to read your scanned resume.

As you work on your resume, disregard those tomes of the past. In the Internet era, savvy job seekers will embrace new technology so that their career summaries get noticed and recruiters take notice.

By Evan Lesser


Mr. Lesser is director and co-founder of Clearance, a free, secure Internet job board that matches job seekers with active or current security clearances to hiring employers and recruiters looking for skilled cleared candidates. Visit

Source Citation
Lesser, Evan. "Killer, resumes for the Internet age: gone are the days of curriculum vitae using attractive fonts on classy stock. This is not your parents' job market, so you need to write a resume that will reach today's tech-savvy recruiters." The Officer 82.7 (2006): 45+. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. .

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