The Resume The Pitch The Close

What you need to know now about finding a job

on your behalf.”

Companies and recruiters receive thousands of résumés per job listing and have little time to address résumés that don’t speak specifically to the job posted, particularly since those doing the weeding in the human resources department often have marginal insight about the intricacies of the position. Résumés have to be clear and thorough. And because of the volume, many companies are now relying on computer programs to cull the best possible candidates. These computer programs search for jargon related to the position and key words relating to the job description. “People have to know this stuff,” says Frances Roehm, who with Margaret Riley Dikel co-authored the Guide to Internet Job Searching 2002 — 03 (VGM Career Books, $14.95), “because you’ll never get a letter saying sorry it wasn’t what we were looking for.” So, how will your résumé get noticed?

Have a scannable résumé. Since January 2002, Rivera estimates that she’s sent out more than 30 résumés, from which she has received eight interviews — all for administrative work, none in PR. What Rivera didn’t realize is that because of the large volume of applications companies receive, many résumés are sent through scanners. But even those résumés read by hiring managers are scrutinized in a similar manner. If your résumé doesn’t have sufficient white space or is in an offbeat font, the computer will reject it. “Make sure you have plenty of white space and use simple fonts
like Times Roman and Courier,” explains Roehm. “No bolding, no fancy fonts. The computer is also checking for the skills and key words that fit with the job description. Everything has to be spelled out, including the industry jargon and the software you’re familiar with. The computer has got to be able to find it and read it. If not, you are not going to be able to connect with a human being on the other end.”

Rivera’s résumé, which is littered with italics, bullets, and uses few key words specific to her work in public relations, is not scannable. “I had no idea companies were doing that,” says Rivera. “That might explain why I keep getting called in for administrative work. That’s my background and it’s heavily reflected on my résumé. How many people know about this?”

Provide the facts in detail. You have to provide all of the relevant details for your profile, including dates and titles for the jobs and positions you’ve held. “You’d be surprised at how people try to smooth it over and make their jobs seem like something bigger and lose a lot of the detail that’s really beneficial to them,” says Sharon Hall, a managing director for the executive search firm Spencer Stuart in Atlanta. “I get résumés that will say, ‘I was senior vice president from 1989 — 1999,’” says Hall. “They’re thinking, I got the highest title I’ve ever had and I’ll spread it across my whole tenure with this company. [But] what you’re showing me is that you haven’t gotten promoted in

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