1) Emphasize Nouns, Not Verbs
Career counselors often advise job seekers to create resumes that feature lots of action verbs — all the better to impress recruiters who scan resumes with their eyeballs.
Web resumes are a different game, however, because a lot of Web resume scanning is done by machines — not humans.
Most companies (especially big ones) use software that scans resumes for titles, technical skills, education levels, and years of experience/tenure. And guess what? Most of the words machines scan for are nouns.
Online, it's better to be a producer than say you produced; better to be a teacher than say you taught, etc. It's a small but important distinction. If you're seeking renown, use the noun.
2) List as Many Technical/Computer Skills as You Honestly Can
Career counselors used to advise clients to avoid technical jargon in their resumes. Online, however, it s a TOTALLY different ballgame.
Because many companies use scanning software — software that often ranks resumes by the total number of keywords in them — it's vitally important to list as many potential keywords as you can.
What are common keywords? Technical and computer keywords.
Examples: Lotus 1-2-3, Exceed, Adobe, Photoshop, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc. If you know how to use these programs, put them to use on your online resume! It could be the key to getting an interview — and a job.
3) Any Links from Your Online Resume Should Be All Business
Don't provide links to personal web pages on your resume page unless those pages are business-intensive. In other words, don't provide a link to a personal page that s littered with pictures of you, your kids, your dog and your favorite foods. Employers don't care. Employers are looking for people with skills, not clowns.
Additionally, if you have a silly e-mail address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, don't be a knucklehead and include it on your resume. Employers will NOT find it as funny as you do.
4) Lead With Your Best Material
Online, a resume has about 20-25 lines to grab a reviewer's attention. That's it.
Don't waste time and space and opportunity by leading your online resume with your address. Lead with your strongest qualifications: education/skills/experience/personal qualities.
That you live at 824 Third Avenue doesn t help you get a job, nor will it grab a recruiter's attention. That you know how to program C++ and attended the Naval Academy might, however.
Put something in the first few lines of the resume that says, “I'm different, and I can fill the (employer's) job's needs.”
5) Go Into Depth
After you've grabbed a recruiter's attention with your dazzling first 20-25 lines, go into depth if you need to do so.
Limiting your resume to what will fit on a single piece of paper doesn't mean much in the online world. If you can hold your reader's attention, they'll keep scrolling.
Of course, there is a law of diminishing returns here. It won't help you to post a 17-page resume. But a two or three pager will work.
6) Submit Different Types of Resumes
A savvy applicant should have at least four different forms of his/her resume — especially electronic versions.
The applicant should have a word-processor document, an ASCII text-only file, an HTML-coded file, and a hard copy.
A word-processor document can be printed, stored in an online database, or sent as an email attachment. An ASCII file allows submission to job-related Web sites. An HTML-coded resume can be posted as a Web page or submitted to job boards. And a hard copy, printed on high-quality paper, is great for for companies that (still) use snail mail.
Put another way: would you rather have one lottery ticket — or four?
7) Don't Send a Resume as an Attachment Alone
If you send your resume as an attachment only, you are playing with fire. Many employers flat-out ignore attachments.
Why? Employers worry about viruses. They also hate wasting time with files their computers can't translate.
If you feel the need to send an attachment, be sure to paste a text version of your resume into your e-mail, too.
8) All Text and Formatting Is NOT Created Equally
Scanners work well with these typefaces: Helvetica, Courier, Futura, Optima, Palatino, New Century Schoolbook, and Times.
They also work best with type sizes in the 10- to 14-point range.
Point: don't send your resume in a weird font in an attempt to stand out. It s a great way to wind up left out.
Related point: If you're asked to fax your resume, set the machine to the “fine” mode. That results in a higher-quality printout on the receiving end.
9) Use the Subject Line
If you're responding to a specific posting, list its reference number in a your e-mail subject line. If you're submitting a resume to a database, include a description of your skills in the subject line.
Remember: your resume is an ad for you. Use the subject line as a headline for your ad.
10) When in Doubt, Seek Help
Ask the wizard. These days, most word-processing programs come with good resume templates and with “wizards” — step-by-step guides that walk you through the templates.
If you're looking for a real wizard, visit the Professional Association of Resume Writers.