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How to Post Resume Online; Tips to Prepare Your Electronic Resume for Online Posting
April 2nd, 2010 by Andrew Kucheriavy  Posted in Job Search, Most Popular, Resume Writing
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electronic-resume-tips-tricksAre you ready to post resume online?  Are you sure it is ready? Most people have one version of their resume and concentrate primarily on how it looks on paper without paying much attention to the electronic version of their resume.  In fact, most job seekers post and share the exact same document online without properly preparing the resume for online posting.

In today’s world of websites, electronic applicant tracking systems, and automatic resume parsers, your electronic resume should be properly prepared for storing, distributing, tracking and searching electronically via the software tools, employers and recruiters use these days.

I’ve spent many years building and designing such systems and today I will share some of the steps job seekers should take before posting resume online.  The following tips may greatly improve your chances at landing interviews:

1. File Format – Posting resumes in outdated or unsupported file formats is the biggest mistake that job seekers make.  The best format for uploading and sharing your resume electronically is Adobe PDF.  The PDF (.pdf) format is the most popular and widely supported format for sharing documents and it will work virtually everywhere, regardless of the computer or the operating system (PC or Mac).  This format allows you to retain all the styles and formatting in your resume (so it will look nice and presentable, as opposed to plain text) while making the content of the resume accessible to automatic resume parsers and search systems.  You can easily create a PDF version of your resume online for free using the Adobe’s Online Converter (up to 5 documents). 

I do NOT recommend posting your resume in word-processer formats (such as Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), Word Perfect (.wpd), Lotus, etc.). These formats are less portable and some applicant tracking systems are notoriously bad with handling some of the older and newer formats. For example, you’d be surprised to find out that some applicant tracking systems still don’t fully support the Microsoft Word 2007 format! Overall, plain text (.txt) is always the safest bet but it wouldn’t retain styles or formatting in your resume.  Plaint text works great for computers but it doesn’t make an easy read for humans. This is why our recommendation for resume file formats is Adobe PDF (.pdf)

2. Keywords – Make sure that your resume contains important keywords, use them wisely and think of ways of optimizing them. You have to understand one thing about posting your resume online: it will be searched electronically for certain keywords. Generally, the more keywords you use, the better your chances that a recruiter will find your resume. Follow these tips for keywords:

a. Keyword Density. Repeat important keywords several times in your resume (but don’t overdo it – some systems will penalize you for excessive keywords). Most search systems are relevancy based – meaning that the more times the system encounters the target keyword in your resume, the higher it will rank your resume in the search results. Find ways to repeat important keywords 3-4 times throughout the resume.

b. Use synonyms, abbreviations, and variations of keywords. Try to think of various synonyms and use expanded keywords.  For example, don’t just say “assistant” say “legal office assistant”.

c. List all your certifications, languages, skills, or anything that could work as a keyword.  Abbreviations (also spell-out some of the important ones) work well. For example: CPA (Certified Public Accountant), QA (Quality Assurance), CTO (Chief Technical Officer), PMP (Project Management Professional), HRM (Human Resources  Management), etc.

d. When responding to a specific job posting, use the words from the job description as keywords in your resume.  This could create a lot of extra work tailoring your resume for every job posting but it is almost always guaranteed that your resume will get better rankings.

3. File name – Choosing the right file name for your resume is another thing that is often overlooked.  Make sure that the filename says “Resume” and contains your name (in case it gets misplaced).  Use spaces or dashes (-) to separate words and stay below 255 characters. Also, some search systems will give your resume a higher rating in search results if the filename contains keywords. For example, the following is a great filename for a programmer’s resume:  Bob-Smith-Resume-for-Programmer-PHP-SQL-Web.pdf

4. Styles and Formatting – While the PDF format that we recommend supports most styles and formatting, it doesn’t mean that you should go crazy with them.  In fact, some unnecessary formatting could cause problems with how electronic systems “view” your resume.  Follow the following simple rules for formatting your electronic resume to ensure it stays compatible with most applicant tracking systems: a. Place your contact information and all other important information at the top of the first page. b. Make the text on the resume left justified (aligned to the left). c. Use standard fonts: Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, Tahoma, etc. d. Do not use boxes, shapes. graphics, backgrounds, etc. e. Number the pages at the bottom (in the footer), starting with the second page. f. Do not use Tabs or spaces to position text on your resume. g. Do not use any special characters, such as mathematical symbols or foreign letters. For example, make sure that when typing up your resume, Microsoft Word doesn’t covert things like 1/2  to ½, 1st to 1st, etc. Some older applicant tracking systems may exclude your entire resume from search results because of one character!

5. Don’t Forget about Human Readers – While the abovementioned techniques may help your resume with automatic electronic handling, keep in mind that ultimately a human being (an employer or a recruiter) will be reading it.  Don’t do anything to optimize your resume for computers at the expense of this document serving its primary purpose – convincing someone to hire you.  The best resume is well-balanced one.  For more information on how to make the most of your resume make sure to read our other articles:
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  • Actually a resume isn't to convince someone to hire you, its to get an interview. Working as an employment counsellor and in the field, most employers in our region state they DON'T want PDF files. *.doc (not .docx) works for almost everyone these days, its the number 1 word processing program (Word).
    NEVER allow a spelling mistake on your resume, this article has one. As an employer I stop reading and throw out resumes with spelling errors.

  • Ziyodillo Mirzamoydinov

    Andrew thank you!!! It is really helpfull

  • Gopal Krishna

    Very informative article. Thanks!

  • Syed Basharat Aziz

    Informative WebSite

  • Altair Roberto Silva

    Tks a lot!

    Very helpfull article!

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