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The Simpler the Better
by Bob Brooke


During the1980s, job seekers used desktop publishing to create elegant looking resumes that dazzled hiring managers. In the 1990s, recruiters cautioned them to use fancy formatting sparingly, lest an electronic scanner reading them became confused. Today, the simpler the better seems to be the rule.

While a job seeker may not have control over landing a job, he or she does have control over creating, preparing, and submitting a resume to a prospective employer. Unfortunately, employers are being bombarded by poorly crafted online resumes to the point where this once-promising new mode of job-hunting may be losing its effectiveness.

What makes an effective resume? According to Smith, effective resumes don’t write themselves. They require research, self-examination and self promotion. Effective resumes aren’t laundry lists of jobs once worked.. And they’re not the place to be modest or shy. Smith recommends crafting a resume for each job and employer. One size does not fit all. In this age of PCs, there’s no excuse for producing a generic resume. A resume that doesn’t respond to the specifics of a job advertised or posted will end up in the trash.

The job seeker’s name should come first. It'̓s fine to use technical jargon to describe areas of expertise or program names.Smith said job seekers should demonstrate how they made a difference at each company, as well as provide specific examples of how the company benefited from their performance.

Using action verbs is still a good idea, but in this electronic world, most managers use nouns as search terms. And typos not only make a job seeker look sloppy, but a misspelled key word won't show up as a match when an employer searches for it.

There are three popular methods for applying for jobs online–via E-mail, electronic forms, or as a Web page.Smith noted that the specific employer a job seeker applies to will determine how a resume should be prepared before submitting it electronically.  Everything should be labeledNAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE, FAX, E-MAIL, CONTACT INFORMATION, EXPERIENCE, and EDUCATION. These serve as guideposts which technology understands and then knows where to put the information which follows.Single-spacing within paragraphs also helps.

Each work experience, with start and end date, should be a separate paragraph. For it to be read as a job by software, it must carry a date. Skills should be described in the context of the job where used. And when naming a position, the occupation like "engineer" is more helpful than the field, like "engineering."

Unlike job recruiting Web sites like that attract the attention of employers, job seekers using Internet resumes must attract the attention of interested employers on their own. According to, the only hope a job seeker has of being found in an applicant search is the inclusion of relevant industry keywords. These shouldn’t be in a separate section but sprinkled throughout the resume.

Keywords are the basis of the electronic search and retrieval process, providing the context from which to search for a resume in a database. Keywords are a browsing tool and help employers identify and retrieve resumes. They can be nouns or phrases that highlight areas of expertise, industry-related jargon, achievements, and other distinctive features about a job seeker’s work history.

Job seekers should identify possible keywords that are appropriate to their skills and accomplishments that support the kinds of jobs they’re seeking. If responding to an advertisement, keywords can be picked from there. And, above all, job seekers shouldn’t forget to highlight their computer skills, noted Smith.

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