The following material has been excerpted from Electronic Resume Revolution by Joyce Lain Kennedy and Thomas J. Morrow, Copyright (c) 1994, Joyce Lain Kennedy & Thomas J. Morrow. This material has been provided in cooperation with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is intended for your personal use only; it may NOT be otherwise copied or distributed without specific written permission from the publisher.
Joyce Lain Kennedy and Thomas J. Morrow
One factor frequently mentioned as a major obstacle in the hiring process is the resume. Without a doubt, it is the most important document in your job search--it is a key ingredient in more than 90 percent of all new hires. Potential employers, friends, employment agents, and other people whom you contact will make the inevitable request, "Send me a copy of your resume." Questions concerning resume usage, validity, and style are simply endless.
Even human resource experts have trouble agreeing on the resume's value and format. Should the document be one, two, three pages--or more? What type of information should it contain: duties, responsibilities, accomplishments? Must goals and objectives be included? Is a qualifications summary helpful? Where should education be placed? Are employment dates and affiliations with every employer required?
This may surprise you: There are as many answers as there are questions. Weary participants in the employment process often lament, "There must be a better way," but there is no escaping the fact that the resume document is the universally accepted method for you to describe your background and obtain a job interview.
Unfortunately, everyone who ever has looked for a job sees himself or herself as some sort of authority on the topic. That's why the occasional job seeker is overwhelmed with well-meaning advice, much of it suspect. As a result, resume creation often is not handled well. Most experts agree that poor resumes, along with a lack of interviewing skills and a failure to network, are at the root of ineffective job searches.
Confusion over the resume content has resulted in companies' passing over qualified candidates because their background summaries were misread or overlooked. Likewise, applicants have lost job opportunities because of resumes that were prepared inadequately or were understated. Neither side--employer or job seeker--has seemed willing to compromise or seek a solution to the impasse. It has been easier to point a finger at the other party for being at fault.
But now, the dynamics of the employment process are changing.
As the philosophy of "lean and mean" has exerted itself on human resource departments, HR specialists have had to do more with less. This operating mandate especially applies in employment organizations, which, in this time of a high unemployment rate, have been overwhelmed with applicants. Some relief was required to allow their staffing assignments to be completed in a timely manner.
For progressive recruiters, the solution has been found in the use of computers, optical scanners, and other electronic equipment, in combination with creative software programs. Electronic technology is how we're spelling relief these days. Technology in the 1990s is making a major impact on the hiring function.
In the past year, we have witnessed numerous converts to this new method of recruitment and, as the word spreads and more sophisticated equipment is developed for performing recruiting work, it will become an accepted process for most employers. "What did we ever do before the fax?" has become a very common question in today's business environment. For employment department staff, the electronic resume soon will be receiving similar acclaim.
I am not suggesting you should throw away your current chronological or functional resume. This document will continue to play an important part in your search, especially in employment and information interviews. Instead, I am recommending the use of two versions: an electronic resume to help you attract the attention of the robotic recruiter, and a traditional paper copy to assist in selling yourself in face-to-face real-people situations.
In today's economy, everyone is concerned about his or her future in the workplace. Mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, layoffs, and other corporate changes have disrupted many careers at all levels. The rules of the past in regard to employment no longer apply.
Some people may insist that a specially prepared cover letter will be sufficient to solve the electronic dilemma. Nothing could be further from the truth. This correspondence is intended to complement your work biography, not to contradict it. Any significant change from the resume content will be viewed as last-minute patchwork that has little validity. Even though it may be tailored specifically to a situation, it will have the negative impact of a preprinted letter. You never want to convey to any employer an initial impression that you prefer shortcuts over hard work.
By following the suggestions offered in this groundbreaking book, you will be well on the way to gaining the competitive edge that will put you ahead of other job seekers. The authors have compiled an enviable record in the employment and career planning fields. Their advice is well founded and hits directly in the center of the job search bull's-eye.
This book is quite different than anything you have read or been told previously. Read it. Absorb it. Apply it. If you pay close attention to the instructions given here, you will go to the head of the class. Be prepared. The future of The Resume Revolution is NOW.John D. Erdlen, President
If there's a hair's difference between job seekers, computers can split it. Computers compare every measurable differential--every shade of meaning in experience, skills, education, previous employers, and career achievement.
When we began researching this book more than a year ago, we knew that large changes were taking place in America's corporate hiring halls. What we didn't know was that, in scale, the changes are as significant as when the Industrial Age was replaced by the Information Age a few decades ago.
Computers are doing for employers what giant shopping malls have done for consumers. Instead of running all over town to one merchant here and another there, trying to remember what one is offering and the other isn't, shoppers can now move back and forth very quickly among stores and their competing neighbors. The shopping mall competition has sharpened consumers' bargaining awareness and buying power.
Similarly, employers operating computers armed with the right software can compare notes on thousands of applicants faster than you can say, "Live one online."
Millions of workers today are being entered into hundreds of automated applicant tracking systems, which are similar to the theater industry's casting directories. They are being used by employers and executive search firms, and by independent resume databases operated by commercial enterprises, colleges, and the federal government.
The technology is rewriting the rules on how to find jobs during the 1990s.
Not only is the technology making it more effortless than ever for employers to compare people, but the timing is perfect for the use of new systems. As the United States gears down from the boom years following World War II, employers are looking around and finding themselves in the driver's seat.
People who hire can now afford to be very demanding in their requests for specific kinds of sharply honed skills and well-defined levels of education. Precise resume search and retrieval addresses this need. Employers know precisely what qualifications they want and they're asking for them. The automated systems are well equipped to meet a heightened demand for very specific kinds of applicants, and they offer the capacity to compare them at a glance.
It was not always thus. In the past, employers had to manually sort through stacks and stacks of paper resumes. Even the most qualified applicants didn't always get invited in for personal inspection because some of their qualifications were overlooked. Good resumes may have gone untouched simply because they were too far down in the pile.
Computers take their work very seriously. Compared to humans, computers are more thorough, more specific, and more objective--three good reasons why a new approach has to be taken in planning, writing, and submitting your resume.
That's what this book is all about--how to use computers and the breathtaking technology that is upon us. Our guide is for people who do not intend to get left behind in the wake of the new technology that is changing how resumes wend their way through corporate America today.
As we frankly admit in our companion book, Electronic Job Search Revolution, which gives you the big picture of how the nation's employment processes are changing, we are not gifted in technical areas. Ultimately, this may be for the best because we don't know enough about the workings of technology to get too carried away with it. Our interest is in how the technology affects the chances of your resume winning you a job interview, and how to improve your odds.
We tell you what you need to understand about producing a new kind of resume that can lick any computer and survive to be read by human eyes. We explain how scanners and optical character recognition (OCR) systems work, and what effect they might have on your resume. We give you loads of tips and keyword skills you can use to make sure you're branded with the right labels--the labels computers look for when they are matching applicants with jobs.
As you read, you'll notice that Electronic Resume Revolution answers questions abundantly:
Remember, computers read resumes differently than people do. They are making it easier than ever before in history for employers to comparison shop among job seekers. This book opens your understanding toward becoming the best that money can buy.