Thursday, March 19, 2009

Electronic Resume Formatting Disaster

As I mentioned a few days ago, I am hiring a new editor. Our parent company's policy is to have all jobs posted on, and to not accept resumes that don't come through Monster. This has caused all of us job search specialists here to squirm a bit, because we're always preaching in our books that the best way to get a job is through networking. And in practice, we are all but banning that.

But okay, if using Monster keeps us on the right side of the EEOC with minimum hassle, I get that. What I am really upset over is having to look at electronic resumes. Have you SEEN a resume after it gets chewed up and spit out by Monster?

What is happening with about 90% of the resumes I've gotten is that the lines of text are too long. They break in odd places and wrap around again in such as way as to make it impossible to tell what is what. Even worse, the job titles (which I might argue are the first thing anyone looks at) are not boldfaced. So it's literally impossible to sum up someone with a quick scan.

What are those talented few whose resumes are at least aligned correctly doing right? I can't be sure, but I think they are following expert advice and cutting their lines off at the end of the screen with hard returns.

It's also worth repeating that if your Word resume has bullets in it and you just paste it into an online form like Monster, those bullets will either drop out or turn into some other garbled mess. Instead, replace them with asterisks. The whole point of using bullets in the resume is to make it easier to read, and this is the best online approximation of that technique.

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