Are you listening to the wrong voices?

You hear a lot about getting your resume ready to apply online these days. This is very important and that’s why professional resume writers either offer the text resume as an option or as a standard item.

Recently, I heard a dialogue between resume writers about being careful to optimize the resume for online applications in case it is scanned in. Tables don’t read well in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) so the thought was that you should never put a table in your resume.

Very interesting from a number of points. First of all, my clients are being hired in multiple fields from manufacturing to banking to pharmaceutical sales to defense contracting. And shocker… many of my resumes have tables in them.

I teach my clients many back door strategies to put their resumes in front of decision-makers. Of course this means that they have to put in extra effort to find and make connections.

Everyone uses Applicant Tracking Systems – uh, No!

When you hear something from one employer or human resource manager and assume it is the only way, you are often missing the boat. Every company has not yet gone to ATS methods of resume intake. Your small businesses are more likely to either want the resume e-mailed or mailed.

Even if the company is using ATS methods, they are not all the same. In addition, your keywords should be in every facet of the resume, not just in a keyword table. The resume needs to have value-driven resume stories to make the employee worth hiring.

Here’s one of those resume stories from a recent client’s resume:

  • Designed and implemented a computerized preventative maintenance program that notified drivers on the road when their truck was due for service.

He went to his second interview yesterday and his resume also had a table in it:

I think that if more people worked on building their skills, creating their resume “stories,” and making themselves invaluable to the employer, they would find their new positions much quicker. You don’t believe me? Then read this by Seth Godin:

“How to get a job with a small company”

Most advice about job seeking is oriented around big companies. The notion of a standard resume, of mass mailings, of dealing with the HR department–even the idea of interviews–is all built around the Fortune 500.

Alas, the Fortune 500 has been responsible for a net loss in jobs over the last twenty years. All the growth (and your best chance to get hired) is from companies you’ve probably never heard of. And when the hirer is also the owner, the rules are very different.

Listen to him. The rules are very different. Don’t assume the same rules apply all the time.

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  1. Kristin Johnson on November 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I couldn’t agree more, Julie! There are so many start-ups and smaller businesses to consider working for that don’t use ATS. Job seekers need the visual appeal of a professionally written resume. Not something that looks like their roommate threw together for them!

    • Julie Walraven on November 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

      All ATS applications don’t function the same way either, Kristin, and I think many people get stuck on one myth and never move on. Job seekers are hurt when they get the wrong information. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Kris Plantrich on November 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Great article Julie! A clear reminder of the importance of knowing your target audience. Not only do you need to know the position the job seeker is targeting, but also the size and type of company as well.


    • Julie Walraven on November 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks, Kris, for stopping by! Yes, I think that often there are more issues out there than one standard rule can answer.

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Julie Walraven

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