Those looking to contract are just two steps away from getting a job: 1) computers and 2) recruiters. Sounds easy, right? It is. Taking the first step with precision and caution is half the battle won. Yes, creating that perfect system-friendly resume is a must to ensure that it gets through the automated resume screening systems to the right person. Now the question is, how do you build a resume which is capable of meeting all possible sorting parameters set by a computer?
There’s no absolute answer to this critical question simply because computers can be programmed with varying levels of artificial intelligence. However, most computers are able to accurately decipher plain-text resumes only, which means that spending all that time on the aesthetics of a resume isn’t really worth it in the end. It’s advisable that you save your favorite typefaces and emphasis techniques (bold, italics, SMALL CAPS, etc.) for a personal document and stick to the plain-text format for the resume.
The next step is to make sure your resume grabs a potential employer’s attention right away. According to RetiredBrains.com, an average hiring manager skims a resume for about 20 seconds before either reading it in depth or trashing it. The best resumes are the ones that are tailored to specific job requirements and companies.
Online consistency, which is often neglected, goes a long way in building a meaningful professional message. Many hiring managers and recruiters review your online social content, so you want to keep your social information consistent with your resume. LinkedIn is especially important since it is a professional network. Your LinkedIn resume should be updated as often as your resume so a hiring manager does not see conflicting information. It’s that simple. It shows that you’re willing to help a recruiter market your skills and recent accomplishments to potential employers. Recruiters will appreciate you for that.