For Part 1 of Marketing Yourself Using Your Resume, click here.
In physical hiring processes, a hiring manager is apt to start at the expertise section, scan through previous employers, read your full education level, and then check out the rest of the resume. Sometimes, they go directly to education, skipping experience altogether, and continue to your affiliations and technical proficiencies. If they are intrigued, they will return to your biography, and then they will read to see if you are worthy of the position they are moved to interview you for. You want to draw eyes to each section of your resume and encourage them to actually read what is written there. Avoid typos and formatting errors. They aren’t read by ATS and can negatively sway the hiring manager to drop your resume into the garbage bin.
Speaking of the garbage bin, industry rules have changed. You do not need to have a “references” section in your resume. You can drop that in the trash. Because many people lie about references and have others lie for them, it has become an unnecessary part of the resume process. It also takes up space that you can be using for something more valuable. It is wise, however, to keep a reference sheet on hand if your future employer requests one. This also goes for project sheets, which outline project histories, portfolio pieces, and publications, unless you have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) resume type.
In creating proper spacing, keeping your resume to a proper length, and utilizing negative space, one must consider level of hierarchy. Although there is no limit to how much space is used in ATS, it’s important to understand that if you make it through the computerized process, a warm-blooded soul will be holding your resume in their hands. Length must be made appropriate to your level of hierarchy on the corporate ladder.
It is commonplace that professionals who have held tenure at a job site, entry-level personnel, and students may only detail their resume to one page. However, there are some entry-level personnel who hold hands with professionals of all industries that will find two pages tell a clearer story of who they are, whether they have summarized this or are providing quality content in enhancing their resume to meet specific job descriptions. Hiring managers find it acceptable for medical personnel, executives, and IT professionals to submit resumes at three to four pages.
Military personnel, medical doctors, and professionals in the scientific community are expected to have four or more pages of resume material. This is where special resumes are created, distinctly prepared by federal standards and in CV-structured layouts. Most resumes only include the last 10–12 years to compensate for age stereotyping hindrances in the hiring process. An undated summary statement below may be italicized to show evidence of a career journey and previous experience in correlation to older-yet-relevant positions held. Remember to present yourself as you want to be perceived. This is Branding 101.
While most resumes are lacking a graphic appeal, many new designs have found ways to give resumes a persona. After all, when looking at a resume, one becomes familiarized with the person that they are potentially hiring. Your layout will tell a hiring manager your level of expertise within the corporate machine. Graphic elements can hint at an “out-of-the-box” or innovative personality, highlighting your creativity. The problem, however, is that ATS often has a hard time reading graphic resumes, and while there are ways to get around this issue, most creative resumes suffer because some element or another is lacking in the process. Only a select few within the resume-writing world know how to get around this problem and can optimize your resume for discovery in ATS engines.
Finally, in marketing yourself through a resume design, one must be aware of engine capabilities. While .doc extensions aren’t often looked at as a “finished project” in a world where creating a .pdf document helps corporations protect against fraud and is accepted as official and polished, .doc extensions are the most acceptable form of submission in this day. This document type provides ATS with an easier means of extracting your personal information than do .pdf, .rtf, .txt, and even .docx.
Being mindful of your audience, keep both .pdf documents and .docs on hand at all times. After all, you may be submitting your resume directly to a decision-maker and should plot to appear as polished as possible. In the end, it all comes down to one thing: brandYOU. How are you marketing yourself? What observation of your character would you like them to experience?
Stay mindful of ATS when submitting resumes to corporate engines and job search sites, and remember, I am only a messenger of what experts have analyzed over the years and through experience. Good luck!
Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan is the owner of Shorty Produkshins and an Internet Marketing professional, specializing in Social Branding and Public Relations. She has been a part of multiple International projects in both Entertainment Business and Professional Services industries. She often works with major marketing firms and job search sites under NDA in lending valuable insight to clientele, whether it includes hands-on project development or the crafting of a roadmap for a brand's awareness strategy. Find her online here. @sp_brand_social