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Home  > Article

Lost in the Void

By Deborah Walker, CCMC

Don't lose your resume in cyberspace! Follow these tips to keep your resume on target and avoid the great void.

If your resume can't be opened as an attachment, then it can't be seen. 

With the advent of email and online job services, job hunting suddenly became much easier.  Or did it?  Sometimes it's hard to know if your resume is actually reaching someone's desk...or is lost somewhere in the great void of cyberspace. 

If you want to be sure that your resume is being seen by a real person who can offer you a real job, here are three rules to get stronger response.

1. Use the Right Key Words

More than ever, resumes are stored in a data base and queiried for key words to indicate candidate match.  If you aren't using the right words to describe your employment experiences, then your resume might be rejected before it's ever seen.  Review key words your resume uses to: 

  •  Describe your dream job.  Do your qualifications match the job description?  Look closely at areas listing your technical skills, job responsibilities and core competencies.
  •  Attract your desired industry.  Are you using industry buzzwords?  In other words, does your resume talk their talk?
  •  Attract your occupational field.  Do the phrases you use prove your level of experience in your field?  

2. Use the Correct Electronic Version

If your resume can't be opened as an attachment, then it can't be seen.  Because of the threat of computer viruses many companies only accept resumes through their own online forms which ask you to cut and paste (rather than attach) your resume. Make sure you are sending your resume in a format that will work for the recipient.

  •  If a resume attachment is requested:  Save your resume as a Word document (.doc or .rft).  This is the standard most companies use.  It should retain the formatting that you used for your resume so long as you avoid fancy formatting options such as columns, boxes and tables.
  • If an email or online form is used:  Use ASCII, plain text, or text only.  This removes formatting, but the information is preserved.  Be sure to review your resume before sending it so that it is still easy to read and user friendly.

3.  Differentiate Your Resume from the Crowd

There are dozens of fast food restaurants that sell hamburgers and fries.  How do you choose which one you want?  Chances are, one of those restaurants has a differentiating edge, something that you like better than all the others.  The job market is the same way; it's flooded with choices, so you have to make your resume stand out from all the competition.

The best way to differentiate your resume from others is with accomplishments.  And those accomplishments really stand out when:

  • They are measurable.  Can you define how much you accomplished in dollars saved, contracts won, or percent changed?
  • They support your transferable skills.  Can your skills be used by this company, even if your job experience is in a different industry?  What skills will transfer from one job to another?
  •  They connect to corporate bottom-line objectives.  How can you help them save time, save money, increase their profit margin, improve sales, or increase revenue?

While the Internet is still a great tool for job seekers to connect quickly with employers, take steps to insure your resume won't get lost in the void.  Before you send your resume off to the Great Cyber Beyond, use these three tips to make sure your resume gets the attention it deserves!

About the Author:

Deborah Walker, President of Alpha Advantage, Inc., is a nationally respected career coach with extensive experience as a former headhunter and corporate recruiter.  Her clients include top executives at Pepsi, Ford, Motorola, Target, Sun Microsystems and AT&T. Read more resume and job-search tips at 


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