Sunday, September 27, 2015

How many file formats do you save your resume in? Is one enough?

Not today!

If all you have is one you might want to reconsider what you are doing in view of ATS software used in company hiring processes today and document processing software used in the creation of your resume. You can inadvertently make your resume incompatible with ATS!

Front end hiring process technology has changed over years and it is not kind to job seekers. Most firms use ATS in the front end of their hiring process and rely on a parser to sort out candidates before a human will ever know about them, much less see their resume. You will get scored and compared with your competition before a human ever knows about you. The best candidate on paper can get weeded out of the competition by the parser.

Fortunately for you document preparation software makes it very easy to create and edit a resume today compared to the technology your father and grandfather had. It’s easy to edit the resume to be responsive to what is required for a particular job. However, without even realizing it you might incorporate problems for the parser that have nothing to do with your qualifications but everything to do with the software features you used to create the document. This can result in failure to respond to your application, or worse, outright rejection regardless of your qualifications.

Most people need help to create an ATS-ready resume. But even after you create a resume that is compatible with ATS parsing, you will need your resume saved in different file formats to serve different purposes. Thanks to computers that is easy to do as well. A pure text file is the optimum format for ATS parsing purposes, but for humans who can see and appreciate professional appearance in a resume, you certainly want a more attractive file saved in a more attractive file format.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at kl@hoochresumes.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cold calling: Breaking the barrier between you and reaching the hiring manager.


Sometimes there is no other way to find the name of the hiring manager than to make cold-calls into a company. Many people are timid about doing this. Many are in full panic mode when actually to trying to speak directly to the manager. To overcome the fear, the best remedy is to prepare and practice some brief scripts for soliciting the name, for getting past the gatekeepers and for speaking to the manager.

Practicing out loud with another person is critical because it affords the opportunity to make mistakes and modify the script when there is no negative outcome. Practice also enables one to internalize the script rather than memorize it. A memorized script usually comes across very “canned” and obvious.

It is always easier to get information if you establish rapport with the person on the other end first. Before giving your name, ask for the name of the person you are speaking to before asking for the name of the person you are trying to reach. Once you have the exact name of the right contact, either continue to try to make voice contact with the hiring manager or call back later and ask to speak directly with that person by name.

Quite often you will be asked what the purpose of your call is. Whatever response you offer, do not tell them you are looking for a job. That answer will get you transferred quickly to HR. Unless you are looking for an HR position, that’s not where you want to be.

It’s not always easy to make contact with the hiring manager over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. If you are asked to leave a message, don’t do it. Messages often don’t get returned. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.

It’s not always easy to make contacts over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. The more you do it the better you will get at it. Don’t leave messages. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.


Just don’t give up.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at kl@hoochresumes.com

Monday, September 14, 2015

Resume Writing 101 vis-à-vis ATS parsing, a conservative approach.

When creating resumes for the job market today one must consider who, or in most cases, what is going to review the resume first. With the proliferation of ATS software being applied at the front end of the hiring process it is very possible a human will never see the resume, at least in the form it was prepared. Because ATS does not have eyes, beauty or attractiveness is totally unimportant to it and in fact, can cause the resume to become “unreadable”. Appearance is important to the human eye but not to a computer. So it is important that the resume be professional in appearance when humans read it. This means resumes need to be saved in at least two file formats.

Many people have opinions about how to write a resume so that it will pass ATS scrutiny. And much of their advice is correct, but often only true for certain ATS products. Most often the advice given does not cover all ATS products, and there are over 220 of them. So how can you deal with their advice when it is wrong for the software used by a company you are applying to? The answer is to take a conservative approach and write your resume to satisfy virtually every ATS parser.

Some will argue that many of the issues that used to cause parsing failures have been fixed and no longer apply. The fact is that is not true for all 220 products. The company one applies for a job at may not have ATS software that can overcome the issues. Therefore one must prepare for the entire universe of parsers. That is the conservative approach.

For the most part, expert opinions on parsing software are well-intentioned. However, many who profess to have detailed knowledge of ATS base their opinions on limited knowledge, some of which is incorrect. Many do not understand that the optimum file format for ATS parsing is ASCII text. Many also do not understand that most parsers are designed to look for certain information in a certain order for best results. For example some will tell you that it doesn’t matter in what order date information is given. That may be true for some parsers, but not all; therefore it is best to take the conservative approach and list dates fist. And there are many more examples.

All parsers can ‘read’ ASCII text. Therefore the conservative approach is to have a file saved in ASCII text for applying electronically and and a copy that is saved in a standard word processing format that is attractive to the human eye!

The fact is that when any of over 40 common non-ASCII attributes are incorporated by word processors into a resume, most ATS parsers will fail to parse correctly and are most likely to outright reject a resume. One simple rule to follow is this: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and parsers do not have eyes, so when applying electronically, use the text file (*.txt).


Having said that doesn’t mean that you should not care about the appearance of a resume. On the contrary!  You also need to save your resume as a Word or other word processing file you hand it to people or send it to them. When you wish to hand give resume to another human, make sure it has a professional appearance, is written intelligently and displays excellent language skills. Then save it also as a txt file for electronically applying to a job.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at kl@hoochresumes.com