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Curriculum Vitae

How to Write a Resume

Below are excerpts from Damian Birkle's book, Career Bounce-Back! Please use the links below to jump to your section of interest:

There are all kinds of resumes but they all have universal components.

How to use the Internet PRODUCTIVELY

Chronological or Functional? What resume type is best for me?

Learn to use the right document format

Get found on the Web with the right keywords

Resume Components



Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a French word resume as “a short account of one’s career and qualifications” -- meaning short story or brief overview. 


There's no such thing as a perfect resume.  Having written thousands of resumes for job seekers, there is no golden ticket or magic resume, but there are universal features that will help you rise above the masses.  Once you understand the key components or universal segments of a resume, you will be able to determine whether you want to write a chronological or functional resume (See: Chapter 11).  A well written resume is critical to your success and serves as your platform to marketing your personal brand You.  It is your primary communication tool and is well worth the time it takes to make it effective.  Your resume has multiple purposes:

  • The document gives a candid snapshot of your background highlighting your skills and accomplishments by means of a self-assessment checklist  (See: Exhibit 10-1)

  • It serves as a marketing platform for the brand You.

  • It empowers you to work around Human Resources by networking directly with key decision-makers.

  • The document can act as an agenda for an interviewer to use as a guide to your background and serves as a launch point for additional conversation and/or questions.

  • A resume demonstrates major work-related issues you have pro-actively managed and resolved.

  • It presents to an employer your “on-the-job” experiences relative to the position you are interviewing for.

  • It documents major actions or decisions you have made throughout your career - both in methodical and quantitative measures as a result of your involvement.

  • The document pinpoints events and highlights points of achievement you have accomplished throughout your career; and finally,

  • A resume creates opportunities to demonstrate transferrable skills and personal achievements relative to the job you are applying for.


Are All Resumes the Same?

No… An individual's accomplishments are like their fingerprints - no two are alike.  The truth is when you review top-notch resume formats from career counseling organizations across the United States are very similar in style and format.  There are minor differences in formatting; but in my experience, the differences are only cosmetic.  A resume’s uniqueness is accomplished by presenting your transferrable skills and experiences. 

Bottom Line - There are key universal segments all effective resumes share.


Universal Resume Segments

Regardless of the type of resume you decide to write, these universal segments combined effectively will create a clear, clean, and concise document.  The finished product will be easy to scan, simple to understand, and eye friendly.


Universal resume segments guide a reader’s eyes through the resume by creating logical sections.  The margins are large, the style of lettering easy-to-read, and the type size are generous.  After over 20 years, I have found that regardless of the type of resume you choose, there are five universal segments included on all resumes. (See: Exhibit 10-2) 

  • Name and Contact Information

  • Career Summary

  • Areas of Expertise (Selected Accomplishments)

  • Job Experience (Professional Experience)

  • Education




Keep it Short

Fifteen years+ of solid work experience entitles you to a two-page resume.  Remember, however, you do not have to itemize all your qualifications.  If you leave the employer wanting more information, he or she may call to get it and that's exactly what you want - a phone call giving you the opportunity to establish rapport and ultimately, a job interview.

Keep it Simple

Industry jargon or acronyms may confuse the person in Human Resources screening your resume.  If the reader does not understand your resume, there is a high likelihood that your resume will be passed over.  NOTE: A good majority of resumes are now reviewed by software programs searching for specific, position-related keywords.  If your resume does not contain any of these keywords, your resume will not be flagged for review.  See: Chapter 12 – Keywords: The Hidden Language of the Internet


A Technology Resume is Different

Many hiring managers tell me they want to see both hardware and software skills listed below the career summary to ensure you have the minimum qualifications required for further reading.  For those of you in a technical environment, utilizing technical terms/references should be listed in an Area of Expertise section on your resume (i.e.: C++, mainframe, CICS…).


Front-load Important Information

From an employer's point-of-view being able to skim your resume is vital. Your Career Summary * Areas of Expertise * Job Experience * Education are probably all he or she has time to quickly scan in fifteen to thirty seconds.  It is fair to assume they will concentrate on your last 10 years and skim the rest. Your challenge is to slow the reader down by putting your most important and interesting information first. Potential employers are looking for measurable benefits you have accomplished throughout your career. Rise to the top of the pile by making it easy to see for both Human Resources and hiring managers to see your relevance and the value you have contributed to companies in the past.

Quantify your most Important Achievements

Adding specifics as "increased sales by 20%" or "cut response time in half” helps bring your most important work experiences into focus and adds to your credibility. Always write in a third tense and describe your accomplishments using action words such as:

Achieved                   Composed                Facilitated                   Maintained             Sold

Allocated                   Conducted               Formulated                  Mediated                Staffed

Anticipated                Consolidated            Negotiated                  Generated               Streamlined

Assigned                    Counseled                Handled                      Organized               Summarized

Awarded                   Delegated                 Identified                    Purchased               Traced

Assisted                     Defined                    Headed                       Planned                   Taught

Balanced                    Designed                  Improved                    Revised                   Tracked

Built                           Developed                Invented                      Secured                   Utilized

Chaired                      Established               Launched                    Selected                  Verified

Compiled                   Evaluated                 Lead                            Served                     Wrote


Leave your Personal Life Out

The older you are the less important your hobbies, group affiliations, and even education become. Focus instead on skills and experiences that best sell you to an employer. Never include your age, marital status, or social security number. Do not provide references until asked for in a second or third interview.  You want to control information going to your references.  It is important to “feed and nourish” your references by providing regular updates on your progress. When a company asks for references, be sure to call each of them to give them a “heads up.”  Orient them about the position and company you interviewed with and ask your referrals if they would like a suggested script to follow when they are called.

Eliminate Non-Essential Words

Your writing style should be direct and to the point. Edit and eliminate any non-essential information. Less is really more. The person skimming your resume will be grateful for your brevity and ability to get to the point. So present your qualifications in as few words as possible. Remember at most - a Human Resource professional will spend 60 seconds or less scanning your resume. Keep it crisp, clean, concise, and eye-friendly.


Include only What Feels Comfortable

You should be able to elaborate on your resume when you're invited for an interview. Your resume is a forward looking document and should not include information such as unpleasant or tedious job responsibilities.  Highlight those achievements you are proud of. Quantifiable, measurable benefits make your resume interesting to read. The reader will slow down naturally pausing on achievements of interest to them. A benefit driven resume will showcase your unique talents, abilities, and really make it “pop”.


Make It User-Friendly

Guide readers through your resume by using bullet points. Make it easy on the eyes by using generous margins and a typeset large enough to read without a magnifying glass. I recommend Times New Roman or Arial with a font size of 11 or 12 (no smaller). Don't clutter your resume with multiple fonts or an abundance of italics, boldfacing, or underlining. Instead create a vibrant and tasteful presentation which clearly communicates your qualifications and abilities and reflects your work experience.


Remember the “One Screen Rule”™

Human Resource managers have told me of a “one-screen rule” which means if they open your resume, they usually review only that portion of your resume which first appears on their computer screen. Meaning - the only information they see when viewing your resume is your contact information and career summary; and perhaps an expertise section. If they do not immediately see what they are looking for, chances are they will stop reading. See: Exhibit 10-2 for an example of focusing your readers to the top 1/3 portion of your resume. I have been told by students and clients alike that their response rate went up by 60% when submitting a strong universal resume with a complimenting “T-square” cover letter. 

T-Square Cover Letter and Checklist: Effective Cover Letters 

A cover letter is a written introduction of YOU; and a T-Square cover letter  presents your experiences as a potential match to qualifications an employer is looking for to fill an open position. The cover letter provides a snapshot of your resume – your personal information (in your personalized letterhead), directed to a particular individual at a specific company, providing the title of the available position and where you observed the available position (online, written advertisement, or a recommended availability). The focal point of the T-Square cover letter is the match of experience to requirements (as listed in the posting). This quick snapshot allows the Human Resource representative or outside recruiter to quickly match “must haves” to the desired job qualifications. Even if Automatic Tracking System software is employed to electronically scan for keywords, this match of experience to requirements is an easy way of highlighting potential applicants.


The T-Square cover letter is your introduction to the attached detailed resume of your skills and experiences. What better way of making a first impression of qualification thus enticing the reader to continue reading further into your resume.                                                                                


Enlist Outside Help

Before moving on to the next chapter, why not pause and ask people in and out of your field of expertise to review the universal components of your resume as you have written them.  This is not an invitation for others to make major structural changes or alterations to your resume format.  Instead, it should be an understandable and informative design to lay people (such as Human Resources) as well as to people who work in your specialized field.  Solicit feedback, check for any omissions, and be sure to double-check for typos, spelling, and grammatical errors.   

Types of Resumes

Your resume is an organized written presentation of you – of relevant information and accomplishments specifically targeted toward your job search. It is not a laundry list of jobs. Instead, it is a clear, concise professional picture of you and your work history.

  • Determine your format below and stick with it.

  • Use bullet statements and avoid long paragraphs (don’t bore your reader).

  • Avoid the usage of “responsible for”, “duties include”, or “responsibilities include”

  • Avoid using personal pronouns – I, me, my


Remember: It is the reader’s perception of you that will make an impact.

  • Use a large enough font - easy to read.


Chronological Resume – Used 95% of the Time

Chronological resume – lists all companies you have worked for in the order in which you worked.  (Reverse chronological order)


Functional Resume – Used 5% of the Time

Functional resume - emphasizes transferrable skills and achievements while minimizing when and where you have worked.

Job seekers who might consider using a functional resume would include:

  • College students with minimal experience and/or experience unrelated to their chosen career field.

  • Job seekers whose predominate or most relevant experience has been unpaid such as volunteer work or college activities (coursework, class projects, extracurricular organizations, and sports).

  • Workers with highly diverse experiences that don't add up to a clear-cut career path.

  • Career changers who wish to enter a field very different from their previous work experience. In this instance, a chronological resume would confuse a Human


Resources professional because it would present an unfiltered view of your career experiences versus highlighting only the quantifiable measurable benefits from your past that are relevant to a “new” career path you are heading towards in the future. 

  • Workers with gaps in their work history such as a career mom who put her career on hold and generously made a commitment to raise her family or perhaps cared for an aging parent and now wishes to return to the workplace.  A chronological format would marginalize strong, proven, and transferrable skills by drawing undue attention to these time gaps; and in many cases, the resume would get eliminated long before it would ever hit the desk of a decision maker. On the other hand, a functional resume quickly demonstrates transferrable skills and abilities obtained throughout a career incorporating any potential concerns during the resume time gap like domestic management and volunteer work.

  • Armed Forces veterans re-entering a different field from the work they performed while in the military.

  • Job seekers looking for a position for which a chronological listing could make them look "overqualified."

  • Mature workers seeking to de-emphasize a lengthy job history.


You may be wondering why a functional resume is not as easily accepted by a company.

Some employers may be unaccustomed to seeing a functional format and may become confused or even annoyed by functional resumes. It is your job, however, to position yourself with the strongest, most favorable format possible.

In some cases headhunters (slang for job recruiters) may not respond positively to a functional resume.   Remember - they work for companies looking to fill positions; they do not work for you. That being said, a chronological resume (work holes and all) might be a better recommended resume. Most recruiters look to fill positions by “stealing” an employee from an existing company.


Also be aware that employers in conservative fields such as finance, banking, and law are not huge fans of functional formats nor are international employers. Functional resumes are not acceptable when applying online. Online formatting will be discussed in the next chapter.


Critical Elements when constructing a Resume:

  • Do Not list personal information

  • Do Not list references

  • Do Not lie or provide false information

  • Proofread…Proofread…Proofread           

  • Do Not submit a resume with typos, errors, or misspellings

Keywords: The Language of the Internet

Frequently, I receive calls from decision-makers asking me if I know anyone at Professionals In Transition® who would meet the qualifications for a particular position.  This is because (in their opinion) they just can't find good, qualified people.

In this chapter we will talk about how employers find qualified applicants  (long before a human gets involved) by means of electronically screening and tracking resumes – the Applicant Tracking Systems, Job Aggregators, and Keywords also known as the Language of the Internet™.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)


Applicant Tracking Systems are used by many employers to process job applications and to manage the hiring process. The Applicant Tracking Systems is a software program utilized by companies to manage their entire recruiting process. The database environment is used to:

  • Manage the hiring process (start to finish)

  • Automatically screen potential applicants

  • Test candidates

  • Schedule interviews

  • Monitor reference checks

  • Complete new-hire paperwork


Why Companies Use Applicant Tracking Systems

An ATS can also be used for regulatory compliance and for tracking sources of candidates –how they found the job posting (i.e. from company website on a job board like, directly through a referral from company employee, or from another source). The majority of job and resume boards (Monster, Hotjobs, Career Builder) have partnerships with Applicant Tracking Systems vendors who provide the ATS software. The ATS software allows a hiring company to pull your completed application from any of the job boards and transfer it into their system.

How Applicant Tracking Systems Work

Applicants upload personal information, including contact information, experience and educational background, resume and cover letter into a job board system or database. The information is then transferred from one section of the system to another as the candidate moves through the hiring process.


Internal or external company recruiters can review your application and decide what next steps (if any) are appropriate.  An automated message acknowledging receipt of your application is usually sent.  In addition, mandatory online tests (like the personality tests previously mentioned or affirmative action statements) can be executed. Another automated step is that the recruiter or a hiring manager can schedule an interview or send a rejection letter with or without actually talking to you. An added benefit of the electronic applicant tracking system for human resource personnel is that the same information you provided during your application process is automatically uploaded to their personnel and payroll records once you are hire.


Applicant Tracking Systems are very efficient and can eliminate hundreds of applications on hundreds of posted job positions with little or no human interaction. Once the parameters (must haves) of a position are set, there is little or no chance of your resume making it through the initial, automated screening process looking if you lack the pre-determined keywords. Applicant Tracking Systems make hiring a much easier task from an employer’s prospective, but are very impersonal to job seekers (sadly taking the “human” out of Human Resources). There is a great article written by Alison Doyle giving you more details on ATS.

Source:  The Balance.

Keywords: The Language of the Internet™

Now that you have an understanding of the Applicant Tracking Systems, keywords are of critical importance. Keywords, with regards to resumes and job search, refer to the search terms recruiters and hiring managers use to identify candidates for open positions. Keywords are a phrase or abbreviation for recognized skills, i.e.: MS Office - abbreviation for Microsoft Office which includes skills involving products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.


Keywords can also be industry specific like the Information Technology term “C++” - one of the most popular programming languages currently used by companies.

Keywords can define strategic responsibilities like: Project Management, Product Implementation, Analysis, Training, or Customer Service.


Keywords illustrate abilities. Your abilities are compared to the job requirements and measured against the “keywords” used by a decision-maker trying to find you. If your resume does not have any of the correct keywords, your resume may never be seen by human eyes. Applicant Tracking Systems filter resumes without judgment or thought. You either have the industry “keywords” or terms or you don’t.


Remember - recruiters and hiring managers read only those resumes or applications that match a job’s pre-set keywords. With Applicant Tracking Systems there is no independent judgment. Nobody is at the other end that may read the resume and think: “Hmmm…  This is an interesting resume. She may not meet have all of the requirements for this position, BUT, we could train her and then she would qualify for the newly created (but not yet posted) position. She looks good on paper, let’s bring her in, and see what she is like in person.” Regrettably, those days of recruitment are of bygone years.


Finding Keywords by Using a Job Aggregator

Encarta dictionary defines an aggregator as: “a person, organization, or thing that brings different things or people together, into a total, mass, or whole.”  For simplicity’s sake, there are only two job aggregators I use:  First:; Second: .


Johimrgen Sundberg, a Social Media consultant and trainer for recruitment and HR at Link Humans, lists the top job aggregators in order of size.  They are:

  1. Started in 2004, was the trailblazer for all job search engines and is still the largest. keeps expanding globally and is now available in 19 different countries with individualized versions.

  2. Close runner up to Indeed and definitely a great contender. It looks and feels just like Indeed, but SimplyHired has more add-on applications which connect you to social media for easy sharing and researching jobs you find.  Available in 17 countries worldwide.

  3. CareerJet: Again a very similar application to Indeed, CareerJet claims to scan over 58,000 websites daily.  Available in over 50 countries and in 20 languages.

  4. Jobsafari: European aggregator service available in 10 countries and 8 languages. Covers some countries where other engines are not present.

  5. JobRobot: Biggest German language aggregator very useful for central European job opportunities.

Source: Undercover Recruiter


Pinpointing Keywords Right for You

  1. Go to the job aggregator of your choice

  2. Enter your current job title or position

  3. Do not fill in the zip code - hit Enter

  4. Many positions will appear

  5. Find 12 to 15 positions you could do tomorrow

  6. Print all 12 to 15 positions

  7. Take a yellow highlighter (you are now looking for your keywords)

  8. Look across each position and begin to see both mandatory and “nice to have” requirements

  9. Highlight those words you see repeated (again and again) across the positions

  10. Create a list of the above common qualifications

You now have a list of keywords for that particular job title or position


By completing the above exercise (for each job position) you will find keywords used by employers in posting job positions in the Applicant Tracking Systems. For example - If you are targeting jobs in customer service, you will have a list that may contain words like: customer communications, retention, customer satisfaction, order processing, sales administration, metrics, inter-company communications, or call center experience.


If you are targeting the hospitality field, your key words would be completely different and may include: back-of-the-house operations, catering, kitchen management, food and beverage, vendor negotiation, inventory planning and control, menu development, or serving size.


You may also be able to pick up keywords used in your industry by reviewing the websites of your target companies, reading their annual reports, and in trade magazines.


How can I Insure that My Resume Gets Read?

There is no 100% guarantee when it comes to your resume being read.  But you can increase the likelihood of getting attention by ensuring your resume and cover letter includes as many as possible of the keywords listed in a job description.  It is perfectly appropriate for you to modify your resume each time you apply for a position to make sure those unique keywords for a particular position are included.

Including Keywords

Creating a resume that is keyword-rich is the difference between being noticed by a human recruiter or not. Be sure to skillfully incorporate keywords throughout your cover letter and resume (featuring keywords in sections of your Career Summary and Areas of Expertise). By doing this, you increase the likelihood of your resume:

  • Going beyond automation and into the hands of a decision-maker.

  • Making your skills and abilities easier to understand.


Stop Employers in Their Tracks

Finding a job boils down to having companies pause and pay attention to your job application, cover letter, and resume. You want to break through the clutter of the hundreds of resumes sent for each position posted. The key to doing this is by creating easy-to-read, technology friendly documents. Building brand You creates a distinct impression of thoughtfulness, professionalism, and qualification; as well as communicates the brand you are creating. It establishes a unique imprint. In many cases, the eye friendly, direct information will cause decision-makers to pause, slow down, think, and take the time to process the presentation of your brand as it applies to the needs of the company.


White Space

We’ve talked about filtering your keywords throughout your application, cover letter, and resume for human eyes, but what about the ever so popular electronic wizard who scans for keywords before actually pulling your cover letter and resume. 


If you have available room at the bottom of your cover letter (extra “white space”) an invisible trick is to center your strongest keywords on a single line at the bottom of the letter. This should only be 3 or 4 key qualifications that represent you and meet requirements for a particular job. The trick is once your keywords are bold-typed at the bottom in black ink, highlight the words and recolor them white. The words now become invisible to the eye (when viewed on screen or when printed out), but the imprint is still there for the computer to read – an added reinforcement of keywords to match specific job requirements. The only indicator of something odd would be a very small tilde (~) at the line of invisible words. 


This, of course, is only an added reinforcement of keywords you should have already filtered into your application and cover letter/resume; but with the volume of resumes submitted and posted everyday (nationwide and worldwide), any extra attention – while maintaining a professional image - your cover letter/resume can attract is effort  not wasted and most helpful. 


The Role of Problem Action Result Statements (PAR)

Problem Action Result statements help to drive your resume, cover letter, and conversations you may have with a potential employer.  They are individual sound bites portraying:

  • Real-life problems you’ve had on the job

  • How you resolved the problem

  • Quantifiable, measurable results


The easiest way to pinpoint Problem Action Result statements is to create a form. The first column is labeled Problem; second column, Action; and third, Result. Use this exercise to help remember the major on-the-job problems you have solved and what came about as a result. Use keywords throughout your Problem Action Result statements to increase the chances that your resume will actually be read by a human being. Remember - they are music to the ears of employers looking to find the right person for the job. Readers will be impressed and better understand your transferable skills.


In addition, readers will begin to understand how you think and how you problem solve. Be sure to utilize Problem Action Result statements throughout your communication strategy. This will establish your marketability.  PAR statements will document your proven and practical decision-making and resolution skills. Example:


PROBLEM | Incoming Foreign Delegation w/Interpreters & unknown business traditions

ACTION | Familiarize hierarchy; business traditions; culture; cuisine

RESULT | Delegation/culture respected; Successful meetings & meals; Future business partners    


Start your homework - Pull together your brand - You

  • Know your transferrable skills and experiences

  • Know your important keywords

  • Be able to support your achievements with PAR statements.

Channeling the Power of the Internet

I am always amazed at the number of people, attending my Job Search Boot Camp Seminars™, who assume 80-90 percent of all jobs come from the Internet. They are shocked when I share the actual percentages of finding a job on the Internet ranges between 7-20 percent. What is important to understand is online job postings seem almost limitless, but the actual chance of getting an online job is small. This takes into consideration that many companies mandate an online application before the hiring process begins.

My definition of using the Internet as a source to find a job includes:

  • Saw the position online

  • Applied for the position

  • Initial Interview for the position

  • Additional Interviews (until an employment offer is made)

  • Negotiated salary

  • Got the job


Do not spend a majority of your time job searching on the internet

Allocate your time by limiting online applications to less than 20% of your job searching day. Regardless of the actual Internet percentages, 80% of all jobs are found through in-person networking or through online-networking. This is particularly important if you are geographically bound to a particular city by choice. 

Bottom Line - concentrate the majority of your time on networking. Budget your time on other sources for potential jobs.

Automate online job searching by creating online profiles for Job Aggregators

There is no need to spend endless hours of drudgery on the Internet, when you can automate your job search by utilizing job aggregators like or (See: Chapter 12). In less than five minutes, you can set up a profile that will do the work for you. Although there are differences between the various job aggregators you can usually create a profile with properties including:

  • Your Resume

  • Keywords

  • Job Title

  • Location (radius from your home zip code)

  • Age of the job posting (within the past day, week or month)

  • Salary Requirements.

  • Type of job (full time, part-time, internship, etc.)


You can then choose how often you want to be notified of these positions via your business email. By automating the process, you are eliminating temptations to open other links or stories that appear if you “surf the net” not related to your job search.


Missed Opportunities?

Recently I did a test comparing positions listed on versus positions appearing on using the same search parameters.  By using identical job search criterion I found a 98% overlap meaning the same positions appeared in both sites. Duplicate positions will appear because job aggregators pull from the same sources throughout the Internet.  Simply choose the job listings you want and apply online.


Target Companies and Position Openings

You can certainly monitor your target companies from day-to-day for new positions, but new listings will also show up in your job aggregators’ profile. You can also follow your target companies on LinkedIn (discussed in Chapter 18). Regardless of how you find out about newly posted positions and make application online, remember this action is only the beginning not an end. When a position is posted online, you and 500 of your closest friends can hit “apply” at the same time.


The Big Black Hole of a Company’s Database

Even when you do everything right there is a good chance your application may fall into the black hole of either a job board or company’s database of applicants. Your application is not lost. It simply becomes another addition to the company hiring databank. Because of the sheer volume of resumes received your resume could be “parked,” and sit unread for weeks or months as other candidates (for whatever reason) are reviewed first. If you ever get a call from a recruiter or company months after applying asking if you are still available for this position, you know that your information is now in drive and an active profile. 


Internet Black Holes created by the New Golden Rule

Fortunately, the Biblical Golden Rule has remained unchanged for centuries. Today’s companies, however, have created their own Golden Rule which is: “He or She with the gold (or control) rules.” Basically this means they can do whatever they want during the hiring process. Why? because they hold all the chips.  

For reasons of corporate protection, government assistance, or simply having the employability upper hand, the application process continues to get more complex and consumes a great amount of time. Remember – When you play their game, you must follow their rules.


Internet black holes are created when response to a position is so much higher than anticipated. Even after you have followed their “unwritten” golden rules, your application can get parked after all of your hard work. Many times it is simply a numbers game. I was told by a HR professional that she instructed her assistant to “turn off” incoming applications after reaching 250. The company website continued to list the position for another week and it remained on a number of other job search websites. When asked why the job posting had not been removed sooner, she told me most outside listings are available for a minimum of 30 days before being deleted. In addition, she shared with me that 250 people is an immense number of candidates to review. These candidates, of course, included only applicants having somewhere between 80% to 95% of the qualifications and keywords listed on their resume and cover letter; and had pin-pointed accomplishments or experience proving to meet or exceed requirements and expectations. Only after these 250 candidates were qualified and interviewed did they open the position floodgates again to pull another 250 applications from the company database. Remaining applications sat on hold, parked in their database and may or may not ever get read. In addition, it has become some companies’ policies to review only current resumes and therefore do not maintain a database of qualified candidates or applications past 30 days.

Avoid Getting Lost In the Shuffle

A strong follow-through makes the difference between being noticed and being another piece of paper overlooked. A great way to follow up is to find out if there is somebody you know or someone who somebody else knows currently works for your target company. This allows you to connect a real person with the company. You may be able to establish rapport with this person and have them advocate for you from the inside out. By taking this next step, you will differentiate yourself from the majority of job seekers who wait passively at home for a response. Think about it - Who would you hire? A person you or an employee of yours knows -or- a complete stranger? Making a personal connection with a person within the company can make the difference between your application being proactively reviewed or parked.


For instance, I purposely “gave” my resume for a merchandise manager’s position to several people that I had previously worked with: one with a director at the company; a second, with a sales representative; and a third resume was sent along with my cover letter and application to the company’s HR department. Several weeks later I received a call from the human resources director, who said: “I don’t know how you did it, but your resume crossed my desk three times on the same day. This may or may not be the right position for you, but we figured anybody who could engineer this feat we had to meet.” It was pure luck; there was no way I could have timed the resumes to arrive the way they did. But by having inside connections, my resume was viewed by three different individuals and matched to a potential job opening. I did interview for the job, but did not get it.

Another proven way to follow up is to look in your connections to see if someone you know works for the company to make that inside connection. There is also an advanced feature on that (if you grant permission) will go through your LinkedIn contacts and match the positions you select with a person you already know, or others you may not know who work at the company and is a part of LinkedIn. This gives you the opportunity to contact a real person who really works at the company where the opening is, and the possibility of them being able to help you. 

Creating Internet Friendly Documents

Is there a Universal Type of Document Computers Read 100% of the Time?

No - Nothing is 100% guaranteed especially when sending documents from your desktop across the Internet to hiring company. But you can get close by saving your document twice; once-as a Word.doc file and then-as a Text.txt file. Converting your Word resume (.doc or .docx) to a Text resume (.txt) is as easy as:

  1. Name your document

  2. SAVE as .Doc (1st - auto defaults to Word)

  3. RESAVE AGAIN - Look for the drop down arrow      which shows all formatting styles your document can be saved.

  4. SCROLL down the list and CHOOSE Plain Text

  5. SAVE as .Txt (2nd)

  6. A grey box will pop up stating you will lose all formatting, pictures, and objects


Don’t panic…It will Look Garbled


Remember you still have your original Word document on file.  All you have done is created a new document in a .txt format which removes the format parameters that Word automatically sets.  You will need to reformat the document in a readable outline.  Note:  The font has also changed to what now looks like an old-fashion typewriter print.

Formatting hints:

  • Instead of using a standard bullet (an option in Word), you must now use a tilde (~) located on the left of your key board located above the tab key. 

  • Another choice is to use an asterisk (*) - shift 8. 

  • Once your reformatting is complete.  Save your document as if you had made corrections to any other document – only as a .txt. 


Text documents hold their formatting parameters and rarely get jumbled.  When you apply for a job and are given the opportunity to copy and paste your resume, the steps are as simple as:

  1. OPEN your .txt document


  3. COPY (Then move your cursor to the top of the application’s little box)

  4. Click and PASTE (Your resume will appear in the box correctly formatted.)


NOTE:  Make sure to create your resume.txt document separate from your coverletter.txt. Then paste your cover letter to your resume; and rename the combined document. Why? In the event you only have one field to upload your resume, you will want to have a combined cover letter/resume copy. You want your cover letter to be read - to position the job requirements (in the job posting) with your matching abilities (experiences) for the benefit of the company. More often than not, however, there will be two separate locations to “cut and paste” your cover letter and your resume.

Cut / Paste your Cover Letter and Resume in WORD

For presentation and if available with online applications, you may want to combine your cover letter and resume (as one) into a WORD document for email and attachment purposes. WORD does have a more finished appearance and looks better if printed. Remember – to preview your document for correct pagination, business formatting, and ease in reading before sending. 


Have you ever wondered about the term ASCII file?

I did - for years.  You can’t save a resume or any other document as an ASCII document. There are many options you can choose when saving a file including various versions of Word (.doc and docx.), .txt, .PDF, OpenDocument Text, Works 6-9 and other formats, but not ASCII.


ASCII is an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The .txt document is an ASCIIA compliant document which means the document only “has characters used on a typewriter keyboard. ASCII files can be sent and received by email as attachments...but are limited to usage of only 128 characters.”



Bottom Line – Most computer software and users are able to understand the standard WORD package.   SAVE your cover letter and resume as both a Word document (.doc) and as a Text document (.txt). If a special format is requested, your documents can be saved in PDF format, but again requires special software to convert to .doc or .txt.

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