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Technology, economy changing résumés

BY MARY HARRINGTON | APRIL 08, 2009 7:30 AM

With recruiters working on the go and jobs fleeing, eye-catching résumés are even more crucial to landing a job.

With the use of such handheld technological devices as iPhones, the way employers read résumés is changing. And while the jobs university graduates seek are fading, it’s crucial the information can be easily viewed, even if only displayed on a cell-phone screen.

“Now, it’s more important than ever that your résumé stand out from other students,” said Angi McKie, a program associate at the UI Pomerantz Career Center.

Last year, UI students scheduled roughly 3,600 advising appointments to get help with résumés, and around 700 alumni sought assistance for résumé-related problems.

While students and young professionals scramble to scan for spelling errors or formatting problems, many may not know that some recruiters are changing the way they read the crucial piece of the application process.

“I think that achievements are still the most important part of a résumé, but there are some big changes happening regarding how one should present those on the page,” said Robyn Feldberg, the president of the National Résumé Writers’ Association.

Experts said applicants can add several new technology-friendly components to their résumés to make it ideal: a design suitable for a phone-sized screen, the use of easily searchable keywords, and perhaps linking to a networking site with more information.

When writing and formatting a hard-copy résumé, applicants should always check the file on the screen of a handheld device. Sometimes what seems legible or attractive on paper may not make much sense on a small screen.

Recruiters may also search for single words rather than read through long phrases, often scanning a computer screen for “buzzwords” relevant to the position, said Peter Newfield, a former résumé expert for Monster.com.

Along with the changing quality of résumés, use of online resources to push the papers onto recruiters can often land opportunities for jobseekers. Professional profile sites help market the brand of the individual, Feldberg said.

“Many résumés will never reach human hands nowadays,” Newfield said. “It’s critical that it still grabs the recruiter’s attention while still on a screen.”

Because of his proactive approach to building a résumé, UI senior Matt Niblock said he recently became aware of these changes, taking experts’ advice into account as he built a tech-friendly job search. By working with technology, he said he has already nabbed several job offers despite the frightening state of the market.

“It’s absolutely critical to put yourself out there with a great presentation on paper,” Newfield said. “There are still jobs out there and employers looking for quality employees.”


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