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Getting past the recruiter’s inbox


ith the emergence of e-mail as the standard tool of business communication, the face of IT recruitment practices has also undergone a change. The use of the traditional paper resume with a creative layout and enhanced typography to grab the eye of the employer is by and large restricted to the final interview. Most employers prefer candidates to send their resumes via mail, which are fed into electronic databases, sifted for key skills by a computerised scanner and then read by the employer. Hence, candidates need to send a resume which is quickly scannable and searchable. logs you on to the basic universal principles to get past the recruiter’s inbox:

Never Submit Resume as Attachment: Recruiters are busy people and they will not appreciate you increasing their workload. Opening an attachment takes time and in all probability a busy recruiter is never going to see it. Besides, recruiters shy away from attached resumes as they can be infected with a virus that'll destroy their computer.

Use ASCII Format: It is true that most e-mail systems can accommodate document attachments-be they in Word, WordPerfect or Quark but not every person or organisation to whom you send such a document is willing or able to receive it in that format. Most recruiters prefer the universally accessible ASCII format; an acronym that stands for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange" and refers to files that can be stored as plain text. In the ASCII text, there is no formatting within the document and the text is not platform or application specific. The format does not support features like bold fonts, italics etc.,

To create an ASCII resume, use Notepad for writing resume or write resume by using available word-processing application on computer, and then save it as a text-only document or as Rich Text Format (*.rtf). This can be done by using "save" or "save as" command. To post the resume, via mail open the ASCII file, use the copy command under edit on your toolbar, and then paste your e-mail.

Styling Resume in Text Format: The text format as stated earlier is an aesthetically devoid, functional, quick to scan document. Remember that in ASCII by default everything is left justified, so use the spacebar to indent a sentence or for putting a heading in center. Avoid em or en dashes and smart quotes or mathematical symbols, as the ASCII format cannot support these. If you have used bullets, replace them with non-special characters such as asterisks or capitals wherever you need to draw the attention of the recruiter. Remove all tabs and instead use spaces to separate paragraphs.

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72 characters and No More Please: Limit each line in your resume to 72 characters. Any line longer than 72 characters is likely to be cut and will drop down to the next line, making your resume look tacky. Avoiding that 73rd character will help format the document so it stays organized and easy to read. However do not use word wrap feature while typing resume in notepad. Use hard carriage returns (enter) to insert line breaks.

Showcase Strong Points: Sending resumes by e-mail does not signify that all traditional rules of resume writing can be discarded. The best parts of your resume should be placed high on the resume.

Remember, the electronic database conducts a search for the right candidate by using keywords, which describe his education, experience, skill sets, knowledge areas, and professional affiliations. Every job has a specific register. Use common industry buzzwords as keywords to enable the computer database to spot your application. While applying online for a specific job, use the same words, which have appeared in the advertisement.

Use nouns to describe qualifications, not verbs because companies search resume databank by keywords, and those keywords tend to be nouns. For instance, "Oracle programmer" is easier to find in a database than writing, "Designed and implemented projects in Oracle."

Remember Cover Letter and Subject Matter: When send a resume via mail, do not forget to include a concise cover letter. Keep in mind that recruiters want you to make a case why you are the perfect fit for the job. Be sure to indicate the position you're applying for, what your qualifications are, and what you can contribute to the company and where you found the advertisement. Cite any relevant job numbers noted in the advertisement. Send the resume and cover letter in one file. You can do this by writing or pasting your cover letter in the space before your resume. Use the job title and/or job reference number as the subject of your message.

Run Spell Check: Errors in any type of written correspondence reflect poorly on your skills. Don't let the seeming informality of the electronic resume allow you to omit this key step. But don't let your faith in technology make you complacent, either; spell checkers give all sorts of mistakes the green light. After you do the spell check, proofread it the old-fashioned way several times. Then get a friend to do it again.

Be the First Recipient of your E-Resume: E-mail your resume to yourself, because you'd much rather it be you who catches technical problems and errors and not a recruiter. Make sure the text looks right on the screen and prints out correctly. You might also try e-mailing yourself at different accounts. E-mail accounts have different ways of reading things, and you don't want to take any chances that when it reaches the recruiter's account it will look messy.

The Final Word: Keep a backup. Save a copy of your resume on a disk and on your hard drive so you don't lose it. Also make hard copies on good paper stock. When you get past the inbox and receive an interview call, do not forget to take a paper copy of your resume.

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