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Online Resume Secrets Revealed Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Workopolis.com Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit www.CareerActivist.com.

You Too Can Be At The Front Of The Line - But That Still Doesn't Guarantee Much

Posting your resume to internet job boards is all the rage. The idea has incredible appeal: You upload your resume or fill in a form on a website like Monster or Workopolis; employers come searching for you en masse; and soon you're being invited to an embarrassment of interviews.

Of course, it rarely works this easily. But if you do choose to post your resume on job sites, you should know how recruiters and employers use the system.

According to some helpful recruiter friends of mine, here's how the process goes,. Assume for a moment you're a headhunter. An employer has asked you to find them, say, an experienced finance manager for their office in Toronto.

You'd start your search by logging in to your private account on one of the job banks to which you have a paid subscription. The big five Canadian sites are as follows: Workopolis.ca (which claims to have 1.9 million resumes to view), Monster.ca (more than 1.5 million registered job seekers, plus 50,000 more every month), followed by CareerClick.com, JobShark.ca and HotJobs.ca, each with over half a million resumes on file.

From past experience, you know there'll be tons of candidates to choose from. Especially these days, with employment growth is stalled as it is. So you click on the section titled 'Search For Resumes.' This is where you begin to narrow things down. You select a number of specific criteria. Like highest level of education achieved. Willingness of the candidate to relocate. City or postal code in which the applicant lives. And their most recent job title.

Still, you end up with too many resumes to manage. That's when you go to the next level. First you select only those resumes that have been updated in the last three days. No sense dealing with laggards. Then comes the piece de resistance -- you input a couple of choice 'key words' that winnow the field even more.

Since you're looking for a finance manager, you might type in 'financ*', 'account*', and 'manage*.' These short form wild cards eliminate all resumes that don't contain the words finance, financing, financial, financed or related variations on the other two key words. Clever, eh?

Now let's get back to you, the job seeker. What can you do to maximize your chances of having your resume make the cyber-cut?

First, it almost goes without saying, post your resume where it's apt to be seen -- beginning with each of the big five job sites listed above. Well, make that 'big four,' actually. You see, JobShark is the only one to charge you for a searchable resume. $19.95 a year to be exact. Shame on them, because they also make their money from employers who pay to advertise positions on their site, as do the other job banks. So unless you believe 'the shark' is the only place recruiters and employers are looking (a dubious assumption), don't waste your precious lucre.

Another tip is to use a single resume instead of the five to ten versions these sites allow you to post. Don't try to flood the system by putting up ten slightly different editions of the same material. You'll be sighted in a minute and may get written off as desperate.

Here are some other basic tips:

-get your resume reviewed by an expert, or someone else you trust, to ensure that it's perfect -use a plaintext (.txt) version of your resume for uploads. See www.hotjobs.ca/htdocs/tools/resumes/HowtoCreateandEMailaPlainTextResume 20021114-1714-ca.html for more info.

-include a cover letter, where possible, that shows your enthusiasm and highlights your strengths -attach a Word version of your resume if the site allows you to, for greater visual appeal -don't forget to activate the feature that displays your resume to the subscribing employers Want to make it to the front of the line? Then there are two things you must do. One is to use plenty of relevant key words in your resume. For example, with a marketing position, you might want to include advertising, promotion, market, marketer, marketing, marketed, forecasting, product manager, consumer goods etc. Consider inserting a 'Key Word' section at the bottom of your resume if you think you haven't been exhaustive earlier.

The other thing to know is the order in which summoned resumes appear. They start with the most recently updated, then go alphabetically within that day. Hence, if you're absolutely serious about being seen, you'll need to go and revise your resume, on each site where you've posted, every single day. Fortunately this involves nothing more than signing in, opening your resume, adding a space, taking that same space out, then clicking 'revise' or 'submit.'

One last note is on the issue of privacy. A job bank's database is closed: only employers and recruiters who pay can access your resume. Having said that, no site can guarantee what happens to your data once it's viewed by a subscriber. And if you're already working but looking, you'll need to prevent your current employer from stumbling across your active resume. Make sure you read about how to make your resume 'private' or 'confidential' at each site, since policies differ. Additional advice on privacy is available at www.workopolis.com/servlet/Content/help/privacy/safety and http://resume.monster.ca/dosanddonts/personalinfo).

Once you've mastered the mechanics of posting online, you're on your way to being visible when it's time for hiring virtually. Keep in mind that this just one part of a comprehensive work search. The odds are still low of getting called by employers via this route. But by ignoring it, you pass by a chance to give an extra boost to your job hunting efforts. Doing right means you gain a competitive edge.

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