Not Your Father’s Resume … Helping Your Clients With a 21st Century Job Search

Thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to send a resume. Unfortunately – and also thanks to modern technology – it can be harder than ever to guarantee that a resume will even be seen by a potential employer. Creating resumes that get results is a completely different ballgame in this computer age, and today we’ll share some of the major reasons why.

In the 80s, my mother worked at a state employment agency. Her job was to help dislocated workers find a new job by preparing their resumes. She sat at her government-issue typewriter and pounded out objectives, work histories, education levels … hoping against hope that she wouldn’t make a “typo.” (This was a low-budget agency, and Wite-Out® was scarce.)

Boy, how times have changed! In the short span of 20 years, we went from typewriters … to word processors … to laptop PCs. You can now take your computer out of your backpack and connect to the World Wide Web through a Wi-Fi hotspot at your favorite coffeehouse.

Job seekers (your potential clients) can search online for jobs in their desired profession and geographic location, and prepare an e-resume (with the “delete” key making Wite-Out® a thing of the past). They can then send it to employers through their Web-based application system – or upload it to® so thousands of prospective employers can see it.

In 1986, when I first started in this business, I landed a job in the personnel department of a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company. My job was to prescreen all of the resumes submitted, passing on those making the cut to the recruiters, and “filing” the unfortunate ones that did not. During my tenure, I was inundated daily with hundreds – even thousands – of pieces of paper. The resumes ran the gamut – from one-pagers from new college grads … to six- or even 10-pagers from double PhDs. Not to mention the cover letters, reference sheets, lists of publications. In short, I was drowning in paper!

Well, that company no longer accepts paper resumes. Those sent by “snail mail” are not even looked at! The only way for a candidate to apply – from a mailroom clerk to a Senior Bio-Chemist in charge of an entire lab – is through the company’s online application system.

And it’s not just major corporations that are requiring online resume submissions. One of my clients – a small construction firm – recruits project managers, estimators, and superintendents from all over the country. Paper resumes? Hardly. They work solely through the Web – relying almost exclusively on a major online job-search service.

As the method of submitting resumes has evolved, so has the style and look of a resume. A simple “Objective” at the top under the Contact Information might have been fine in the past (although I used to cringe at – and promptly discard – those seemingly endless resumes with Objectives such as “Seeking a challenging position at a good company, with room to grow in my career …”).

These days, however, the “old style” resume doesn’t get a lot of attention – if any at all. And that means candidates submitting these resumes are not likely to make it to the interview phase of their job search.

The reason? Most resumes are evaluated by the “eyes” of a computer. And those deemed unsuitable for the position, are eliminated from the candidate pool – long before a “human” ever even sees it! According to experts in the resume-writing industry, over 80% of resumes are searched for “keywords” that are job-specific.

As a professional resume writer, it is therefore essential for you to become familiar with the primary “keywords” for a variety of industries.

There are several resources – both in print and online – on the subject of keywords and electronic resume submissions. Also, the newest edition of our resume writer’s course, The New and Expanded Lazy Writers Quick & Easy Money Program covers, in detail, the steps necessary to ensure that you are writing resumes in sync with the 21st century.

The new technologies may be daunting at first. But after a bit of practice, you will be able to work easily in an increasingly “paperless” world.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: January 25, 2006

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