10 Commandments of Resumes - # 2Jan 4, 2015In this series, I'm discussing the 10 greatest tips I've learned through my work with job seekers. Yesterday, I shared with you the basics of understanding Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and why using headers on your resume is not a good idea.
Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Not Use Tables
Today, the topic is tables. We love to use tables to align multiple columns on our resumes. After all, they help create multiple columns for those all-important key words. And they help align the Employer Name and Employment Dates. But beware! Many Applicant Tracking Systems strip out this information because they are not programmed to interpret tables. Just like yesterday's topic on headers, any information contained in tables is likely to be lost.
Sadly, there are few alternatives beyond simply tabbing and spacing. Here are a few tips for the most significant sections of your resume:
1. Name and contact section at top of first page. Simply type your name (all caps in a larger font, and bolded) on the left margin of the first line. Then press the Tab key as many times as needed to reach approximately 11 spaces to the right margin. Enter your phone number. Since it is no longer recommended that you include your home address, the second line can contain your email address and LinkedIn URL. To see an example of a header, click HERE.
2. Key Words. It can be very frustrating to organize your key words area. I most prefer to use the bullet symbol (without the bullet functionality) by inserting it into the text. To do this, click on the Insert tab in MSWord. Then select Symbol, and using the drop down arrow, locate and select the bullet. Finally, paste is at the left margin of the Key Word line. Enter one space and your first Key Word. Simply copy the bullet from the first Key Word, tab to your next preferred location, paste and enter your next Key Word. Continue across the line, entering no more than 3 columns. You can then continue for 2 or 3 more lines. To see an example, click HERE.
3. EMPLOYER NAME, City, State and Years of Employment. Again, by simply typing the Employer's name (bold and all caps), a comma, City, ST beginning at the left margin, tabbing and spacing across to approximately 11 spaces before the right margin and entering the years of service (2008 - Present). There is much discussion over the use of months on a resume. I'll leave that to another time. Use your preference.
So, there you have it. A few simple tips to avoid using tables on your resume and ensuring the data gets read by the ATS!
Next up, resume length.
For more information on formatting for ATS, click HERE