News Groups and Discussion Forums

Talking to people you know, meet and are referred to is the best way to find work not advertised. And that is 85% of the work out there! You can network electronically, too, by meeting people in cyberspace via newsgroups and discussion forums.

Use email and online chats to participate in these focus groups. Before you send a message, read what others are saying to get a feel for what’s going on. When you feel comfortable in doing so, post your message, remembering to be courteous and professional in what you say and how you say it.

Electronic Portfolios

If you have the right equipment, you can use a scanner to scan your documents right into your computer program. By carefully selecting relevant and recent examples, you can create mini-portfolios or portfolio-resume hybrids that you can copy onto memory sticks to leave with selected employers. So the file cannot be altered; it’s best to make the data file “read-only.”.

For fields such as performing arts or education, you may wish to consider the option of providing prospective employers with a video demonstration of yourself in action. A potentially powerful job search tool, video demonstration requires a considerable amount of time to prepare, and equipment may be costly and difficult to obtain.

Online Resumes and Electronic Job Matching

Do you know that you can build a resume right on particular career sites? These sites may also provide you with an opportunity to display your resume or even send it directly to employers who post jobs on the site. Though this sounds like it’s the answer to your work search efforts, there are several points to consider before you post your resume on the web.

Unless you are in a high-tech field, jobs posted on the internet are also often advertised in newspapers. In other words, this is not the 85% hidden job market you had hoped. Jobs posted on the Internet are still part of the 15% of advertised openings.

Anyone in the world can access your information, so be careful about posting your personal contact information. You would be wise to use only sites that keep personal information confidential until approved by you for release to individual inquirers.

Emailing Resumes and Cover Letters

Remember, when faxing your resume to employers was a brand new strategy? Now faxing has become almost a standard way to apply. Because the receiver’s fax may not produce a clean, bright copy, it is still wise to follow up on your fax or email with a crisp text straight from your printer.

Today the new strategy is the emailed resume. There are several instances when you may want to email your resume.

– When an advertised opening lists an email address.

= When a company you have targeted has a homepage and an email address.

– When you acquired someone’s email address through networking.

– When you are applying to work in a high-tech field.

Determine in advance the file format you need to send When emailing your resume and cover letter.

You can send your resume and cover letter as an attachment in WORD. Still, I would never recommend this, as WORD has a nasty way of converting incorrectly in different versions of WORD and on various operating systems.

PDF is the “only” universally consistent file format that appears the same on all platforms and operating systems. Only email a PDF of your resume. Only email WORD (.docx) files as a last resort. Generally, everyone accepts PDF files.

Some websites will only accept your resume and cover letter in plain text (ASCII) format. You will lose all the fonts and page styling in the document because all the formatting codes in WORD have been stripped out of this file format to allow the HR web bots to scan efficiently and analyze your resume submission.

A third way to send it is part of the email message where you can copy and paste your word-processed document right into the e-mail message.

Another method of sending your email is to scan and save your printed resume and cover letter in PDF format. However, the recipient can only view your e-mail in Acrobat Reader, which has now become a standard on desktop platforms. Documents formatted in PDF perfectly retains all the styling, fonts and images of the original when printed or emailed.
In all cases, follow up by calling the company to make sure your resume was received.

Electronic Resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems

There are times when your resume needs to be compliant with electronic resume tracking systems. Larger and smaller corporations using third parties resume handlers such as Resumix and ProHunt are increasingly turning to this method of recruitment and selection because once installed, the system saves them an incredible amount of time.

An electronic resume tracking system allows an operator to scan your resume for storage into a company’s resume databank. In some cases, emailed resumes go directly to this bank. Your resume is retrieved when keywords that describe the qualifications the company wants for a position match keywords on your resume.

From your point of view, you must do two things to ensure your resume is retrieved if you have the appropriate qualifications.

Send your resume in PDF, use WORD as a last resort in the event PDF is not accepted, or raw ASCII text format when posting on web pages or into the body of emails.

Use keywords in noun form. The vocabulary used in the applicant tracking system is in noun form.

Tips For Plain Text Format

Some of these tips do not apply to all scanners and Application Tracking System (ATS), but unless you know the specific requirements of an employer’s system, play it safe and follow them.

  • Use a sans serif (no cross-lines) font such as Universe or Helvetica.
  • Use preferably 11 – 12 point base font and nothing smaller than 10.
  • Avoid underlining text, scrunching text, italics, boxes, and shading.
  • Do not use colour in your resume and cover letter
  • Avoid underlining text, scrunching text, italics, boxes, and shading.
  • Use only your name as the first line of the resume.
  • Print extra copies using high-quality paper to bring to the interview in case more show up

Tips For Key Word Resumes

You can incorporate keyword nouns in the body of your resume or write a keyword summary. If you use a keyword summary:

Start with an overview that focuses on your job target.

Use keyword nouns to describe your qualifications. Start with a field of work.

Place the most important and most relevant information first.
Use the body of the resume to support the keyword summary.
Use industry jargon and abbreviations.

State your qualifications in as many different ways as you can think of, varying terms in summary and the body of the resume.

Video Resumes

A video resume is similar to a job interview. The job seeker introduces himself on camera, summarizes his background, sells his skills and thanks to the employer for his time. As not all employers have the time or the technology to this approach, it is an option rather than your only strategy. Further, in the video format, the reader is not able to control the speed and review of your profile as they have with a paper copy. So for many reasons, I would never recommend submitting a video resume.


If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, don’t despair. You do not need to use all the tools and strategies mentioned here. Start with one and try it out. Then, as you get more confident with it, try another one.

In a self-managed career, it is essential to be aware of the electronic tools and strategies available to you and used by an increasing number of companies and work searchers like you. Using these resources can give you an edge. Employers are always impressed by resourceful, innovative workers who demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning and development by staying current. Remember, in a job search – the product is you!

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