Recently Tom (not his real name!) sent me his resume to get my opinion and to network. Tom has a nice background with many accomplishments and a good educational background. But the resume was formatted in a way that made it very hard for me to read.
I asked Tom if he was getting any traction with that resume. “Sure, I am getting a lot of responses. In fact I have an interview tomorrow.”
Mmmmmm….. This surprised me. It goes against everything I teach about formatting resumes. So I asked a few more questions. Turns out Tom, a lab technician, is getting a very good response with that resume when he applies for jobs online. His job is more likely to be successful through advertisements than other kinds of jobs.
Tom said he used to have nicely formatted resume that was more attractive to the eyes. He was frustrated at the very few responses he got. One day he got a call from an HR person who liked his background but there was a problem. His pretty resume was stuck in the mysterious inner workings of the software behind the ad. Would he be so kind to remove all formatting and resubmit his resume so they could consider him for this position?
Wow! This shocked me on so many levels.
An HR person called him directly? That doesn’t happen very often these days. Most important, they wanted to see a different kind of resume!
Tom revised his resume immediately to remove all formatting. He started getting all kinds of responses to his background. Now he has a different problem – how to interview better. But that is not the point.
By removing all formatting Tom can apply for online jobs more successfully. However he uses that unformatted resume for all purposes – that is a problem.