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Publications > Dateline Houston > December 2002 > Feature Article


Volume 42, Issue 4

December 2002

Book Review
eResumes: Everything You Need to Know About Using Electronic Resumes to Tap into Today’s Hot Job Market

by Jeff Staples, Information Developer

Susan Britton Whitcomb and Pat Kendall. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. [ISBN 0-07-136399-8. 225 pages, including indexes. $11.95 (softcover)].

Should I use PDF, RTF, or maybe ASCII for creating my e-resume? Do I want to provide specific contact information or do I want my e-resume to convey little contact-related information? These decisions and many others—such as the right keywords to use—are addressed in eResumes. The descriptive subtitle says it all: “Everything you need to know about using electronic resumes.”

This book provides something for all e-resume developers. If you don’t have an electronic resume, you should be able to find out all you need to know to create one. If you have provided your resumes to prospects via the Internet for some time, you might discover items in this book that you haven’t considered before, such as privacy concerns, or find ideas for updating the look of your e-resume with the large array of example resumes.

The authors have included a host of resources for the e-resume developer, including effective writing strategies, visual aids, and effective design templates. Start with the Preface for a quick overview of the book. There, you find a brief synopsis of each chapter and its focus.

Chapter 1 provides interesting information on various types of electronic resumes. However, much of the chapter focuses on why you should take your resume online. Most people in today’s job market probably will not need convincing on the value of providing their resume to the wider market that the Internet can offer.

Chapter 2 focuses on keywords and the value that they add to an e-resume, which will probably be searched rather than read. You learn that today a computer will probably be scanning your resume searching for keywords to decide whether you are a match for the position available. The authors coin a new definition for ROI and consider it “the secret to writing a winning eResume” (page 33). It’s important to be familiar with keywords in your particular industry, and the chapter offers a list of keywords that recruiters say they typically look for and a number of resources for finding applicable keywords.

Chapter 3 covers ASCII e-resumes. You learn coding for ASCII characters and see examples of what can go wrong when characters are used incorrectly. There is a great discussion on formatting resumes to be inserted in e-mail messages and in e-forms on job-search Web sites.

If you have covered Chapter 3, then you have created an ASCII resume. Chapters 4 and 5 take you through the process of submitting your ASCII resume into an e-form and attaching it
to an e-mail message. An important point of the chapter is to use the universal language—plain text—when submitting your e-resume via email and the Internet. Plain text may not be pretty, but it will deliver something that is understandable to the recipient. And don’t forget the cover letter, or you run the risk of being regarded as “a bit clueless.”

Chapter 6 is basically for supplemental reading unless you are unsure of the value inherent in an electronic resume or portfolio. However, it does provide information on the differences between the Web resume and a portfolio. There are good examples on how to enhance the look of a web-based resume.

Chapter 7 conveys options for getting external help in creating your e-resume. No, you do not have to go it alone. Details are provided on various options, such as hiring a professional web page designer and using Microsoft Word’s Save as Web Page option.

In Chapter 8, the focus is on the effectiveness of your e-resume. Many items that you focus on in your printed resume, such as typography and capturing an employer’s attention, hold true for electronic resumes as well. In addition, with an online resume, you can consider features such as graphics and color. Good examples of resumes demonstrate before-and-after effects on e-resumes that use the techniques the authors recommend.

In contrast to Chapter 7 and its options for external help, Chapter 9 is for the do-it-yourself individual. The focus is on creating your own e-resume by working directly with the HTML code. You get a brief overview of the basics of HTML and a reference to resources that offer additional information.

Chapter 10 is a must read, even for the seasoned e-resume developer. Here, you find a discussion of privacy issues associated with posting and distributing e-resumes. In addition, several examples convey how much or how little you want your resume to reveal. But the information does not stop there. Now that you have created your electronic resume, where do you send it? This chapter provides several suggestions on where to post your resume, including career, recreation, and resume-distribution web sites.

The authors have assembled information that covers a multitude of items related to the creation and distribution of e-resumes. This book should serve both as a great starting point to compile or enhance your electronic resume and a great reference in your technical communication library.


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