Well it seems that I have to change one of my most cherished procedures and pieces of advice – at least most of the time.
I have learned that resume viewing algorithms don’t like PDF’s, and find it challenging to parse content in that format. Sigh. What does this mean for my clients?
First, it means that you should be sending your resume as a Word doc, instead of a PDF. For me it means I will be adjusting the format of the resumes I send, so that they do not change once emailed.
For people who are applying to business, sales, office or tech jobs, 90% of which are sorted by computer algorithms – not too much is different. It simply means using a straightforward font like Arial which is not fooled around with by emailing.
For people looking for work in production, who are emailing their resumes directly to individuals as a result of referrals (network, network, network!), you can still use some prettier fonts to help your resume stand out from the crowd a little. BUT if you are applying to a studio or larger production company, chances are they will be using an HR consultancy that uses one of these algorithms. So until those get more sophisticated, from now on I will be using Arial for all the resumes I send you, and I encourage you to double check all formatting before emailing, especially if you make changes to the content. I already create your letterheads as part of the content on each page (not inside the Header – which apparently reads as blank to the machines).
The other important piece of information that I have learned is that these algorithms apparently “don’t like columns”. I want to reassure my clients that despite the appearance of your resumes, I don’t use Columns to format your credits – I keep it simpler with Tabs and spacing, so the algorithms, which read Left to Right just like English speakers, should still be able to read the words in a sensible manner – although again people hiring for production jobs are less likely to be using a computer.
The other tip I learned recently is that these same algorithms don’t like accents – so I am officially changing all my future use of résumé to resume. Ah well, life is better when it is simpler.