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Posting résumés on-line

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One of the fastest ways to submit your résumé to a recruiter or potential employer is through an on-line résumé bank. Some private companies or hospital systems offer their own bank. You can also use a site such as CareerBuilder (http://www.careerbuilders.com) or MedCareers (http://www.medcareers.com) to get your résumé into an employer's electronic hands. Knowing how these résumé banks work and how to successfully deposit yours into them can greatly expedite your job search.

Filling in the E-form

Once at a résumé bank site, you'll be asked to fill out an electronic form (E-form). Most sites' E-forms have predictable questions about your address, contact information, and so on. Answers to other questions may be required or optional.

Required questions typically are marked by asterisks, stars, or other symbols, accompanied by instructions about how to fill them in. If you don't answer them, you'll get an error message and you'll have to go back and fill them in.

Fill in optional answers unless you have a particular reason not to; your answer might be just the information that a recruiter's searching for. For example, your answer to “Where did you learn about this job opening?” could produce a code for that career fair you attended, which would be the easiest way for the career fair recruiter to find you in the database.

A few résumé banks limit the number of characters and spaces you can have in a field. Look for a warning in small print just above the field where you're to enter the info. (Tip: Type your response in MS Word, then use the Tools/Word Count feature to verify how many characters and spaces you used. Edit your copy to the right length, then copy and paste it into the field on the Web site.)

Most database systems will allow (and may require) you to select one or more jobs to apply for. Although you'll want to select “nursing” as a category and indicate such basics as whether you want full-time or part-time work, don't limit your op-tions by selecting only one job; you can increase the chances of your résumé being seen by selecting more than one job from the menu (for example, you might choose “nursing” and “health educator”).

Getting your résumé ready

Almost all the sites have the copy-and-paste option for getting your résumé on-line. Some let you build your résumé right on the Web site; however, this has some downsides. For example, most on-line résumé builders are programmed to create chronologic résumés, a format that focuses on work history. At those sites, you're out of luck if you want to build a functional résumé that focuses on skills.

Overall, the best way to post your résumé on-line is to copy and paste it from your word-processing program into the E-form. Most sites have a field called “résumé” or “body of résumé” where you can paste yours. For the best results, transform your résumé into a Text-Only or Notepad file before you copy and paste it.

Preparing your résumé for posting

Converting your résumé into a Text-Only or Notepad file will strip out any fancy formatting. That lets you see what it will look like on-line so you can adjust the layout and display before submitting it. All this involves is saving your résumé with a new name in a new format—Text-Only or Notepad. If you're working in MS Word 2000, follow these steps:

  1. Save your résumé as a Text-Only document: Click File/Save on your tool bar at the top of your screen; a new smaller screen will appear. At the bottom of that new screen are two boxes: In the File Name box, type in the new name for this document, such as “ResTextOnly”; in the Save as Type box, choose the “Text Only (*.txt)” option. Click Save. To check your work, close the document, go to File/Open on the tool bar, and click on the name of the new file you just created to open it so you can review it.
  2. To save your résumé as a Notepad file: Right click on your Text-Only file, scroll down to Open With, and select Notepad. When you're finished reviewing it, click Save As and rename the file something like “ResNotepad.txt”; you're now ready to make a few final adjustments to your Text-Only or Notepad file before you post it on-line.
  3. Check keywords. Using the right keywords in your résumé will help people find it—and you. Be sure to include ones that define your job qualifications. For example, you might include your:
    • clinical practice areas (for example, critical care, obstetrics/gynecology)
    • management experience and skills (for example, nurse-manager)
    • specialty certification (for example, CCRN)
    • education (for example, BSN)
    • location
    • employment history.
  4. Make your résumé appear as one continuous electronic document. If your résumé is more than one page, delete any indications of page breaks, such as “Page 1 of 2,” “continued,” or your name or header on page 2.
  5. Use all caps for emphasis. Because Text-Only and Notepad files are stripped of bold, italic, and underline features, use all capital letters to draw attention to important words, phrases, and headings. For the best overall effect, use this style sparingly and judiciously.
  6. Use standard keyboard symbols for items in a list, rather than bullets. Special symbols such as bullets, arrows, triangles, and check marks don't transfer well electronically. Instead, use standard keyboard symbols, such as dashes (−), plus signs (+), asterisks (*), or double asterisks (**).
  7. Use spacing effectively. Let the lines wrap naturally; don't force a return at the end of lines unless it's the end of the statement. Don't use tabs or spaces to indent the second line of a statement.
  8. Rearrange text if necessary. Review your document line by line to eliminate odd-looking line wraps, extra spaces, or words scrunched together in the body. Fixing problems may require inserting commas between items that were once in columns and are now in paragraph format because tabs and tables disappeared when you converted the document to Text-Only or Notepad.

Copying and pasting

Once you've prepared your résumé, post it on-line. This couldn't be easier: Simply copy the text from your Text-Only or Notepad document and paste it into the appropriate field on the résumé Web site.

Previewing your results

Almost all résumé Web sites have a Preview option that lets you view your résumé as it will appear on the recruiter's screen. By all means, choose this option. After you've clicked the Preview button, your entire E-form, including the résumé you copied and pasted, will appear. Proofread it carefully and examine the formatting. If you see anything you want to change, click the Edit button and fix the error. Preview and edit as many times as necessary. When you're satisfied, click Submit or Send to get your résumé on its way.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.