Whilst sifting through my inbox this morning, i discovered an email from my boss containing a great blog post by Craig Fisher on CV formatting, which I have to share with you.
The blog hit on many issues surrounding CV formatting, and while I nodded along thinking, "exactly! too right!" I realised that my ability to agree and relate was probably to do with sitting on the other side of the fence. I assistjobseekers, but i'm not one. I know that fancy formatting, image rich files, PDFs etc. are not ideal for sending your CV to a recruiter, but this is because I know which files FreeMyCV.com does and doesn't accept- and why. You guys on the other hand, probably don't...
The main points from Craig's blog which you need to know are as follows:
"when you forward your resume to a recruiter, they often have to copy and paste it into a new format that follows their protocol before they forward it on to the hiring manager"
With FreeMyCV.com- We only let you upload your CV in .rtf or .doc/.docx- This is because the recruiters we work with only accept these file formats. They have particular protocols for viewing CV's and these formats are best. Other recruiters may take your CV in a different format, like a PDF, but that doesn't mean it will stay like that. If a recruiter needs to strip your CV out of its file format, they will, and probably won't ever tell you it happened.
"Resumes that are heavily formatted with tables and graphics don't translate very well when they are pasted into a new document. Your best bet is to use the 97-2003 version MS Word (not my favorite either), minimizing tables and graphics."
Craig is totally right here. The older version of Microsoft Word, is the best format for me to see your CV in, and a lot of recruiters will agree. Sending your CV in a new version of Word might be incompatible with some recruiters' old Office packages- so either a .doc or a rich text format will enable absolute maximum exposure of your CV to the majority of recruiters.
"The information in the resume is far more important than a flashy style."
Although your CV might look visually impressive- nice fonts, well presented tables, image rich with jpegs of previous projects (if you are in a visual field, you may desperately want to show off your handywork) but looks aren't everything!! And in fact, just like your mother would tell you that personality is more important than looks- the same is true in recruitment; content is king, and a well written CV with important information regarding your skills and achievements, is 100 times more useful to a recruiter than knowing you can pick a lovely border. If you do have design work to show off, then let the recruiter know that these are available on request within your CV.
"Many resume writing services encourage fancy formatting to 'set you apart'"
CV writing services often produce your CV in a PDF, and will have put a lot of thought into how your CV looks visually. There's nothing wrong with this, and it's great to have your CV looking its best- for individual companies or for taking with you to interviews, this is great. But for CV databases and recruitment agencies- the plainer the better. So ask your CV writer to produce you a version of your CV in html or a rich text version as well, to keep everyone happy!
"Many systems still don't translate .PDF resumes well or at all"
People send me PDFs over email all the time, and while some recruiters do accept them, a LOT don't. And we don't. If someone sends a PDF, I have to tell these users that if they cannot save it in an alternative format, I will have to transfer it to a Word document- and while I might make amendments so that your CVdoesn 't look terrible when it's transferred from doc to doc- some recruiters won't take the same care and attention- and if it is in a format they cannot even open- they might not even have the time to come back to you and let you know. Awful I know, but it might just be true.
"Some candidates will complain that they don't want their resume altered in any way. All I can say to that is that these candidates also don't want a job very badly."
A bold statement by Craig here- but I have to agree with the sentiment. For all those candidates that don't want to compromise the look and feel of their CV format, there are a lot of candidates that will- and they will be the ones getting hired.
Another point worth mentioning is file size- clogging up a recruiters email client while they are trying to download your 1000 KB message is really frustrating- so check your file size. If it is huge, zip the file, and keep the recruiter on your side!
Happy Job Hunting
Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net