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Joined: March 24, 2012  (email not validated)
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The language nerd in me is absolutely delighted by this thread, which explains why I read 8 years' worth of posts on a Saturday night. Thanks all, by the way, for the respect with which so many of you treat language (English AND French).

May I share a few observations and recommendations for those currently in or soon to embark on a job search?

>> Packaging your resume as a PDF may help ensure that the document will view (fairly) accurately in Adobe Reader (though this is not always the case; I have observed inaccurate PDFs), but in this day and age your resume is most frequently scanned and analyzed into a database before a human ever sees it. And therein lies the problem.

>> These databases are called Applicant Tracking Systems - employers and recruiters use them to organize, store, and screen resumes because they are inundated by incoming documents and need a way to automate the screening process. Employers are also concerned about being able to defend themselves against potential discrimination charges; these systems help them to treat incoming resumes in consistent ways.

>> When you upload your resume into one of these systems as a Word document or a PDF file, there is NO guarantee that accent marks will "translate" correctly. Many of these datasbases struggle to interpret any non-letter characters such as accent markets, hypens, bullets, lines, and even question marks; this is why non-ASCII text files arrive at the employer's or recruiter's desk looking like gibberish.

>> Hence, I would only recommend uploading your resume to job board, employer, and recruiter websites in ASCII text format (save your Word and PDF formats for faxing, snail mailing, hand delivering, and emailing, as appropriate). I would also suggest omitting accent marks unless there is a way to translate them into ASCII text and guarantee recognition by all applicant tracking systems. Doesn't mean you can't use them in your Word or PDF formats, if you prefer that approach.

Hope these small details help one or more readers of this thread to land their next job much faster than the US average (12 months as of this writing).

ExecutiveResumeWriter March 24, 2012, 10:19pm

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