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Web resumes a way to get noticed

But they can be as much a blessing as a bane for recruiters

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Electronic resumes can be as much a blessing as they are a curse for recruiters.

They are a convenient way to review job candidates. But electronic resumes can become a nightmare when they don't match the open position or, worse, become a text mess when opened with the wrong computer program.

With just the click of a key, a job-seeker can send out hundreds of e-mails to companies — who may or may not be hiring.

"It's almost like spam," said Joseph E. Sutton, chief technology officer for Goliath Software Internet Applications, based in Fresno, Calif.

He's not alone. ResumeDoctor.com recently surveyed more than 5,000 recruiters and hiring managers in the United States and Canada. About 71 percent of the respondents said the resumes submitted did not match the job description. More than a third of the respondents said the job-seekers didn't follow the submission directions.

Online job-search engines make it easy for recruiters and businesses to cast a wide net for potential employees. But that almost guarantees a larger pool of candidates who may or may not have the required skills and experience.

"Unqualified get weeded out quickly," said Ruby Torres, branch operating manager at ProStaff, a personnel services firm in Modesto, Calif.

She advocates personal contact as the best way to get noticed. Torres tells her clients to use faxes or hand-deliver resumes, then follow up with a phone call.

An electronic resume gives the employer a means to search a resume for key words. That can be a hazard for someone who doesn't use the terms the company is looking for, she said.

"You often overlook someone, because you're pulling out only what you're looking for," Torres said.

Many times a resume is deleted simply because the employer doesn't have the software to open the file. Complicated graphics might look good on a hard copy, but might come out distorted when the file is opened.

Brenda Arnold, division director for OfficeTeam, a staffing service in Modesto, recommends keeping resumes simple and using Microsoft Word — which most companies use.

"I think the basic formatting is important, but what's included in the resume is what's going to get attention," Arnold said.

Still, Arnold prefers e-mails because they are more convenient. OfficeTeam has its own resume builder on its Web site, which provides uniform information. Some job candidates don't follow directions or leave some questions unanswered, though.

The biggest advantage to using an electronic resume, personnel managers agree, is that they are simply easier to circulate throughout a company.

"You don't have to print out copies," said Michael Franzia, human resource manager at Bronco Winery. "We can just e-mail copies to the hiring manager. It's more expedient."