Electronic Resumes

Part of The Alchemist's Lair Web Site
Maintained by Harry E. Pence, Professor of Chemistry, SUNY Oneonta, for the use of his students. Any opinions are totally coincidental and have no officia l endorsement, including the people who sign my pay checks. Comments and suggestions are welcome (pencehe@oneonta.edu).

Return to Chemistry Careers Page

Last Revised Mar. 3, 2000.

Electronic Resumes

More and more major companies are using electronic resumes in one form or another. This means that you need to make some significant changes in the way that your write and send resumes, but it also means that you may have access to employment opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. If you follow a few simple rules when you are preparing your resume, you can obtain the maximum benefits with only a small increase in the effort which you must expend.

There are three different ways in which you may encounter electronic resumes.

Formating for a Scannable Paper Resume.

You must make the resume as clearly readable as possible, or the scanning process may not read the information correctly.

Suggestions to Provide Key Words for Scanning

These suggestions apply to all three types of electronic resumes.

Try to write your resume to maximize the possibility that the words in your resume will match as many potential search terms as possible. It is helpful to read print advertisemen ts for positions similar to those which you are looking for to identify the key words that are most likely to be used.

The following comments are organized in terms of the headings in a typical resume.

As a student, you are probably looking for an entry-level position, that might involve quality control or research. Other options might be sales, instrument development, etc.

Be sure to include the degree designation, BS, PhD, etc. as well as any special licenses, awards, honors, such as an ACS certified degree. Some employers will search specifically for that latter qualification.

Employment History
Make sure the list of jobs is in chronological order, with beginning and ending dates. Where you held some title or played some special role, include words such as supervisor, supervised, quality control, or promoted, to show this.

Special job-related training
Any undergraduate research or independe nt study that you have done should be mentioned here. If you have taken a course that has an unusual title, be sure to include an explanation. For example, when listing the Environmental Health Chemistry course at SUNY Oneonta, be sure to mention that it has a large component of toxicology.

Scientific Methods and Equipment Used
Acronyms and abbreviations common to your profession are acceptable, but it is probably helpful to make sure that the information is available in more than one f orm. For example, although infrared spectroscopy is the standard phrase, you should also be sure to include ir, FTIR, FT-IR, infra-red, and spectrophotometry to insure that you will get a match no matter how the term is entered.

Computer and Foreign Language Skills
Many companies are international, so foreign language skills may be very valuable. State the level of experience, that is, native speaker of Spanish, intermediate level skills in FORTRAN, experienced user of WordPerfect 6.0 for the Macintosh.

Professional Associations
i.e. Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society or the American Physical Society.

Personal Qualifications (or Strengths)
Use adjectives, like dependable, conscientious, innovative, creative, persistent, etc. if they are justified by your previous work.

Extracurricular Activities
Many interviewers use questions about your spare time activities as an ice breaker at the interview. If you say that you love deep sea fishing, be prepared to talk about that topic.

Submitting Resumes by E-mail

When you read or write e-mail, you are probably using what is called ASCII text, that is, a very simple text language that has relatively limited options for text choices or formatting. Because ASCII is so widely used, it should be relatively easy to paste your resume into an e-mail mess age.

Writing ASCII text is easy. Just use your favorite word processor (WORD, WordPerfect, etc.) and when you are ready to save the final product, go to the save as command on the menu bar (usually found under the file header). Choose save as TEXT, RTF format, or some similar version that will remove most of the formatting commands used by your word processor. Your computer may also have a simple text program, like SimpleText, that will write directly (and only) in ASCII.

Many features that you are accustomed to in the word processor do not have ASCII equivalents, such as special characters, and many mathematical symbols. Use the space bar instead of the Tab key for indenting and formatting. Word processor programs will automatically wrap a line to the next line when the current line is filled. This may be lost in ASCII. If your word processor offers the option of converting soft returns to hard returns, use it.

Web Sites that Accept Electronic Resumes

CareerMosaic not only allows you to post your resume but also provides further information about how to develop a scannable resume. The resumes are not, however, limited to prospective employers but are open to anyone who uses the internet. Be sure to record your ID# when you post your resume, so that you can delete the resume when you wish.

Another on-line employment service that offers considerable support in developing your resume is Monster.com. It even has an resume builder option that asks a series of questions and builds your on-line resume. Of course, the resulting document is limited to companies that request information from Monster.

The Internet Online Career Center is a good general purpose employment site, that also allows you to post an Online Career Center electronic resume for free.

You may find further sites that accept electronic resumes (in addition to a great deal of extraneous material) if you point your favorite search engine at the term electronic resumes.

Return to Chemistry Careers Page Table of Contents

Return to The Alchemist's Lair Web Site

You are the visitor to the Alchemist's Lair site since Jan. 10,1997.
Send Comments to Harry Pence, Chemistry Dept. , SUNY Oneonta PENCEHE@ONEONTA.EDU