Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Resumes on Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice

Over the years, the large online job boards have worked hard to make it easy for job seekers to post their resumes on their websites. I recently experimented with resume posting on Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and Dice.com, each of which offers two options for submitting a resume:
1. Upload a Word document of your resume, or
2. Copy and paste the text of your resume into a window on the job board website.

It’s not clear from the instructions on the sites which option is best so I ran the following experiment.

First, I used MS Word to create a resume that contained all the formatting features I thought a job seeker might use in a resume:
- Horizontal lines as part of the heading
- Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings
- Tables with grids
- Underlined text
- Various symbols to start “bullet point” statements: arrows, numbers, hollow circles, check marks, diamond-like graphics, and regular bullet points.

Then I created the resume in different formats: MS Word versions 1997-2003 (.doc), MS Word version 2007 (.docx), PDF (.pdf), and Plain Text (.txt). Briefly, here’s how I created the Plain Text version of my resume.
1. I opened the MS Word version of my resume and saved it as Plain Text (exact directions for how to do this vary, based on the version of MS Word you’re working in).
2. I adjusted the text, removed extra spacing, and realigned columns as needed.
3. I replaced bullet points and other symbols with common keyboard characters such as the dash (-), plus sign (+), asterisk (*), and the end-bracket (>).

Following are the results of seven tests I conducted on Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice to see how each of my resume formats held up in each of these job board environments.

Test One: Upload resume as a Word document (.doc)
To upload the MS Word document, I used the job board’s browser to navigate through my hard drive and select the resume document I wanted to upload. Once the document was uploaded it appeared in a window on the job board website. Here’s how the elements in the resume transferred on each of the job board sites.

Monster
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – preserved
2. Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings – preserved
3. Table with grid – preserved
4. Underlined text – preserved
5. Arrow – turned into regular bullet point
6. Number - deleted
7. Hollow circle – turned into regular bullet point
8. Check mark – turned into regular bullet point
9. Diamond-like graphic– turned into regular bullet point
10. Regular bullet point - preserved

The formatting of the resume was skewed and I could not edit the text or formatting, almost as if it were a PDF or image file of some sort. The only way to make a change was to upload a new document to replace the first one.

Caerrebuilder
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – deleted
2. Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings - deleted
3. Table with grid – put in columns
4. Underlined text – deleted
5. Arrow - deleted
6. Number - deleted
7. Hollow circle – deleted
8. Check mark – deleted
9. Diamond-like graphic – deleted
10. Regular bullet point - deleted

The text looked like Plain text, and was editable within the same limitations of Plain Text.

Dice
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – preserved
2. Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings – preserved but spread apart so they looked too odd to use
3. Table with grid – preserved
4. Underlined text – preserved
5. Arrow - turned into bullet
6. Number – preserved but parenthesis was deleted
7. Hollow circle – turned into bullet
8. Check mark – turned into bullet
9. Diamond shape – turned into bullet
10. Regular bullet point – preserved except bullet in heading was turned into a weird symbol

As with Monster, the formatting of the resume was skewed and I could not edit the text or formatting, almost as if it were a PDF or image file. The only way to make a change was to upload a new document to replace the first one.

Test Two: Upload resume as a Word document (.docx)
For Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice: Same results as for .doc (Test One)

Test Three: Upload resume as a PDF
For Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice: There were no options to upload a PDF.

Test Four: Upload resume as a Plain Text document
The Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice browsers would not allow me to select a Plain Text document for upload.

Test Five: Copy and paste the Word .doc version of my resume
To copy and paste the resume document, I opened the resume document on my hard drive, and copied and pasted the entire text into the window on the job board websites. Here’s how the elements transferred in each of the job boards.

Monster
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – deleted
2. Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings – deleted
3. Table with grid – it put the contents of the table into appropriate columns but deleted the grid, and the table no longer functioned as a table. I could adjust text using the space and the backspace keys but I could not use the tab key.
4. Underlined text – preserved
5. Arrow – turned into a strange symbol a little like a stretched “equal” sign, which was not usable
6. Number - preserved
7. Hollow circle – preserved
8. Check mark – turned into a strange symbol a little like a stretched “equal” sign, which was not usable
9. Diamond-like shape – turned into a strange symbol a little like a stretched “equal” sign, which was not usable
10. Regular bullet point - preserved

The formatting of the resume was skewed, however I could easily edit both the text and formatting, using the backspace, space and return keys. I could also copy and paste from within the online document. For instance, I copied a bullet point from one statement and pasted it into another part of the online resume. Likewise, I copied one line from my .doc resume document on my hard drive and pasted it into the online window.

Careerbuilder
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – deleted
2. Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings - deleted
3. Table with grid – preserved the contents of each cell but deleted the grids and put spaces between the text that was previously in a cell. Could edit spacing by using the space and delete keys.
4. Arrow – turned into a square
5. Number - preserved
6. Hollow circle – preserved
7. Check mark – turned into a square
8. Diamond shape – turned into a square
9. Underline – deleted
10. Regular bullet point - preserved

The formatting and ability to edit was the same as for Monster (above).

Dice
1. Horizontal lines as part of heading – deleted
2. Lines Horizontal lines as upper and lower borders to section headings - deleted
3. Table with grid – scrambled
4. Arrow – turned into a square
5. Number - preserved
6. Hollow circle – preserved
7. Check mark – turned into a square
8. Diamond shape – turned into a square
9. Underline – deleted
10. Regular bullet point – preserved

The formatting and ability to edit was the same as for Monster (above).

Test Six: Copy and paste the Word .docx version of my resume
For Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice: Same results as for .doc (Test Five)

Test Seven: Copy and paste Plain Text
For Monster, Careerbuilder, and Dice: Everything transferred extremely well because the Plain Text version contained only symbols and formatting used by the online system. I needed to make small spacing adjustments but basically this was by far the easiest and most reliable way to enter my resume into each database.

Monster Note: In the copy-and-paste window, there was a limit of 20,000 characters. My one-page resume was 1,661 characters, so it fit just fine. This tells me the system can accept up to about 20 pages, which might be appropriate for some academic or technical CVs.

Careerbuilder Note: In the copy-and-paste window, there was no character limit. I inserted six pages and it didn’t complain. I assume I could have pasted in an unlimited number of characters but I don’t know that for sure.

Dice Note: In the copy-and-paste window, there was no character limit mentioned.

CONCLUSION
Although each of the three job boards I tested offers the option of uploading or copying and pasting a resume, I recommend the latter. It’s a matter of efficiency and accuracy.

Efficiency: It you intend to submit your resume more than once, why go through all the adjusting of the text and spacing every time you submit your resume? Save time by creating a Plain Text version (instructions above), make all the necessary adjustments to the text and spacing, and keep that version on your hard drive. Each time you submit your resume online, open that Plain Text version, and copy and paste the contents into the job board’s system.

Accuracy: Every time you edit your resume document, you take a chance of making an error in spelling, spacing, or deletion of text. Why take such a risk of making a negative impression on an employer? By creating one version of your resume that you’ve spell checked and proofread carefully, you can feel confident that you’re copying and pasting a perfect resume each time you post it online. Of course, each time you post your resume, you should review it to be sure the online system hasn’t messed up the formatting.

This post is not intended to endorse Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or Dice.com. I am conducting research for the new version of my E-Resume Guide. My experiments on these job boards are part of this research, and I’m posting my findings as I move through each step. For more about posting a resume online, see The Job Lounge category for online resumes.

6 comments:

Cathy Krizik said...

Susan, thanks so much for doing all the leg work and collecting all the data. I have always wondered which was the best options. Now we know. I thank you and my clients thank you!

Susan Ireland said...

You're welcome, Cathy!

Richard Jennings said...

Monster and Careerbuilder are both on the new About.com Top 10 Employment site list:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/joblistings/tp/jobbanks.htm

Ray said...

Richard - One of those sites is called realmatch and they do not use resumes.

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsdatabases/p/realmatch.htm

Perrin Peacock said...

Hey Susan,

I run Openreq.com, a job board for staffing/recruiting professionals. I offer them both the uploading of a Word Doc option and also the option of copying and pasting. BUT...my copying and pasting function is...well...a pain.

I use FCKeditor but it doesn't work very well. We get spacing issues, margin issues, etc.

any ideas?

Perrin Peacock
ppeacock@openreq.com

BrianEllis said...

It's been a while since you posted this, but thank you for this research. I also experimented with posting a plain text with html formatting tags on careerbuilder, but only the basic tags like bold and italics really made any difference. Line spaces, bullet tags, and paragraph tags simply compounded the existing line-break tags on the web page, so there were extra spaces between every line.

I suppose I just have to hope for an interview or personal contact so I can send a formatted resume to follow up!