It’s hard enough to find a great job in video production, even with the best resume. Up to 90% of all US employers, including all the major motion picture and TV studios, use a computerized ATS (applicant tracking system) to screen resumes. An employer may use this technology to select the 50 best resumes from a field of 1,000. Hiring executives then spend as little as 6 to 10 seconds scanning each resume to select the best five candidates. Those individuals are contacted for phone interviews and eventually for face-to-face interviews.
The good news is that you don’t have to make hard choices between appealing to prospective employers and performing well in computerized systems. A great resume can do both. Just don’t let any of these common mistakes derail your job search.
1. Submitting your resume as a PDF file instead of a Word document. The overwhelming majority of applicant tracking systems cannot read a PDF. If you are submitting your resume for jobs you’re well qualified for, and never hear anything back, it may be because the ATS cannot recognize your document as a resume.
2. Not having a clear resume focus. The job search rewards focus and specialization. Tragically, most employers see a candidate with broad strengths in video production, accounting and business development as only 33% qualified, compared to the candidate who specializes in one of those areas.
3. Putting your contact information in a header on the first page of your Word resume. The ATS works by scanning a data file until it finds a name in close proximity to a phone number and email. If it can’t read your contact information, it can’t recognize that this is a resume. Because the ATS can’t parse anything inside a header, you are essentially submitting a resume written in invisible ink. (Inserting a logo or graphic within your contact info does the same thing.)
4. No clear branding message. Your resume needs to deliver instant impact for prospective employers. The first line or two of your resume should clearly state the value you offer prospective employers, preferably in a single sentence.
5. Placing important information in tables or columns on the resume. The ATS reads from left to right across every line, so info presented in columns is jumbled together into nonsense.
6. Maybe the biggest resume mistake: believing that the ATS is your enemy in the job search. In fact, the ATS is just a technology tool, like a video camera or a laptop. Its goal is to help employers identify candidates who are a great fit with the job opening and the company. That’s also your goal.
By keyword optimizing your resume to reflect your greatest strengths yet deliver instant impact for prospective employers, you can use this powerful tool to attract only the employers most likely to offer you a rewarding job.
About the Writer - Joni Holderman
Joni (Johnny) Holderman has written video production resumes across the spectrum, from senior executives at major motion picture studios and TV producers to entry-level videographers. As Chief Resume Strategist, Resume Writer and Founder of Thrive! Resumes, she delivers compelling career marketing tools with instant visual impact. Joni combines a passion for helping others achieve their professional goals with exceptional wordsmithing skills. She is a well-respected nonfiction ghostwriter, fiction editor and content creator who has earned the coveted ACRW resume writer certification.