Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, Part 2

In January, the Career Center led a seminar on how to power your job search with Google Tools. This post is part two of our introduction on how to do that. Part one can be found here.

The Career Center website has a page that lists several job search websites, and we encourage you to check out some of them. Google is not yet on that list. However, you can use a not-so-old-fashioned Google search to look for and keep track of different job opportunities.

  • In order to use Google Tools to power your job search you first need a Google/Gmail account. If you have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Sign in. If you do *not* have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Create account.
  • Once you are logged in to Google/Gmail go to Google.com. Type a search phrase such as jobs near me. You can try other search phrases such as warehouse jobs in baton rouge.
  • Be careful where you click next. There are scams and fake job postings on the internet. Do not click on anything marked “Ad.” Instead, click on the blue bar that should say something like Jobs near Baton Rouge, LA.
  • This opens up a new feature by Google which is snapshots of jobs. You will see:
    • Options to apply
    • Salary information
    • Company reviews
  • This is where you have some tools available to you.
    • You can use filters to narrow the search. You can click on one of the bubbles under Title such as Warehouse associate, Warehouse worker, and so on.
    • You can save a job and apply for it later. Click on the little bookmark symbol next to a job you want to save. It should turn blue.
    • You can turn on email alerts for this job search. Click on the little slide switch symbol so it moves to the right and turns dark blue.
  • The way you go back to saved job opportunities is simple. After you have logged in to Google do another quick search for jobs near me or the like. That brings up the jobs snapshot. Now click on SAVED under the search box. There they are. You can also use something like Google Sheets to keep track or job opportunities as described in Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, part one.
  • You can make changes to alerts. Click on ALERTS in the blue bar under the search box. Do you want to receive an email alert about jobs Instantly, Daily, or Weekly?
  • There is a way to filter for jobs working from home. Go back to the job search snapshots. Click on Location then Work from Home.
  • If you are a veteran you can search for jobs according to MOS code. Go back to Google.com and type veteran jobs near me or the like. Click on the search box and you can search for jobs in your area according to MOS, AFSC, NEC, or rating.

Again, we encourage you to check out other job search websites. However, not many people are aware that Google has added some tools that make a Google search for job opportunities more useful and better organized.

Written by Richard Wright

Get Help Filing for Unemployment with These How-To Videos

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about filing for unemployment benefits with the state of Louisiana. While the Career Center is focused more on helping patrons look for work and apply to jobs, we were recently made aware of a resource by the Workforce Commission that might help you file for unemployment.

The LAWorks.net Video Page is full of videos, including public service announcements, as well as tutorials on how to file the different parts of your unemployment with the state. We’re going to focus on the how-to videos in this post.

  1. How to File a Claim walks you through the process of initially filing for unemployment, using the Louisiana Workforce’s web portal called HiRE. It’s a pretty quick video, so you might want to watch it more than once — but it’s also a good beginning resource if you don’t know where to begin. One warning: the video says that, due to the pandemic, you do not need to look for work in order to be eligible for unemployment. That was true when the video was filmed, but it is no longer true. The fourth video in this series will tell you more about this requirement.
  2. How to File Weekly Certification will help you out after you’ve filed a claim, when you need to fill out a weekly certification form to continue receiving benefits. This video isn’t narrated, but has screenshots and helpful green arrows to help you figure out where to click to proceed through the form. It might be a good idea to pause the video on each frame to read the explanatory text at the top, because that tells you what to do.
  3. How to Upload Documents in HiRE Account is similar to the Weekly Certification video in that it doesn’t have any narration. However, it’s also useful in that it walks you through how to upload supporting documents to your HiRE account, such as your Social Security Card and other documentation you’ll need to complete your claim.
  4. Completing the Work Search Portion of Weekly Certifications is a narrated video about the return of the Work Search requirement of unemployment insurance, after the end of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation in July. Basically, to continue receiving unemployment benefits, you need to prove you’ve been looking for work when you renew your claim each week. This video explains the importance of doing so and will show you how to fill out the form. Toward the end of the video, the exemptions from the Work Search requirement are also enumerated.

Written by Case Duckworth

Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, Part 1

Staying organized is an important part of searching for a job. There are so many individual pieces of information you need to keep track of. What was that job opening you saw yesterday? And where was it? Which jobs have you applied for? What was the username and password you created for that job website? In January, one of our Career Center staff led a seminar on how to power your job search with Google Tools. This post is a quick introduction on how to do that.

  • In order to use Google Tools to power your job search you first need a Google/Gmail account. If you have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Sign in. If you do *not* have a Google/Gmail account then go to Google.com and Create account. Once you’re signed in, go into your Google Drive (drive.google.com).
  • On your Google Drive page click on New in the upper left. Then on Google Sheets. This will create a new Google Sheets.
  • Let’s take a moment and get oriented to what a Google Sheet looks like. Each sheet contains little rectangles called Cells. Cells are organized into Rows (which have numbers) and Columns (which have letters). Each cell also has an address based on its Column and Row, such as A1. You can click on a cell to add text, formatting, functions, and formulas.
  • Let’s add some headings to your sheet. You can use these or make up your own: Job Position, Company Name, Job Location, Salary or Hourly Rate, Website URL (so you can go back to that job listing), Notes, Progress. You can click on each cell to add text. You can also hit Tab to move to the next cell on the same row.
  • The next step is pretty cool. You can use your sheet to track the status of each application in your job search. One good way to do this is by using data validation. Data validation helps you control what kind of data you enter in your sheet. Data validation can create a drop-down list of items for each cell so you do not have to type in the same data every time.
    Click on the G above Progress. This selects that column. Then click on Data > Data Validation.


  • In the Data validation window next to Criteria click the box and choose List of items. In the box that says Enter items separated by a comma type a list of options separated by commas. For example Have not started, Resume in Progress, Submitted, Interview Scheduled, Offer received. Then click on Save. Congratulations! Now every cell on that column will have a little drop down menu.
  • As you enter on each row a new job opening, you can choose the status of your progress. Everything from Haven’t started to Offer received. Click on a cell in that column and try it.
  • Finally give your sheet a name. Click where it says Untitled spreadsheet and enter a helpful name for this sheet. Something like My Job Search 2020.
  • Your job search sheet is now ready for you to put some information in each row. So click on the + on your web browser  to open a new tab and look for some jobs.

    Continued in Power Your Job Search with Google Tools, Part Two

Written by Richard Wright

Here’s What’s New on Our YouTube Channel!

Happy September, everybody! Last month, we uploaded a bunch of new videos to help you with your job search. Let’s see what they were.

Seminars

Remote Job Interviews

In these unprecedented times, more companies are opting for job interviews over the phone or by video conference. In this video, Career Coach Anne Nowak talks about best practices and things to avoid when interviewing remotely.

Intro to Cover Letters

Sure, you’ve got a killer resume – but a cover letter is what brings your job application over the edge. There’s just one problem: you don’t know where to start! Resume Coach Lynnette Lee is here to help with this recorded seminar.

Job Search Basics

We started a new playlist that will help you with the very basics of searching for work in 2020, including tutorials on using a computer and the Internet.

Creating an email address

Career Specialist Case Duckworth walks you through creating a new email address at the ever-popular Gmail.

Creating good passwords

Passwords are like keys … well, sort of. Career Specialist Richard Wright shows you the dos and don’ts of good password creation in this video.

Job Application Walk-throughs

Dollar Tree

Lynnette Lee walks you through an application at the popular convenience store.

Lowe’s

If you’re interested in a career in retail or home improvement, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton will walk you through an application at the big-box store Lowe’s.

Job Search Resources

The Career Center’s website has a ton of job search resources, which Resume Coach Lynnette Lee walks you through in this video.

Job Interview Scenarios

Tell me about your computer skills

Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee discuss good – and bad! – answers to this interview question, which is only getting commoner.

Website Reviews

Power to Fly

Power to Fly is a woman-led company that specializes in helping women land technical roles, with events, career coaching, and job boards. Anne Nowak reviews the site’s pluses and minuses in this video.

Conclusion

That’s all the videos we posted in August. If you have an idea for a video, or would like to request one, drop us a line, give us a call, or come in and see us!

Written by Case Duckworth

Advancing Your Career with MOOCs

In February, the Career Center offered a seminar about MOOCs. In case you missed it, here are some of the main takeaways:

what is a mooc?

Imagine being able to go back to college – without all the expenses of tuition, room, and board. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. MOOCs are online college courses available to anyone with access to the internet. MOOCs can help you advance your career by learning in-demand skills. Many MOOCs are free – if you want to watch and learn. Many only charge fees if you want to earn a certificate or credential. MOOCs that allow you to earn a degree are more expensive – but even then they are less expensive than a degree program at most universities.

how can i use moocs to grow my career?

A growing number of businesses and companies recognize credentials from MOOCs. Many MOOCs are backed by prestigious universities and/or partner with prominent corporations. MOOCs can be an inexpensive way to learn new  skills that will help you grow in your own profession, or position yourself to transition to a new career. Here are a few tips to help your chances that an employer will appreciate your having taken a class.

  • Focus on courses that are clearly related to your field of work. For example, if you are a programmer, take courses on Python, rather than Tibetan Religion.
  • Earn a credential – such as a Certificate or Nanodegree or Series Specialization. These are usually not free but are still less expensive than tuition.
  • Take MOOC courses that are backed by prestigious universities. You can put the name of that university on your resume. For example: Verified Certificate of Business Leadership, Harvard School of Business (through Coursera), 2019

  • Make sure you can demonstrate the skills that the course teaches. Many MOOC courses or series of courses require you to turn in projects. What matters most to potential employers is that you can do it. If you take a MOOC course about Python programming, demonstrate that you can program in Python. Increasingly, employers care less about credentials and degrees, and more about what you can do.

the big five mooc companies

Coursera

Coursera is perhaps the most prominent. Courses are free for registered users, although there are fees for different course licenses. You can earn Course Certificates, a Specialization Certificate (after taking a series of courses), and even full degrees such as a Master of Business Administration, Master of Computer Science.

edX

EdX is another prominent MOOC. You can audit courses for free, or pay a modest fee to earn a certificate. You can earn a Certificate of Achievement, X-Series Certificate of Achievement, Micro-masters Course Credit, Professional Certificate, Micro-Bachelors, or even an Online Degree.

FutureLearn

Although FutureLearn is one of the more prominent MOOCs, it is based in Great Britain and not well recognized outside Europe. You can pay $199/year for unlimited access. You can earn Micro-credentials and even online degrees (bachelors, masters, or post-graduate certificates which are more common in Europe).

Udacity

Udacity is fairly well recognized because you can earn Nanodegrees (after taking a series of courses usually over 6-12 months). They are one of the more expensive MOOCs, charging $400/month or $1436 for four months.

Udemy

 

With Udemy you can earn Certificates of completion. They charge modest fees for each course.

Final thoughts

If you are interested in advancing your career with MOOCs, do some research. Find out about the reputation of different MOOCs, how much employers recognize them, and which kinds of programs they offer. A good website to do research about MOOCs is MoocLab. It has articles and discussion boards where people sometimes debate the worth of different MOOCs and the credentials they offer.

Written by Rick Wright and Lynnette Lee

Here’s What’s New on Our YouTube Channel!

July was busy for us here at the Career Center! We officially launched our YouTube channel and have a number of videos already there. We’re going to update you on the first Monday of each month as to the newest content, so here’s what we’ve uploaded so far.

Seminars

Mastering the Job Interview

In the first video of our Seminar Series, Resume Coach Lynnette Lee recreates her usually in-person seminar, Mastering the Job Interview. It covers important topics such as what to wear to an interview, how to comport yourself, and what to expect.

How to Spot and Avoid Job Search Scams

This video is a recreation of Anne Nowak’s seminar. In it, she talks about common employment scams that prey on desperate job-seekers, and shows you how to spot and avoid those scams.

Creating a winning resume

In this “winning” seminar, Lynnette Lee shows you how to write and format a resume that’ll be sure to get you noticed by hiring managers. This video covers how to format your resume, what words and phrases to use, and how to order and present your work history to get the best results.

Choosing a Resume Template

Did you know that the Career Center has a page chockablock with resume templates, free for you to refer to and use, at all stages of your career? Lynnette Lee walks you through which one to choose in this video, depending on the type of job you’re looking for and the type of work you’ve done in the past.

Recession-Proof Your Job and Career

Let’s face it—due to COVID-19, the economy is gearing up for a recession. Anne Nowak shows you how to keep your job in the uncertain times ahead in this seminar.

Job Interview Scenarios

Entering a Job Interview

In this role-play video between Lynnette Lee and Career Coach Anne Nowak, they show you what, and what not, to do when entering a job interview and introducing yourself.

How to Answer: “Tell Me About Yourself”

The dreaded open-ended interview opener, “Tell me about yourself,” has confounded job seekers since time immemorial. In this video, Lynnette Lee and Anne Nowak role-play different scenarios to show you how to answer this question like a pro.

How to Answer: “What is Your Greatest Weakness?”

This might be the most-lampooned of all interview questions, but it still gets asked by hiring managers and interviewers. Lynnette and Anne team up to show you what answers work and which ones don’t.

How to Answer: “What are Your Greatest Strengths?”

In this video, Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee act out how to respond to one of the trickiest questions in an interviewer’s toolbox.

How to Answer: “Why do You Want to Work With Us?”

Here’s a hint: the answer isn’t “I like money.” In this video, Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee walk you through the right and wrong ways of answering this evergreen question.

Application Walkthroughs

How to Apply for a Job with East Baton Rouge City-Parish Civil Service

Career Specialist Rick Wright shows you how to apply for a job with the City-Parish Civil Service in this walk-through video, so you can apply to your civil service dream job in no time.

How to Apply for a Job at Domino’s

In this video, Career Specialist Cynthia Payton walks you through applying for a job at the ever-popular pizza chain, Domino’s.

How to Apply for a Job with Dollar General

Career Specialist Case Duckworth guides you through the process of applying to work at one of the nation’s leading retail chains, Dollar General.

Work-from-Home Website Reviews

Rat Race Rebellion

Anne Nowak reviews on of the best work-from-home job board websites, Rat Race Rebellion. She’ll show you how to find a good job to do in your spare time or as a full career, as well as what to look out for and avoid.

Remote Planet

If you were laid off or found yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands during the pandemic, remote-work websites might help you find a way to make some extra cash. Anne Nowak walks you through one of them, Remote Planet, in this video.

Flexjobs

Flexjobs is a little different from other work-from-home websites: it requires a (paid) subscription. Anne Nowak discusses the benefits and drawbacks of that model in this review.

If you’d like to see more content like these videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you’d like to suggest a topic for a future video, please call us at 224-231-3733.

Written by Case Duckworth

Using Resume Templates When You Don’t Have MS Word

Most resume templates – including the Career Center’s – are in Microsoft Word format. This is no problem for Career Center patrons who come in to our department, as we have Microsoft Word on all of our computers. But many of our patrons do not have Microsoft Word on their home computers, because it is expensive software. So what can you do if you want to work on your resume at home and do not have Microsoft Word?

  • Option 1: If you have a Mac but do not have Office for Mac, you probably have Pages.
    See if the resume template you wish to use can be downloaded as a Rich Text Format (RTF). Pages can easily import and export files in RTF. If not, Pages can also import and export files in Word format, as explained here.
  • Option 2: You can use LibreOffice.
    This is a free downloadable application which is very similar to Microsoft Office. It can run on Windows *or* Mac *or* Linux. LibreOffice can read files in Word or Rich Text Format. Be aware that LibreWriter by default saves files in Open Document Text (ODT)format. You will need to manually tell it to save files in Word format.
  • Option 3: You can work on your resume in Google Docs format.
    You can use Google Docs to work on your resume in Windows or Mac or Linux. All you need is a web browser and a gmail account. You can open an MS Word file in Google Docs, or use one of the resume templates available directly through Google Docs.

If none of these options appeal to you, you are always welcome to use the computers at your local library to work on your resume. Or, of course, come visit us in the Career Center.

Written by Richard Wright

Tech Talk: Learning Express Job and Career Accelerator

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library recently acquired a new resource to assist jobseekers: the Job and Career Accelerator service of the Learning Express database.

How to Access It:

The Learning Express database is free to anyone with an East Baton Rouge Parish Library card. Go to the library website, then click on The Digital Library. Choose to search the “A-Z List”, then find “Learning Express 3.0” which takes you to the Learning Express database. Now click on “Job and Career Accelerator”.

How it’s organized:

There are six sections to this resource.

Find a Career Match: These assessments can be a good career planning tool for people who don’t know where to start. The Interest Matcher asks you about how much – or how little – you are interested in doing certain types of tasks.  The Skills Assessment is similar, except it asks about what skills you already have.  Each assessment will, based on your answers, provide you with a list of professions and types of work which match your interests or skills.

Explore Occupations: This tool provides detailed information about 1000 different careers.  There are several different options for how to search and narrow down results. For each job title, the database gives information on job description, average salary, projected demand, education needed, skills preferred, and more.

Search for Jobs and Internships: This takes you directly to job postings and internship opportunities on Indeed.

Tools to Get Hired: This section provides samples of job search-related documents, including resumes, cover letters, networking letters, and post-interview thank-you notes. There is also a how-to-interview tutorial and a resume-building tool.

Career Library: This section has in-depth guides on how to start a career in several common fields, including healthcare, teaching, paralegal, police, and culinary arts. There are also specialized guides for how to change careers and how to use social networking in the job search.

School and Scholarship Finder: The Scholarship Finder helps you search among 24,000 different scholarships to find scholarships for which you might qualify. The School Finder helps you locate a school that meets your educational goals and needs. It includes a Quick Match tool that helps you find schools that might be a good match for you.

What do we like most about this resource?

One-stop shop: This database brings together a lot of resources for different aspects of job searching and career planning under one roof. You can take an assessment, choose a career, write a resume, apply for jobs, and find a school, all under one roof. That can be very convenient.

Good information: There are lots of tools here to help you become a savvy jobseeker. For instance, the sample letters in the Tools to Get Hired section are helpful examples. And the guides in the Career Library are extremely informative, if there is a guide for your chosen career.

Resume Keywords: This was our absolute favorite part of the database. The Resume Builder contains a list of Job-Specific Keywords which you can use to plug into your resume. For example, if you look for “Accountant”, a long list of keywords and skills related to accounting and finance will come up. You can then choose some of those keywords to fill out the “Skills” section of your resume. This is a great way to make sure your resume bursts with the key skills that will grab a hiring manager’s attention.

What do we dislike most about this resource?

Derivative: This database has very little in it which is original. The job postings come from Indeed. The career information comes from ONET. And the general structure of the resources comes from Career Cruising, another career database which we’ve discussed extensively.

Resume Builder: We know, we seem to be contradicting ourselves. We said that we loved the Keywords section of the Resume Builder. And that’s true. But we found the rest of the Resume Builder inflexible and hard to use. It uses a one-size-fits-all formula for the resume template, making it difficult to tailor a resume to suit your specific skills and audience. We much prefer referring our patrons to our own resume templates, which are 100% customizable.

Written by Richard Wright and Lynnette Lee

The Hidden Dangers of Tables and Text Boxes in Resumes

Common Scene in the Career Center: A patron is trying to revise or update a resume. He/she tries to add or delete a line or section, or tries to change some of the formatting, but it does not seem to work right. The formatting and spacing get thrown off, and we are not able to fix it. We see this happen when a resume is formatted with tables or text boxes.

Where tables and text boxes come from

There are 3 reasons why your resume might contain tables/text boxes:

1) You are using a resume template that includes them. Some resume templates, in Microsoft Word and other sources, use tables and text boxes to lay out the structure of the resume. These formatting structures are usually invisible unless you specifically look for them.
2) You used a website to build your resume. Some websites that say “just enter your information and we will build your resume for you” use tables and/or text boxes to lay out the structure of the resume (assuming that you downloaded your resume from the website in Word format).
3) You put the table or text box in yourself.

Why you should avoid using tables and text boxes in your resume

Why do people like to use tables and text boxes? They look great because they give structure to the resume template. Tables are very useful for laying out a document in certain ways. Cells and rows and columns work well to create “sections” for different kinds of information. Text boxes can also work well for creating a “block” or a section. One advantage of text boxes is the freedom to move them around to different locations in the document. They can be useful for creating a header or a “left column” section.

Nevertheless, the Career Center still recommends against using tables and text boxes in your resume, for the following reasons:

1) They can “get in the way” when you want to revise your resume or change the layout.

  • Let’s you want to add an item to your Work Experience. You think “just add a new line and type information.” But if your resume uses tables, the layout is not the same as the rest of that section. Using Enter to create a new line in the same cell/row will not look the same. To be consistent you would need to create a new row and/or cell in the layout table. Unless you’re savvy with creating and editing tables, this may be hard for you to do.
  • Similarly, deleting something from your resume is difficult if the template uses tables or text boxes. Often, there is a bunch of empty space that will not go away. Why? Because now you have an empty cell and even empty cells take up space.
  • Tables and text boxes can get in the way when you try to change the margins.

2) Websites that import information from your resume have trouble “reading” information that is in tables or text boxes.

  • We have tested this with several different Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) such as Workday, Taleo, and Brassring. We found that they could “read” or import most but not all of the information in your resume. Some websites, such as job-posting giant Indeed, cannot import resumes with tables at all.
  • This is a big deal. You want websites to read correctly the information in your resume. For one thing, this saves you time and effort typing information on a job application. (Job application websites “read” your resume and use the information to fill in many of the boxes.)
  • More importantly, these websites might have trouble reading your work experience and qualifications. That means they might not recognize key words and information and not “flag” your resume so that a hiring manager will take a closer look and perhaps contact you for an interview. If the software can’t properly read your resume, due to tables and text boxes, then it may never get seen by human eyes.

How to Recognize Tables and Text Boxes in MS word templates

Usually they are invisible and can be hard to spot (as in the example below).

However, usually you can see a little square (with four arrows inside) in the top-left corner of a table and/or text box. If you cannot then click on an area inside the document – or move the cursor over the top-left area – and the little box should appear. Right-click on the little square. This makes a little menu appear.

Click on the Borders icon (which looks like a 2 x 2 square). And then choose All Borders. This will change the Borders setting for the table and/or text box so that the border(s) become visible.

And there is your table! Of course people usually want tables and text boxes to be invisible (no borders) so that they do not show up when printing the resume (and a person reading the resume does not see them). But in this case, you want to know that they’re there – so that you can choose not to use a template that has them.

What are other ways to format a resume?

  • If you are laying out your resume yourself, you can use tabs, justification settings, and indents in order to provide structure. These can all provide results that look similar or identical to what tables and text boxes accomplish. Although they can take a little more effort, the result is a document which you can edit as much as needed, which can be easily read by ATS.
  • Use a resume template that does not use tables or text boxes. This can be tricky because, as noted above, tables and text boxes are often invisible. One thing to look for is blocks of text next to each other in neat columns (as in the first example in this article). Or a section of text that seems to stand by itself and is not part of any paragraph.
  • Easiest method of all: Use one of our Career Center templates! The Career Center website has several different resume templates. They follow current “best practices” for resumes. They are well laid out and space efficient without being cramped. Click here for our resume templates.

Written by Richard Wright

Tech Talk: Why You Need Your Resume in MS Word (and how to convert it from PDF)

Patron: I need to update my resume. It’s in PDF format. How do I make changes?
Staff: I’m sorry but you can’t.

A conversation like this happens quite often in the Career Center. Many of our clients don’t realize that the choice of format in which they save their resume can affect their ability to make changes to the resume. Many computers – including the library’s computers – do not have the software necessary to edit PDF files. So, why do so many people use PDFs? And if your resume is PDF only, what can you do about it?

advantages and disadvantages of pdfs

One of the great advantages of having a PDF version of your resume is that it cannot be altered by another person or a computer program. Therefore, it can be a good idea to submit your resume as a PDF in an email or an online application, so that it will arrive with all of your formatting intact.

However, this feature of PDFs is a double-edged sword. No one else can make changes to your document – but neither can you. If you want to add a new position, or change your email address, or fix a typo, you will be out of luck with a PDF.

Therefore, we strongly urge you to save your resume (and cover letter, references, etc.) in an editable format such as Microsoft Word. You may also save each document as a PDF for online submission if you’d like,* but you need a Microsoft Word copy so you can make changes.

*Recently we learned websites that use ATS (Automated Tracking System) do not read PDFs very well. Even if a website allows you to upload your resume in PDF format, it is better to submit it in a Microsoft Word format such as DOC or DOCX.

My resume is pdf only. how do i fix that?

If it is not a scan, try this:

  • Convert it using Word. Word 2013 and 2016 are able to open a PDF and convert it to Word format. This is the most effective and hassle-free option. However, it will not work with a scan. It only works with documents that were created in MS Word but saved as PDFs.
  • Use Google Drive to convert it. Obviously, this one only works if you have a Google account. Upload the PDF to your Drive and open the file as a Google Doc. Then, in the menu bar, go to File -> Download as -> Microsoft Word (docx).  Again, this technique does not work with scans.
  • Use PDFtoWordThis website converts PDFs to Word documents and produced good results when we tested it. However, it will not work with a scan.

If it is a scan, try this:

  • Run it through Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR recognizes letters and words in your scanned file and turns them into text. Some websites can run an uploaded file through OCR and then convert it into a text file in MS Word. We had good results doing this through OnlineOCR, DocsZone, and PDFtoWordConverter. However, please be advised that quality is not guaranteed – sometimes, formatting is lost during the conversion process, particularly if your resume is highly formatted.
  • If all else fails, re-type it from scratch in MS Word. It takes time, but it will be worth it.

See Wikihow for more detailed instructions on converting PDFs to Word.

I don’t have microsoft office. what do i do?

You are welcome to use the library for this purpose; all of our branches have MS Word on our computers. Alternately, you can use a free application such as Libre Office, which is very similar to MS Office and compatible with Macs and Linux.

If you would like in-person help with writing or formatting your resume, come to the Career Center at the Goodwood Library where trained staff can assist you.

Written by Rick Wright