How to Get Your Resume Past Screening Software and in Front of Human Eyes
Technology is pretty much taking over our lives — whether that’s a good or bad thing is still TBD. Need help finding the perfect foundation? No problem; there’s an app that will custom-blend a hue for you. Can’t seem to stay adequately hydrated? The slew of smart water bottles on the market has you covered. Over your chores? Amazon gadgets can help get the job done. Even hiring managers are using tech to make their work easier and more efficient, and automated vetting processes are becoming an increasingly common means of evaluating job applicants. Fortunately, there are ways to outsmart this computer software and score yourself an in-person interview. Allie Kelly, vice president of marketing at recruiting software industry leader JazzHR, gives us the secrets to success.
What exactly are job applicants up against? “Resume parsing is an HR technology used to streamline the resume review process,” Kelly explains. And it’s highly individualized by company and position: Hiring managers dictate which criteria are necessary — think education requirements, professional certifications, and even specific soft skills. They can also incorporate “knockout” questions or assessments into the application to narrow down the talent pool, with typical questions pertaining to things like availability or second language skills. The application then scans through applications in search of the desired qualifications and characteristics, and anyone missing the specified requirements will be rejected before a human eyeball ever approaches their resume. It might seem a little harsh, but it can save hours of time for hiring managers, who even at small or mid-size companies often receive 65 or more applications per position.
This software is what Kelly calls “industry agnostic,” meaning all sorts of organizations have begun implementing this methodology. Although the high-tech industry is one of its main users, automated vetting processes aren’t reserved exclusively for technical positions like coders and computer engineers. Kelly says the manufacturing, construction, life sciences, and health care industries are adopting this technology too, and it’s likely other industries will follow. Whatever your profession, you could come into contact with this technology — and sooner rather than later.
To maximize your chances of passing the checks, Kelly recommends modifying your resume for each application. It’s a pain, but the payoff is worth it. “Not every job description is written the same across industries, and not every organization is looking for a cookie-cutter set of skills,” she says. “It’s important to do your research on the role you’re applying to so you know what skills you should be well-versed in and what’s important to be successful in the future.” By tailoring your resume to each particular position, you increase your chances of including the keywords the organization is looking for on your application.
Besides the content of what you submit, how it’s presented can be equally important for getting yourself in the door. Kelly suggests always using a standard file format for your resume and application, such as a Word document or, even better, a PDF. She also says the more straightforward your layout, the better. “Formatting should always be simple,” Kelly advises. “Having too many elements or a fully designed resume could easily disqualify you.” And avoid using acronyms in isolation. Even if an acronym is standard in an industry, you’ll want to spell out any necessary shorthand — you never know what the hiring manager listed as a keyword.
Lastly, ensure your LinkedIn account is kept up to date. The “Apply on LinkedIn” option is becoming more popular, which means that in many cases your profile acts as a stand-in resume. “This could be the only overview of your professional background your potential employer may receive,” Kelly cautions. To make the best possible impression, ensure your profile is detailed, accurate and, most importantly, current. The more you sell yourself, the more likely it is that your next stop will be the in-person interview you deserve.
How are you optimizing your applications to pass automated vetting processes? Let us know @BritandCo.
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