Make your client’s resume technology and human friendly

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Technology gives job seekers a novel way to connect with employers. They can now apply to hundreds of companies and job boards from the comfort of their desk. There is no longer a need to spend money on printing, stamping, and mailing vast quantities of resumes.

On the surface, this approach seems like an easy way to save money and time. However, it is only effective if the job seeker ensures that humans and computers read their resume.

If your clients are only submitting resumes on job boards or company websites, they are not alone. It seems that many people spend an inordinate amount of time posting their resume on the internet. Because there is so much competition, it’s likely that most will never get an interview. This is primarily why job seekers who know how to network are at a great advantage.

We know that there is nothing better than having meaningful connections within the company. A computer can match to a job description, but a person can determine if your client may fit elsewhere. Job seekers who foster personal connections within a company get interviews almost 100 percent of the time. Sometimes, though, it is quite difficult to convince a particular client that the best approach is to establish a personal relationship with the hiring decision-maker.

If someone is truly uncomfortable with networking and unwilling to learn the approach, there may be no point in pushing the strategy. However, at the very least, you need to ensure that somebody reads the submitted resume.

Your client’s resume needs to be optimized for computers, but it also needs to be designed so that humans will enjoy reading it in detail – and will select it over the rest of the applications. Based on this, it would seem that a resume that somehow fuses aspects of machine readability with human needs would be best. However, the two styles are at odds. A “one resume fits both purposes” is highly unlikely to work. Ideally, your client should have two resumes – a brief stylized version for human eyes and a second longer version for software to read and parse. The human resume can incorporate design elements; however, the computer version needs to be text only.

The Non-Human Screening Component

Technology is an important part of the resume screening process. Nearly all major organizations and recruiters today use some form of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or optical scanner to handle job applications and to manage resume data. This technology can quickly read and store resumes.

Even when a recruiter asks your client to forward a resume, they are likely to scan it into a system where Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software will read and deposit it into the ATS to be electronically reviewed and parsed.

The computer wants to see as much data as possible, so the resume must be detailed and rich in keywords and phrases that match job descriptions.

The Human Screening Component

When company representatives sort through resumes, it is with the objective of weeding out undesirable applicants. Even with a cursory glance, a skilled recruiter can determine if a resume is worth reading through.

The human has a short attention span, so the resume needs to be concise and well-designed. Include all the special things that humans love such as charts, graphs, and colours. Ensure that the resume is easy to read and follow. Tell a compelling story about your client’s career and include loads of achievements that are transferable to the targeted position. Make it easy for recruiters to learn more about your client by adding his or her LinkedIn URL, Twitter ID, website, and/or blog address.

When it comes to the intangibles, computers will never replace humans completely. It has been demonstrated, time and again, that no technology replaces a real relationship with a decision-maker. If your client is uncomfortable with networking, design a strategy to enable him to get a foot in the door.

Career Professionals of Canada is dedicated to helping practitioners upgrade their skills in resume strategy. Upcoming Events include programs on ATS Resume Optimization and Advanced Resume Design. If you want to learn more about attaining your Certified Resume Strategist designation, attend our upcoming FREE Webcast.

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Excellent post Sharon. It’s quite an eye-opener. Thanks.