Purveyor of High-Quality Verbiage

Lisa Vaas is a journalist who analyzes technology and job-hunting strategies.

Archive for May 2009

How Your Resume Gets Read by Machines

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Competition in the job market is nasty nowadays. Don’t screw up by making easy-to-avoid formatting mistakes or other goofups that will get your resume yanked by a machine.

Anybody fixing up their resume and applying online (the latter of which would be anybody, of course, who’s applying for jobs nowadays) should read the feature article I just wrote for TheLadders (an online recruitment site) about the technology that runs electronic resume processing.

Here’s the first few grafs, and you can read the full article here.

Resume, Meet Technology: How Your Story Gets Read by Machines

Detailing the steps applicant tracking systems take in order to decide whether to rubber- stamp your resume or chew it up and spit it out.

You’ve probably heard this advice for making
your resume stand out: Sprinkle in plenty of juicy key-
words so recruiters will pluck your document out of the pile.
But these days, the first review of your resume is more likely
to be a software program, known as an applicant tracking sys-
tem (ATS), than a human being interested in the quality of
your paper stock and the power of your prose. While those
qualities will be important in subsequent rounds, your first
challenge will be to win over a very sophisticated machine that
plays by its own complex rules.

In these competitive times, is a grab-bag of keywords re-
ally enough to ensure your resume rises out of that mysteri-
ous electronic swamp? If not, what else do you need to know
about the processes that happen inside these ATSes — sys-
tems that are, in fact, fueled by sophisticated data-warehousing
technologies — to stand the best chance of getting your re-
sume in front of human eyeballs?

To answer this question, TheLadders talked to ATS vendors
to find out what makes the technology tick, and to the recruit-
ers who use these systems to separate resume wheat from chaff.

Get the full article here.

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