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Getting Past the Computer: How to Optimize Your Resume for Online Recruitment Software

By Randy Hansen

At this point in your career, a resume is almost an afterthought. While you have undoubtedly spent much time and effort on the creation and perfection of your document, when was the last time you really looked at it and optimized it in this time of computerized recruitment? In order to maximize your chances for job seeking success, it’s important to be clear on not only who the employer is seeking, but how they find the ideal employee and what you can do to leverage their techniques to your advantage.

The creation of an effective resume in these technological times requires a different perspective. There are primarily two audiences to serve when applying online for an opening: one is human and the other is computerized. Your efforts in resume construction should be focused on attracting both, but this hybrid approach requires insight into the technological applications of recruitment processes plus some individualized effort on the applicant’s part to customize the resume for each specific opening.

For most applicants applying online, the first speed bump on the road to a new position is the software application a company’s HR department uses to initially parse out the desirable resumes. This has become necessary due to the ease of applying online and recruiters are flooded with countless resumes unsuited for the position. Having a staffer review each of the possibly hundreds of submissions is an inefficient and wasteful exercise. For these departments, recruitment software programs are essential.

As the resumes are electronically submitted for a specific position, the software seeks out relevant words, terms, job titles, years of experience and other criteria the employer determines is crucial for that position. Therefore, you should analyze the employer’s job description to ensure the company’s words and phrases you encounter are also in the resume you’ll be submitting for the position. You’ll have to modify your resume by inserting or creating entries to align with their corporate expressions. If needed, print out the description and highlight each word to make sure nothing is missed.

Remember though, it’s important to stress that the insertion of the specialized verbiage should make sense within the context of your resume as well as being truthful and accurate. As you finish, if there are still unique words or terms that apply to your qualifications but can’t be easily utilized within the resume, consider adding a supplemental topic heading at the bottom of your resume entitled “Keywords”. Underneath, include all of the distinctive phrases and corporate lingo that went unused in the main body of resume. This way, the computer will still “see” these words and match them to the employer’s established criteria, increasing your chances of your resume getting in front of a pair of human eyes who will likely pay scant attention to this last resume entry.

Once your resume has passed muster with the software program, it’s forwarded to an HR staffer tasked with reviewing these resumes for submittal to the hiring manager. This is the time to impress a real person.  Make sure that every entry of your resume details not just what you did for that employer, but your achievements and progression.

Each resume should be modified off of a permanent template (easily created in any word processing program) and saved with a specific name, i.e. “Acme Corp Sales Mgr resume 11 19 14” so when the time comes for the job interview, you can access and print the exact resume you submitted for the opening, including all of the customization applied to get past the computer and HR department. Lastly, remember to study the resume before the interview to remind you of any specific words or terms that might come in handy to impress the hiring manager.

Then, the rest is up to you. Good luck!

 

About the Author:

Randy Hansen is a volunteer blogger for North Texas LEAD and is a veteran journalist and corporate communicator with knowledge and experience in media relations, social media, video/photography and content creation. He lives in the Mid-Cities area.

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