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

Friday, November 7th, 2014

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.

Veterans Sign Up Now for Job Prep

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Veterans are still signing up to attend July 19th’s program designed exclusively for them. The event is free, but attendees must register no later than 12:00p.m. on September 18, 2014. Online registration is available at

Doors open at 9am at Tarrant County College’s Main Campus at 300 Trinity River Circle in downtown Fort Worth.

T.D. Smyers is the keynote speaker. Before becoming the CEO of the American Red Cross North Texas Region, T.D. served as the Commanding Officer of the Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth Naval Air Station.

Smyers will be joined by military recruiters and exhibitors from several companies and organizations who want to help veterans find employment.

Workshop topics range from Translating Your Skills from Military speak to Resume Preparation. For more information, contact

North Texas LEAD Rocks!!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

By: Gyna M. Bivens and Stephanie Valadez

Hiring is the word of the day!  “Hiring” was the word of the year for 2013 when more than 100 LEAD candidates found employment AFTER going through our unique process.  It was a fantastic year with the following LEAD partners finding the right candidates for impressive positions:

  • American Airlines, Manager of Strategic Talent Management
  • American Airlines, eCommerce Product Owner
  • American Red Cross, Testing Programs Director
  • Bell Helicopter Textron, Director, Strategy
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Director of Human Resources
  • City of Fort Worth, Senior Accountant
  • DART, Internal Auditor
  • DART, Director of Diversity and EEO
  • DART, AVP Marketing & Advertising
  • DFW Airport, Systems Performance Analyst
  • Fort Worth T, Grants and DBE Administrator
  • JPS Health Network, Clinical Research Assistant
  • JPS Health Network, Communications Specialist/Writer
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Sr. Subcontract Administrator
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Sr. HR Business Partner
  • MedSynergies, Practice Administrator
  • Oncor Electric Delivery, Director of Business Development, Modeling and Analytics
  • TCC, Assistant Director of Nursing
  • Texas Health Resources, Strategic OD Consultant
  • UNT System, HR Director
  • UNT System, Brand Advertising Manager


That’s an impressive roster.  The key to the success for these candidates was more than luck.  The LEAD process involves pre-screening and committed panel interviewers from the employers who support LEAD with annual partner fees.  At the time of this blog entry, a handful of LEAD candidates are in the finals for positions that will crown their resumes.   When asked what made them successful, candidates have several common responses:

-They were coachable.

-They were diligent in searching the jobs available from partners.

-They attended Candidate Networking Receptions.

-They followed the job search guidelines LEAD put in place.

-They didn’t rely on LEAD to conduct their job search and used several resources.

We are proud of 2013 and already excited about what 2014 has in store.  Visit the Success Stories tab to read about our recent landings.

Distinguished Lecture Series

Friday, October 4th, 2013

I was so excited at the turnout of the launch of our Distinguished Lecture Series!    We wanted to explore the mindset(s) of the executives who actually guide the hiring process at their various companies.    They were frank, honest and sincere in sharing.   Since this was our first time at a lecture, we were told to cross fingers and hope for 75 at the most.   More than 130 people paid their dollars to hear these experts speak and left with the question:  When is the next one? The ‘next one’ will take place in 2014, but in the meantime, I hope readers of this blog will take advantage of the advice many of our HR leaders videotaped for us. Click Here to take a look at advice from LEAD HR Executives.

Experienced Professionals Sought

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

DALLAS/FORT WORTH—December 12, 2012Resumes from college-degreed professionals are being accepted by North Texas Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity (LEAD) for its 2013 interview year.   “Executives and managers from our member companies interview a select group of applicants each month for consideration into our program,” said Gyna M. Bivens, President and Executive Director of LEAD.  Applicants apply by uploading their resume to LEAD’s website (

The non-profit organization’s membership is comprised of 27 employers who value LEAD as a resource for top diverse talent.  More than 500 professionals have found employment after going through LEAD’s unique process.  LEAD candidates hold titles such as:

  • CFO
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Engineer
  • Accountant
  • Technology Services Manager
  • Procurement Manager
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Manager of Supply Chain Management


Bivens says LEAD identifies talent that matches the employment needs of North Texas.  Initially, the organization focused exclusively on the talent needs of Fort Worth employers.  “Realizing our applicants were coming from all over Texas, we made a conscientious effort to invite Dallas-area employers to share the vision.”  LEAD Human Resources Manager Stephanie Valadez says the non-profit organization receives resumes from 16 states and all over Texas.  “They apply with LEAD specifically because they share the vision of our CEOs who know a diverse and inclusive workforce is a talented workforce.”

Resumes Require Thought!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

I was surprised recently when a candidate applied for about eight positions with two employers in a matter of 5 minutes.   Even though we advise candidates to tailor each resume for each job application….we really need to stress that advice with greater impact.

When I see applications being logged with great rapidity, I will ask a candidate to “send me your resumes of submittal along with each job description” so we can determine if LEAD will send a heightened endorsement.  Even though a candidate has been endorsed by his/her panel of interviewers, HR Manager Stephanie Valadez will only send a personal endorsement when she sees the match between the job description and resume that was submitted.

This week, one candidate emailed me two resumes that were submitted for six job applications.    I asked for the other four, but they did not exist.    The highlight of the week came when another candidate who had applied for multiple positions with one resume wrote back:  “…after doing a resume modification specific to the job description I can clearly see why I have not even received a phone screening.  I am grateful for this assignment you asked me to complete.  This has been an excellent training for me.”

I will never forget the young man who (within 30 minutes) applied for 124 positions at Lockheed Martin a few years ago.    The jobs were so varied requiring skills ranging from legal to aeronautical engineering.  I called him and advised him there was no way he could do EVERYTHING at Lockheed.

Always remember, one resume does not fit all.  Unless the job descriptions are identical, applying for five jobs with one company will likely require five different resumes.

Job-seeking has changed in recent years.  We are all familiar with the housing industry’s description of buyers and sellers’ markets.   For us, we find ourselves in an employers’ market.  Improve your chances to get noticed by submitting resumes conveying impact.  A resume that conveys proven effectiveness will win out over one that conveys hope and dreams any day of the week.

Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The more often I see job openings offered by our LEAD partners, the more I wonder about the long-term unemployed LEAD candidate.  It is my hope that this person has not given up and remains diligent in the job search.

There are many more employment opportunities available now than were in the fall of 2011.  Once the election is behind us, I predict we will see MANY more employment opportunities.   It doesn’t matter who wins the election, I just believe more openings will materialize.  Another factor in my optimistic outlook is the fact that people who delayed retirement two or three years ago are ready and willing to leave.   I also think employers have identified the head count they really need to get the work done.   I sense employers are just bracing.  I sense they are just waiting to pull the lever to advertise and post job after job after job.   My concern is:  Will the LEAD candidate be prepared to respond to that job opening as SOON as it is posted?   Being prepared NOW is the key.

It appears my communication skills are not as sharp as they used to be.  I’m really burdened about this because I find myself repeating the same job search best practices over and over again.  As a news reporter, I didn’t have any communication issues.  I didn’t have trouble getting points across.  Whether reporting through radio or television, I could get a message across.  I will continue to work on communicating with candidates and applicants, but in the meantime the following points may be better absorbed if they are shared in written form.  Successful candidates of North Texas LEAD will tell you:

  • Your resume must include measurable accomplishments.  Too many resumes read like job descriptions prompting yawns from hiring managers and recruiters.
  • Communicating with LEAD staff at every juncture is critical since you never know if the recruiter who contacted you for an interview today is having lunch with us the next day.
  • Following the instructions associated with the Did You Apply link is key to receiving the heightened endorsement from LEAD.
  • Do not apply for positions you believe you can do—-apply for positions you can prove you can do.
  • Attendance at LEAD’s invitation-only quarterly receptions is for serious job-seekers only with active applications with partners.  These receptions attract candidates from all across the country and may provide the ‘edge’ you need to land that position.
  • Regularly updating your profile to receive job alerts from LEAD partners is the only way you will consistently know what openings exist.

Congratulations to Gretchen Collins, Chris Fox, Andre McEwing and Christy Buie-Nunley who are among 2012 candidates who  have found employment.   Successful candidates will tell you they were diligent, coachable and prepared so that when the right opportunity presented itself, they were ready.

I hope LEAD candidates spend every available moment GETTING READY!

Gyna M. Bivens, President and Executive Director

North Texas Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity