Words to the Wise

July 6, 2022

The Rise of the Robots: Rebooting Your Resume to Battle Back – July 6, 2022

Just last month, word began to spread that a Google engineer claimed that an AI program had become “sentient.” In other words, the language dialogue application under development somehow became aware of its own existence and freely expressed its own original thoughts in subsequent chatbot conversations.  

Potentially mind-altering evidence of the science fiction kind.

If … it didn’t already exist altering outcomes on the job front.

As it stands, applicant tracking systems (ATS) read approximately 75 percent or more of submissions before they are read by a human. The algorithms search for patterns in language that reflect those in the job postings themselves, screening out lesser candidates and passing on the better ones for further review. That changes the landscape, particularly in the sense that machines aren’t swayed by buzzwords or cliches.

That said, they most certainly be thrown-off by them.

And … leave even the best-of-the-batch lost in space.

Far better to use the plainest, most straightforward language you can, so the robot can identify whether or not what you do matches what the employer is looking for. Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to keep your resume in the running:

  • Recruiters rely on ATS software. Today, approximately 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use it to streamline their recruiting processes—the trend now extending to companies of all shapes and sizes.

  • Keywords are the gatekeepers. An ATS scans resumes for the presence of specific and relevant keywords typically present in the job description. It also assigns value for any given skill according to the duration of the corresponding position in which it appears.

  • Function over format, fancy fonts. A professionally written resume should be free of distracting graphics, charts, and images. The ATS can’t read them. More importantly, the more complex the design of a resume, the more likely its contents will get scrambled down the line.

  • Select an ATS-friendly file type. Word documents generally work best, except in cases where a PDF is specifically requested. To test out the theory, try converting your resume from Word into a plain-text file. If the result mirrors the original, you’re on the right track.

  • Mind your “headers” and “footers.” Studies show that contact information and other important details placed inside the header and/or footer fail to be read by a full quarter of applicant tracking systems.

Clearly a case for substance over style, the purpose of the resume is simply to punch your ticket to the second round of decision-making. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean a boring resume is best. At RP, our certified professional resume writers (CPRWs) can help you punch-up your resume into a hard-hitting document of personal brand value.

In the months ahead, computer automation in the job search will only grow more pervasive and omnipresent. No doubt the days when AI programming will conduct the first job interview aren’t that far off; but, until they arrive, it only helps to master the language now.

You might even find your next job in the translation.

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