Job Seekers Guide to Resume Reading Software

Make your resume computer friendly if you want to get noticed.

The job outlook is improving, slightly, and in time the economy will improve to the point where companies are going to need to hire new employees. After all, many companies have stayed afloat through this recession by shedding jobs and working the few employees left harder. But eventually, once consumer demand rises, they will have no choice but to increase their payrolls to meet demand. However, many would-be job seekers are going to miss out because of a new way of reading resumes. 

Resume Reading Software
Many larger companies now use what is call parsing software to scan your resume electronically looking for key terms and phrases. If your resume doesn’t have them then you are out of luck. One such software company boasts that it can:
  • Process 25,000+ resumes in one night
  • Extract Resume information and then use it to run Boolean searches
  • Reduce Resume screening process by 80%
The technical jargon may throw you, but the end result is that your resume can be in and out of the queue in less than a second. A standard resume writer’s line used to be that you only had 10 seconds to grab a reader's attention (Heck, I have used it myself- it was true). Now, that has been decreased by a factor of 10!

Keywords are King
All is not lost. There are ways to please both the resume reading software and the human eyes that will eventually read your resume: Keywords.  Resume keywords are the terms that the software will hunt for first. Each job has a unique set of terms that are vital. Knowing what they are is not a straightforward process; it is one part science and one part art. The first thing to do is to look at the actual job listing and dissect the keywords used there.  

Additionally, do some research around the job you want to land. Look up a variety of job descriptions. What do they all have in common? Chances are you have hit on some of the key terms that your resume should include. What is vitally important to understand is that each position is going to have a unique set of words. Long gone are the days when one general resume was all you needed. Today you need a finely targeted resume to send in to each individual job opening.

Keyword Location
For the purpose of the resume reading software it doesn’t matter where your keywords  are on the resume. They can be located in the branding statement, summary, job history etc, as long as they are there. However, if your resume passes the scanner, it will then be read by an HR professional, so placement of keywords ends up being important as well. here is where the old 10 second rule comes back into play. You want a document that will catch a human’s eyes and be easily digestible in about ten seconds.

First, list the most important ones in your summary “above the fold.”  Then when you get down to your job descriptions and details flesh them out. Don’t just say you are an expert in market analysis, show how you have successfully analyzed market which lead to increased profits for your company.  The keyword will make the resume parsing software happy, and the detail will make the HR reader happy. If you can successfully please both, you just may land that interview.

So go out there and start applying for positions, and take advantage of a slowly opening job market. Just be sure each resume you send out is tailored to the opening and has appropriate keywords and details.