Who is reading your resume?

 At one time in my life I owned a bead store. Yes, it was called Beadberries, and it held countless beads from tiny seed beads to large and ornate metallic beads. Beads from far away, useful for jewellery and other embellishments.

I advertised in my store for part-time help, and two sisters, frequent shoppers, submitted their resumes. I hired them both. They were terrific!

In a small store, that kind of low key approach is still possible. But in a larger business or a position in which a certain level of skill and knowledge is a necessary prerequisite, this certainly wouldn't work. Besides that was in pre-computerized days so "email your resume" wasn't yet in our lexicon!

Today's ease of application has led to large numbers of applicants. Whether truly interested or not, whether suitably qualified or not, people apply. "Who knows?" they muse.

Obviously HR cannot assign enough staff to review 200 - 500 applicants for each of four jobs open at any one time, for example. Hence, software was developed to rescue beleaguered HR staff from sifting through the mountains of resumes.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are now being used by more and more employers. But do you know what that means to you, the job hunter?

I would say that the answer from most would be a "no." I know this because I see resumes that wouldn't begin to make the grade.

Even knowing some of the peculiarities that characterize ATS resume reading, it's a bit of a gamble.

For example, because I have access to one of these ATS (there are dozens out there), I plunked a client's resume and the job posting in to evaluate how well or poorly the resume scored. By the time I finished tweaking, the resume scored in the "very strong" category.

But here's one of the "partial key words" that the system was looking for that I couldn't accommodate:

"are required assumes"

Mmmhmmm. You're likely thinking "what the (insert your choice of endings!)" and I can't blame you.

These systems are programmed not on logic but on mathematical algorithms. There's no way to score a perfect mark without copying the entire job posting into the resume, which makes it a job posting rather than a resume so of course you wouldn't do that.

The phrase is taken out of context. And in the original posting there was a comma between required and assumes, and so these words were not directly related.

With time these programs will likely be improved, but for now, it's another aspect of the job hunt that is changing, that must be studied or delegated to a professional, but certainly shouldn't be ignored.

The answer to the question - it's not a "who" at all, it's a "what."

- plugging away at job search puzzles, Stephanie