Posts Tagged ‘keywords’

When Resumes are Read by Robots

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

An article in yesterday’s eFinancialCareers (Where to Place Resume Keywords) points out that many resumes are analyzed electronically before a person ever sees them.

This reminds me of a job application I sent out that emphasized my knowledge of ActionScript 3. I thought that was a good choice, because the job description asked for Flash experience, and as eveyone knows, modern Flash developers rely on ActionScript 3.

Of course, it was actually a terrible choice. If the resume and cover letter were being analyzed electronically, the system was probably looking for the keyword Flash, not ActionScript. Even if a real person reviewed it, there’s no telling if someone in HR, or even the hiring manager, is going to equate Flash with ActionScript. It would have been best to include both.

The eFinancialCareers article also mentions industry acronyms. I’m going to borrow again from web lingo: which would be better to use, Search Engine Optimization or SEO? Since there is no guessing what the guardian at the gate is looking for, I would use both. There may be cases where that is unwise–in this example, if you are applying for a position in search engine marketing, a hiring manager might raise an eyebrow that you thought an industry-standard acronym deserved spelling out.┬áBut really, if you cut some of the irrelevant clutter from your resume–I think we all have a bit of that–you should be able to squeeze it in.

The best advice, of course, is to analyze the job description and requirements carefully. Chances are, the way a keyword appears there is what a computer program–or a person–is looking for.

Ever had trouble getting past a machine (or HR) because you couldn’t convince them your skills fit the bill? Let me know in the comments.