Knowhow-Now Article

Get Your Revenge On Resume Robots!

Getting your CV read by a human is a challenge. Your CV must be better than hundreds of others from other well qualified applicants in order to get you the all important interview. Worse yet, these days, many employers and recruiters use computerized scanning systems to check your CV is worth reading by a human recruiter. The result of this is that many good applications are wasted because they were not optimized for computer scanning systems called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

At least 90% of Fortune 500 companies use these 'rejection machines' to crush the dreams of aspiring professionals around the world. You want to make sure that the best candidate (YOU!) get the right jobs and so here's some tips to get you that all important interview.

How To Beat The System

You can fight back, hack the system and beat those resume robots at their own game, projecting your CV right to the top of the pile and here's how it is done!

In order to beat the robots we need to know how they work. Oddly enough ATS systems work in a similar way to search engines such as Google. They identify keywords, assess their relevance, give the keywords a score and by doing so give the whole CV a score. Finally the highest scoring resumes are presented to the recruiters for their consideration. So, in essence, all that the automated system is concerned with is the correlation of the buzzwords and keywords that you use with the specification of the job as designed by the recruiter.

The CV scanning process works something like this:

1: Your CV is scanned by a parser which removes all styling from the CV and breaks the text into recognizable words and phrases.

2: The text is now sorted into categories such as education, skills, experience, contact information.

3: The recruiter's set of desired skills and keywords is matched up with the results from your CV.


4: Your CV is rated for its relevancy, this process uses semantic matches with the recruiters list of keywords and the amount of your experience.

Obviously this makes it vitally important to include relevant keywords in your CV but you need to go further than simply mirroring the keywords used in the job ad or description because everybody will be doing that!

No, to rise above the crowd you need to go a little further.

How The CV Hack Works

Look beyond the keywords in the job description.

1: Look for related terms and synonyms 

For example, instead of 'corporate lawyer' think 'business lawyer', as well as CPA include accounting, financial statements. There are online tools that can help with this such as Resunate:

2: Ask an expert to find relevant keywords

Look at relevant profiles on LinkedIn, ask for suggestions in relevant industry group LinkedIn forums. You could even ask a friendly employer or HR manager in your field.

3: Prioritize your CV's keywords

Top priority keywords are those used in the job title, the job description headline, used more than a couple of times and listed as success criteria.

Second priority keywords might include competing businesses, industry training qualifications, industry association memberships.

4: Use your listed keywords through your CV.

Place the keywords, in appropriate locations, through your CV, in as many previous job positions as possible. When using bullet points order them in order of descending relevance to the job description.

5: Use bulleted points

Wherever possible use prioritised bullet point lists, they make it easier for scanners to parse your CV and are easier to read for humans as well. Also, by avoiding paragraphs as far as possible you will increase the density of your relevant keywords which may increase your CV's relevancy and score.

6: Don't use photographs in your CV

Some CV scanners are not very good at dealing with images and get confused by them - avoid using photos!

7: Remember the basics

Make sure that you have filled out all the required info correctly, that spelling and grammar are perfect and that you have addressed all the job requirement criteria.

Interview Grabbing Success Is Yours!

You are on the way to being an expert CV hacker able to beat the resume robots at their own game, good luck with your job hunting endeavors.

From Around The Web

How To Hack Your Job Search:

Applicant Tracking Systems VS the Functional Resume:

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