Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 1:48 pm | Fair 67º


John Daly: How Résumé Bots Are Hazardous to Your Job Search

Did you know that 75 percent of online résumés get thrown out? (Source:

Because of the increased applications in today’s job market, employers and hiring managers are utilizing résumé-screening software more than ever. Known as Applicant Tracking Systems or Automated Résumé Screeners, these systems often eliminate applicants before human eyes ever see their résumés. It's important to know how these systems work so you can make your résumé more relevant to the job for which you're applying, wouldn’t you agree?

Here's a brief overview of how the software analyzes your résumé and what you can do about it.

How ATS or ARS Work

» HR receives your résumé, along with hundreds of others.

» Your résumé is run through a Parser — a computer program that removes style and breaks down text into recognized strings of characters for future analysis.
The Parser assigns meaning to resume content — education, skills, work experience, contact info.

» The system uses Keywords to search candidates.

» Matching terms are searched from the results collected.

» Your résumé is scored based on relevancy. Relevancy takes into account semantic matching of employer search terms and the applicant’s years of experience. John Applicant might get a 98 percent match compared to James Applicant’s 94 percent match.

» If you score among the highest applicants, you might get a call from HR to schedule an interview.

» Résumés are not optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems’ lack of critical keywords and risk never being seen by a human being.


This makes it essential for you to include the right keywords from the job description. Rather than just gather them and flood the résumé with job description keywords, it is important to use a strategy. So what’s the strategy?

» Don’t just focus on the keywords in the job description. Go beyond those. Lifehacker suggests: not just CPA, but also accounting, audits, SEC, financial statements, etc.

» Prioritize résumé keywords from the job title and description and use them several times. Next, use brand-name experience, competitors and industry qualifications like association membership and specific training.

» If you know someone who is an employer in your field, ask him or her to review your résumé or suggest types of experience/skills that are preferred in a job applicant. If you don’t, create a LinkedIn profile, and then connect with someone in a position such as you would like to have. Ask for advice on type of experience/skills needed for the job.

» Since résumé bots analyze your years of experience, place that information throughout the résumé, for all your previous positions where it is appropriate.

» Because companies want specialists and not generalists, identify a category match. Create a separate section in the top third of your résumé that states the relevant category expertise, says Lifehacker suggests a specific category would be: Client Relationship Management, Revenue Growth, Risk Management Negotiation, CRM Program Development. Not general categories like Management, Operations, Communications or Marketing.

» Don’t write in paragraphs. Use bullet points to describe your work. It's more difficult for both screeners and the human eye to separate long paragraphs. Make sure you prioritize bullet points in descending order of relevancy for the job.

» Don’t use background images and your photo. They make the résumé unreadable.

» Because some résumé screeners use other sources to check up on you, use social networks to align with what is on your résumé.

» Make sure the résumé includes all the job requirements. And proofread everything!

Your goal is to get your résumé into the hands of a real human being!

More Information

Sites like use technology to help employers find the best candidates. Check out: Monster’s Power Resume Search Test Drive.

Social Life Skills 101

Want the Keys to lifelong success for your children? The Key Class will teach them Social Life Skills 101!

Register your child for The Key Class today! Just four classes — on table manners, meet and greet, respect and making others at ease with them. For those seeking jobs, we’ll teach how to create résumés and cover letters!

Held from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1535 Santa Barbara St.

Click here to register online, or contact John Daly at 805.452.2747
 or [email protected].

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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