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How to Beat the Robots

February 14, 2014

 

Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.

 

 

Why it is so hard to get a response to your resume and what you can do about it?

 

Today's topic will help you to get your resume in front of an actual person and not weeded out by a Robot.  When you and I were young, there were no robots.  Real people reviewed every resume they received in the search for the ideal candidate.  But the way people are hired has changed.  Today, especially very large organizations receive so many resumes a year that it is not practical to have human resources review all of them.  Large companies like Google and Proctor and Gamble receive over a million resumes per year.  In order to get through them all to find the most qualified candidates they enlist help from computer algorithms or Robots to weed out the unqualified candidates before they ever get to a human being. These software programs or Robots take resumes in, split them up and parse them out, search for keywords and rank applicants based on the presence of keywords in the resume.   Having robots do this instead of people not only saves the company time and money, but it is the only efficient way to get find the most qualified candidate when you have to search through the mountain of resumes. 

 

In order to get past the robots, it may be necessary for you to tailor your resume to each position you apply. This means including certain language in your resume.  I would like to give you five tips for beating the Robots through key word optimization and instead having them work for you by advancing your resume to the next step.  Some people call this Key Word Optimization but I call it ‘How to beat the Robots’ or have the robots work for you.    

 

Is there anything more frustrating or confusing than writing a resume?

 

You spend hours perfecting every word, agonizing over what to include, and trying to decipher all the conflicting advice you’ve had from friends and family and web articles and so-called ‘experts’ (most of whom don’t seem to agree). But when you’re finally done and you send your resume off for the perfect job, what do you hear back?

 

Crickets! 

 

No response.

 

No-one calls.

 

No-one writes. And you’re left wondering what’s wrong with you. 

 

The good news is that you’re not the problem.

 

The problem is the system. And the fact that you don’t yet understand it. You haven’t yet had a peek behind the curtain to understand how hiring decisions are actually made. Once you understand that, everything else will fall into place. You’ll be able to easily write a resume that gets a response. And that’s true no matter what your level, background or industry.

 

So I would like to begin this section by trying to give you a clear picture of exactly why it’s so difficult to get a response to your applications, and exactly what you need to do to catapult your resume into the lead.

 

 

 

The best candidates are not the ones who get hired. 

 

I have been interviewing people for over 25 years.  Before becoming a coach, I interviewed hundreds of people. I don’t fool myself that I always found the best candidate. What I found were the candidates with the best resumes.

 

They didn’t necessarily have the strongest backgrounds. They didn’t always have the perfect experience. But they did know how to present their resumes in order to do two things:

 

a) pass the automated screening systems or Robots

 

b) appeal directly to the concerns of the hiring manager

 

Today we are going to focus on this first point, Passing the automated screen or beating the robots. 

 

Let’s think about a situation in which you need to find a candidate who can who can solve your social medial related issues.  You will of course respond immediately to resumes that address this concern and offer the promise of making big improvements to your current situation. You won’t even hesitate.

 

Mary is the perfect candidate but she didn’t even get the interview her.  Let’s find out what happened. 

 

Mary is 25 and has been working on social media marketing for the last few years. It’s only part of her job currently (she is executive assistant to the marketing manager) but she’d like to make it full-time. She’s excited when she sees the posting and she has all the necessary skills.

 

She quickly sends off a copy of her resume without edits because she wants to be the first in line for the job.

 

Then she waits and waits. And waits.

 

Eventually she tries phoning, but she’s told that HR has already notified all the candidates for interview, and she isn’t among them.

 

What went wrong?

 

She is smart, hardworking, creative and really good at what she does. She would have whipped his social media marketing processes into shape within 2 months, and sales would have grown as a direct result.

 

The problem is that her resume didn’t show that. It didn’t contain the same words as the job description or the buzzwords that they were looking for.  It never even got in front of the hiring manager. 

 

The morale of this story is that, when it comes to resume writing, the most important person is not you. It’s the hiring manager.  And you need to position yourself to get in front of them.  And to do that you need to give them what they want. 

 

 

 

Beating the Robots

 

I want to show you how you can get past the automated systems that have been screening you out even when you have all the right qualifications.

 

This won’t be the usual resume advice about choosing power words and beginning with an objective – this will be high octane stuff that once you understand and apply it, will allow you to take your career to the next level.

If you’ve ever applied for a job online, you’ve probably come across those automated resume screening systems where you have to enter all your details into a web form and perhaps answer some job-related questions.  Or you may know that when you send a resume by email, it is often stored in a computer system and then retrieved using a keyword search.

 

But you might not understand exactly how these systems work.  There are many different systems but they all work on some basic principles. The first and most important to understand is keyword searches.

 

When you upload your resume to a system, or when a recruiter uploads the resume you sent by email, it is scanned for keywords relating to the open position.

These keywords are programmed in by the recruiter or HR rep.  So for example, may tell the system to look for resumes that contain the words social media, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, content marketing, and blog.

 

If you resume contains these keywords, it passes to the next stage.

 

In some cases, this means it arrives in the recruiter’s inbox for review. In other cases, the system also used pre-programmed questions to further filter the resumes. So you may be asked to answer questions such as ‘how many years of social media marketing experience do you have?

 

As the recruiter or hiring manager, I want to find the very best person for the job. But perhaps the very best person forgot to include the words ‘content marketing’ on her resume. Despite the fact that she actually has the required experience, she won’t make it past my filter and I therefore lose out.  Despite their imperfections, Robots or resume screening systems are here to stay.

So what can you do?

 

There’s a surprisingly easy answer
 

In most cases, the employer is telling you everything you need to know in order to beat the system. It’s right there in the job description.

 

Take the job posting, highlight all the skills and qualifications as well as the important job responsibilities, and then use those words as my keywords.

 

Each one would be weighted differently depending on importance, and some were optional rather than mandatory, but all could be found right there in the job description. You may recall we worked about word clouds and using Legendary Resumes.com to create a word cloud of both your resume and the Job Description to see if there is a fit.  Once you do that you will gain an understanding and see if you would hire yourself.

 

That means the secret to beating these systems is to simply learn as much as you can about the job opportunity, and then check your resume to make sure you’ve included as many of the keywords as possible. If you’re missing some, look for places to insert them. It doesn’t matter which order you place them in, or where they appear on the resume, as long as they are there.

 

Adapt your resume each time you apply and you will beat the automated systems and instantly increase the number of interviews you get.

 

 

Tip 1: Identify and Integrate Matching Language

 

Refer to the job posting or job description and identify common words and phrases. You need to integrate these words into your resume. You’ll likely find it easiest to include matching language in the summary, or experience section of your resume. If you’re having trouble identifying the most common words in a posting and /or job description, try ‘cloudifying’ the text.  This is where you create a ‘cloud’ from the text that reveals the most common words.   You can do this by going to Legendary Resumes (www.legendaryresumes.com) or using any other cloud program you may know

 

 

Tip 2: Identify and Integrate Buzzwords

 

You can do this by visiting the target company’s website and navigating to their About Page. There, look for words and phrases that are specific to their industry or the organization. There also may be words there that give you a clue as to their corporate culture which can be very helpful.  Integrate those words wherever possible in your resume. One of the easiest ways to do this is in your summary section – for example, “I am interested in {buzzwords}…”

 

 

Tip 3: Modify Titles if Appropriate

 

to match the job description. For example, if you were a summer intern somewhere and you’re now looking for an editing role, it might be helpful (if appropriate, to change your job title to something like Editing Intern, that’s an easy win and it will help you beat the robots.

 

 Tip 4: Include Relevant Softwares

 

Search the target company and industry using their name + “software” in a search engine. Look for the names of software packages that are specific to the industry or that organization. If you don’t know how to use those software packages yet, consider taking a free tutorial (for example on YouTube) of those software packages and include the name of the software in the technical segment of your resume. You’ll likely want to follow that software package with parenthesis if you’re not an advanced user, like this: Stata (basic). If this comes up in an interview, you should tell the recruiter that you understand that the software package is important to the organization so you wanted to learn about it, but that you’re not an experienced user. 

 

 Tip 5: Take a Keyword Audit

 

Once again, you should head to the internet to cloudify the content of your resume. Then you’ll be able to see which words in your resume are most prevalent.  Then compare this to the other cloud you created of the job summary.  Comparing the two should be illuminating.  Once you compare what you have with what you need to have, can make the necessary adjustments.  Cloudifying is a great way to gain insight into what you look like to the world and what the world is looking for in terms of current trends in that field.  It helps you to identify important words to the company and match them with those same words in your resume.  Don’t forget to use some Platinum Power Impact words that you should be using both in your resume and interviews.  There are six groups of words which are Powerful allies in your job search.  The groups are Achievement Words, Gave Opinion Words, Made Words, Made Better Words, Managed Words, and Other Important words which should be part of your vocabulary. 

 

So this is Greg from Platinum Method Coaching.  At Platinum Method Coaching we help professionals find meaning and success in their lives by aligning talents with their Passions enabling them to realize their full potential.   If you have any questions, you can drop me a line at Greg@ PlatinumMethodCoaching.com or call me at (800) 217-7113  Until next time, remember, Well done is better than well said! So let’s make it a Great Day!   

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