Playing the Résumé Game

3 Feb

Technological trends have greatly altered job searches and company recruiting. College students like me can now apply for any internship with just a few clicks of the mouse. Therefore, staggering amounts of applications flow into recruiters’ offices.

The Wall Street Journal investigated the means by which companies review thousands of applications. The Journal reported that, “Many large and midsize companies have turned to applicant-tracking systems to search résumés for the right skills and experience.” Previously, such systems scanned résumés into a computer database and tracked candidates through the hiring process. Now, the applicant-tracking system reviews résumés for qualifications and keywords in order to eliminate unqualified applicants. With the help of the applicant-tracking system, a recruiter may review only around half of the applications submitted for a job or internship. The cost to pay recruiters to review every single résumé is very high, so companies use this applicant-tracking system to narrow the pool of applicants.

What a Difference a Word Makes

Now, sentence structure and word choice in an applicant’s résumé is more important with the improvements of the applicant-tracking system. The system determines which applicants are most qualified for the job based on work experience, word usage, diction, and proper grammar.

In addition to increased résumé composition scrutiny, a large supply of talented applicants creates competition to get hired for jobs and internships. On a résumé, an applicant’s description of his or her work experience can turn from sounding like a miniscule task to an important undertaking by simply using a more impressive verb. This simple word change could determine whether an applicant interviews with a company or not. As a result, specialized writing is essential for applicants to distinguish themselves. Applicants must tailor their résumés based specifically on the job description, because the applicant-tracking system looks for specific phrases and words that pertain to the job. With this knowledge, applicants can shape their résumés to showcase how they meet the qualifications required in the job description and increase the likelihood of landing an interview.

by Mark Donatelli



One Response to “Playing the Résumé Game”

  1. Chris Morehouse February 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    This really seems to do a disservice to those who apply. An applicant may have a very unique and useful skill or experience that gets passed over. This was a very interesting article and find.

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