Resume screening software programs are the computer programs large companies use to initially sort through the huge numbers of resumes they receive for any given job advertisement. If you have ever submitted a resume online or filled in an online job application form then chance are your details have been through an online screening process.
That means, before your resume gets anywhere near a HR manager, it will be filtered by resume screening software which reads your resume, and then ranks and scores your qualifications vs. the job description.
Resumes who do not score well are dismissed and only those resumes which score well move on to the first round of job interviews. For you to have any chance at being invited in for a job interview, you need to understand how resume screening software works and how to get past the obstacles the screening software presents.
How Does Resume Screening Software Work?
- All the resumes submitted are run through a resume screening program, which removes the styling from the resume and breaks the text down into characters, words or phrases which can then be analysed.
- The screening program then sorts all that basic content into different categories for things like background, education, qualification, work experience, personal interests etc…
- The results of the sorting are then analysed for keywords that are most relevant to the role and company. These keywords would be selected by the employer and be closely related to the job description and job requirements.
- Each resume is given a score based on how relevant it is to the employers search terms and your years of experience.
- Low scoring resumes are removed from the process and high scoring resumes proceed to the next step.
Can I Avoid Resume Screening Software?
The short answer – No. It’s unlikely you can avoid resume screening software if you are applying for a role in any medium to large size company. The Wall Street Journal’s article on Your Resume vs Oblivion states that the percentage of large companies using resume screening programs is in the high 90’s and growing.
You could trying searching online and using LinkedIn to find the names of the people the role reports into. Maybe you know them, or know off them, or you could just try sending them your resume directly. Even so, your best bet is to learn how to make sure the resume screening software chooses your resume every time.
Top Tips For Getting Noticed By Resume Screening Software
- One Resume One Role – Make sure you customize each resume for the specific job description. Generic resumes are a waste of your time, they will be filtered out immediately. Use relevant, targeted keywords that fit the role and be very specific . Do not use generic words like Online Marketing, refer to the specific title e.g. Digital Strategy Manager
- Get the Keywords Right – It might be tempting to look for all the important keywords in the job description and use them over and over in your resume but that won’t actually work. Use job description keywords cautiously throughout the resume plus industry accepted terms. Use full descriptions and acronyms, you don’t know which the software prefers.
- Use Bullet Points not Paragraphs – This is good for the screening software and good for any human who reads your resume too. Bullet points are easier to digest.
- Software Friendly Fonts – According to Business Insider Australia you should stay aware from fancy or script fonts. Keep your font size at 11 points or more and select a basic easy to read font like Arial, Calibri, Tahoma or Verdana. For some strange reason Times Roman and Cambria don’t always seem to screen very well, so they should be avoided.
Things that Resume Screening Software Hates
- No Information in the Header or Footer – Most screening software ignores any information contained in the header or footer. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of applicants put their postal address. Make sure you have no information in the header or footer and include your address in the resume itself. Some screening software eliminates any resumes without an address.
- No Photos, Images, Logos, Tables or other Graphics – Images and graphics confuse the screening software which makes it more likely the software will reject your resume. Do not format any information into a table because that will make it unreadable to the software.
- No Resume Templates – Use a standard word document and save it as a .doc format. The screening software does not like pdf or jpg formats.
- No Spelling Mistakes – The software ignores words not spelled correctly plus a human being will read it eventually and spelling errors just look bad.
Resume screening software is a fact of life for applicants in the job search process today. Your best bet is to understand the way the process works and use the practical tips above to help you get your resume seen by the hiring managers.