In the past, we used to write our resumé to persuade the person reading it that we were the most suitable candidate for the job. Nowadays, advances in technology force us to convince someone else first. A robot that screens your document using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Yes, today, your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is more likely to be discarded by a machine than reviewed by the eyes of a human recruiter. Are we aware of technology’s impact on how we write our Curriculum Vitae (CV)? Are we educating our students with this up-to-date knowledge to help them get the job? Educational systems should provide students with updated tools and training to better navigate the labor market.
Applying for a job today is much simpler than it used to be. You access a website (such as a Job Portal), fill in a few details, upload your CV and you are done. While this is very convenient for applicants, it poses a challenge for recruiters: How to process a skyrocketing number of CVs that yields a poor ratio of suitable candidates? Today the answer is being provided by technology. Given such a waste rate, Companies find very convenient to delegate the operational process of reviewing CVs to a machine (or artificial intelligence, A.I.), allowing (human) recruiters to process a smaller and more manageable number of applications.
These filtering robots, however, are not perfect. They have limitations and biases. They cannot interpret certain objects. They are too predictable. Let us see how applicants can take advantage of this knowledge to better position themselves and connect with better job opportunities.
Recommendations to take advantage of the new recruitment and develop a winning CV
1. Be text-friendly: This suggestion may seem counterintuitive as we naively believe that a valid way to draw attention is to add attractive visual elements to our CV. Consider, however, that vast majority of CV filtering systems operate on the textual content of the documents they review. Avoid including images, icons, graphics, or illustrations. Any of these elements could disturb the robot’s reading and lead to your document being prematurely discarded.
2. Keep it simple: AI robots are set up to mimic human thinking. One of the rules of approach they use to recognize components within a CV is to first identify its structure. Avoid those that contain columns, floating elements, headers, footers, or tables (even if they are borderless). Any of these objects can obstruct the automatic reading of your document. Headings should be distinguishable from regular text. Use capitalization and space to break up sections.
3. Match it: Companies already have a preconceived idea of what they want to find in the ideal candidate. Where to find it? Study the Job Description and discover its most relevant terms and expressions (keywords). The AI robot will do the same and compare it with what you have in your CV. If you have those keywords, repeat them in your CV. Literally. No abbreviations or synonyms. In the same vein, you can give a light touch by renaming your positions according to what the job description calls for, if they are truly equivalent and do not detract from the nature of the position.
4. Stand out: Your CV serves to convince you are the best candidate. Therefore, state what distinguishes you from the rest. One of the most common mistakes is to cram your CV with long lists of past responsibilities. Each line begins with “Responsible for” or “In charge of”. Robots may exclude those lines from their analysis since “being in charge” of an activity does not provide evidence that you fulfilled it.
Responsibilities do not differentiate you. Other candidates are applying for the same position as you because you share the same career path and therefore the same positions. Do not waste space describing your common roles, use it to highlight what makes you different: Your job accomplishments. An achievement is the result of an action. AI bots scan the document looking for your action verbs to infer your skills and compare them to what the position requires.
5. Validate it with AI: Before you apply, ask a job recruiter to review your resume. If you do not know one, AI can come to your rescue. By applying the same algorithms used by the corporate filters we have discussed here, Doctor CV can find errors on your CV and teach you how to better present your professional and academic skills in just 10 seconds.
Today’s labor market requires people to acquire digital skills to effectively write a CV to pass AI’s screening. Just as Digital Marketing professionals have developed SEO practices to make a Website appear better ranked in a search, the same opportunity applies today for job applicants. I call it “SCO”, or Search Candidate Optimization. Our hope is that techniques showed here serve to teach a digital skill to connect you with emerging practices of the 21st Century.
Giancarlo Raicovi is the founder of Doctor CV and an entrepreneur awarded for his innovative spirit by private firms and the governments of Peru and Chile. He is an employability expert and a special guest in our blog series about the development of #skills21 in Latin America and the Caribbean.