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How to AI-proof your resume

Hiring is a time-consuming process, so more companies are relying on applicant tracking systems. Here are some tips on how to get your resume past the machines.

How to AI-proof your resume
[Images: Vimeo-Free-Videos/Pixabay; Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash]

Today, conversations around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and work centers on what jobs they’ll take away from humans. AI’s role in influencing whether you get a job in the first place tends to receive less attention. Yet more companies are leveraging AI for talent recruitment, particularly in the initial rounds of the hiring process.

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Anyone who has ever been in charge of hiring people knows just how time consuming it can be. When a single position attracts hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes, there’s no time to sift through them all. As a result, organizations are relying increasingly on programs that harness machine learning-based algorithms to automate initial resume reviews. This way, hiring managers will only see the most relevant candidates. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 67% of HR professionals said that technology is helping them save time. A majority also reported that AI is a valuable tool for sourcing, screening, and nurturing candidates.

For job seekers, the upshot of this new reality is that you need to make your resume as AI-friendly as possible. Yes, different companies use various AI systems that utilize different algorithms and prioritize different criteria. But by focusing on a few key components, you’ll boost the chances of your resume making it past the machine and to the hiring managers. Here are the three steps that you should take to make sure that your resume passes any applicant tracking system.

1. Focus on your skills

One of the best aspects of using an AI platform is the chance to focus on the metrics that matter–your skills. That’s why it’s crucial that you list them in a way that the tracking system will understand.

That means listing known skills like SQL, accounting, or graphic design rather than phrases like “leadership” or “the ability to work under pressure.” Be explicit with what skills you’re referring to. If you know how to balance the books, don’t say “I work magic with money.” Instead, write “accounting.”

Soft skills are essential, but when you’re talking to a machine, get real about what you’re skilled in. That way, it can assess if you’re relevant for the job at hand. Rather than putting down leadership as a skill, show your experience by listing managerial or project lead experiences.

The same goes for titles–stick to professions that are likely known to AI systems. Cut out company-specific terms and references. If you want to include this information, you can leave it in your resume to discuss with your manager later. Just understand that it likely won’t carry the weight you’d expect it to, depending on the AI system. If you want to emphasize seniority, add words like “lead” or “senior” and leave out vague abbreviations or numerical values.

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Finally, lead innovator or ninja developer may be hot buzzwords, but they don’t convey what you do in your role. Try titles that express what you do like java developer, financial director, or HR manager.

2. Skip the personal statement

Another unique aspect of AI is that it is not influenced by schmoozing. You can’t charm machines by writing out a lengthy witty summary at the top of your resume. All it will do is process them as words.

That’s not to say you can’t have a summary at the top, but you should try to keep them to one or two lines maximum. Also, understand that this will only come into play after your resume has already passed through the tracing system. The challenge is showing that you’re a relevant candidate for the open position and ensuring that your resume gets past the machine and into human hands.

3. Customize your resume to the job at hand–but don’t get carried away

Many people think they should mimic the language in a job description directly onto their resume. To an extent, customization is great. But don’t be tricked by using non-standard descriptions of skills, experiences, and professions because you read it in a job description. The HR or hiring manager who wrote the job description is not the same person who coded their matching algorithms, so stick to the guidelines above and keep it standard.

If you see specific skills and experiences listed in the job description, make sure that you weave it in your resume. In general, you should strive to have a resume that is straightforward and doesn’t require any guesswork. Some AIs are sophisticated enough not to need this, but it’s worth the effort to try to ensure that your resume matches the specifics outlined in the job posting.

As AI becomes a normal part of the modern workplace, candidates should think of the algorithm as the first “individual” to impress, before hiring managers, direct supervisors, and organizational leaders. There’s no need to be intimidated. When you optimize your resume for the algorithm, you’ll be far more likely to stand out from the crowd and get your resume into the hands of hiring managers.

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Ben Reuveni is the CEO and cofounder of Gloat and its InnerMobility Platform.

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