More and more hiring managers are using artificial intelligence to screen job applications. A guide to help you get past the software gatekeepers
With appraisal season upon us, employees across the country are both nervous and excited. The annual performance review in most cases determines the future course of action: either stay with the current employer or move forward to further career goals.
The start of the financial year also means new opportunities for people who want to enter the labor market.
In today's competitive world, catching the hiring manager's attention is a tall order. A well-drafted CV is useful to make the right first impression. But with so many formats and various conflicting recommendations available today, where do you even start?
The premise and most essential point is to be as authentic as possible, says Yadhu Kishore Nandikolla, head of human resources at Hyderabad-based MassMutual India, an IT services and consultancy firm. Never be superficial in resumes; “It is a document that speaks on your behalf to your potential employer and provides sufficient reasons why you should be hired. So it is imperative to represent the true 'you',” he says.
While many employees believe that preparing a resume is possible in a few hours, this is not the best way forward as many companies are now using artificial intelligence systems to wade through hundreds of resumes to find the candidates who are a good fit for them.
How do you ensure that your CV is noticed and remembered?
THE ROLE OF KEYWORDS
Since employers receive over hundreds of resumes, it's easy to miss yours, but not if you include relevant keywords, says Bhakti Talati, a Mumbai-based resume coach.
“Keywords are words, short sentences and expressions related to the requirements of the job. Read the job descriptions carefully and highlight the important keywords. List them under three heads: skills, responsibilities and qualifications. To be considered a match, the keywords must be written exactly as in the job description,” she says. For example, if an individual has “content writer” as a keyword on their resume, but a company uses “content creator” instead, this is not considered a match. “To identify additional keywords, visit the company website and LinkedIn page to better understand their values and how they describe themselves,” she suggests. “Click on the profiles of the company's employees and look for similar positions you are applying for. Industry-specific language and terminology also count as keywords.”
Srikanth Reddy, manager (talent acquisition) at Hyderabad-based software company Progress, urges employees to think twice before unnaturally stuffing keywords into their resumes.
It's all about finding a balance, he says. “Focus on authentic integration within your experiences and achievements,” he adds. “By reading through some relevant job postings, you can identify keywords that are essential to the position. Employers will clearly set out their criteria and list the primary and desired skills in the job description.”
Mentioning your responsibilities and personal interests in the CV is no longer sufficient. To stand out, you have to show your worth, says Talati. “Add numerical data every three sentences to show the impact. Use one or two leadership-oriented words every five sentences. Describe your work performance using different action verbs,” she says. “Don't just mention what you've accomplished, create context by explaining how you can solve business problems. Write your stories using the S-Situation, T-Task, A-Action and R-Result method. It is not enough to list your victories, you must also explain how and why they are relevant.”
Reddy agrees and gives an example. If someone is applying for a sales job, hiring managers will be interested in sales quota achieved or annual net retention revenue. “It is important to tailor your CV to the job description, focusing on relevant skills and experience. Additionally, thorough proofreading is crucial for clarity, conciseness and professionalism,” he says.
FOCUS ON SIZES
While keywords and action words help make the right choice, there is a recurring debate about the right format for a resume. Should it be clear and simple? Or do video resumes work better to attract attention? With the existence of a multi-generational workforce, the answer is not so simple. According to PwC's 2022 Global Workforce Hopes And Fears Survey, 54% of India's workforce consists of millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), 26% of Gen and 2010). , and 5% are baby boomers (between 1946 and 1964) – each has its strengths and USPs.
“While millennials often prefer simplicity in resume design, dynamic Gen Zers prefer video resumes,” says Nandikolla. “The choice between traditional and modern formats depends on the industry and personal preferences.”
For a customized approach, candidates should tailor their resume to both the position and their unique experience. Using data points that highlight successes adds a quantitative dimension.
“A video CV can be used to profile your work and is a creative way to show some of your achievements, but it is not a necessary step if you have the key qualifications and show some of your areas of interest and soft skills that appeal to your interests. potential cultural fit in the CV,” says Nandikolla.
Talati has a few tips for employees to choose the right format for their resume. “Experience level is a key factor,” says Talati. “A combination CV is ideal to get noticed during a career transition or industry change. You can send a short video explaining what prompted you to make the switch.”
In the case of experienced professionals, the reverse chronological resume works well. They should focus on showing the impact of their work, rather than listing everything they have accomplished, Talati says. “To further impress recruiters, consider adding information about your social network, language skills, evidence of continuous learning, awards and recognition, volunteer experience and relevant projects. These additional details provide a more comprehensive picture of your skills and suitability for the position,” says Umesh Bamel, Associate Professor (Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management), International Management Institute, New Delhi.
Finally, while using artificial intelligence tools to write a resume has its benefits, it is important to take a closer look at other aspects. “For example, is the content generic or does it meet the needs of the position? Is your personality reflected in the content? Use tools like ChatGPT to improve your sentences, but it is wise to check the relevance of tone and language,” says Talati.
Putting everything together for an ideal resume can be an overwhelming process. That's why it always helps to get an outside perspective. Consider asking a friend or mentor to read your resume before you hit the submit button.
Geetika Sachdev is a writer and journalist.