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CV Tips - Harvard Business School Study Says Software Overlooks Millions Of Qualified Job Candidates: Here’s How To Fight Back Against The Bots

Posted 28th September 2021 • Written by Jack Kelly on •

A new Harvard Business School report asserts that computer software programs, used by the vast majority of large corporations, are broken. The study says that more than 10 million workers are barred from hiring discussions because of it. The adoption has been widespread. The report said that ATS platforms are utilized by 99% of Fortune 500 companies and 75% of the 760 U.S. employers Harvard surveyed. 

Job seekers have been complaining for years that the applicant tracking system used by businesses is cold, impersonal and overlooks their submissions. It's become viewed as an evil blackbox tool used to prevent people from getting the jobs that they desire. This study seems to corroborate their viewpoint.

The software is used, in part, to rank people relative to the job that they are applying for. The ATS will search for relevant keywords, skills, college degrees, responsibilities, credentials and other factors that would indicate that the hiring manager or internal corporate recruiter would select the person for an interview. With so many résumees and the proliferation of companies using ATS software, it's easy for a job prospect to get lost in the crowd. 

Tailor your résumé to fit the job description. Use the applicable keywords, plus the acronyms that mirror the job description. Avoid applying to too many job listings at one company, as it looks like you're spamming and aren't serious about a specific role.

Include all of your qualifications, professional experience, education, skills, software knowledge, responsibilities, licenses, certificates and all other credentials associated with performing the job. The robots will scour your document for these key phrases, as it relates to the job description.

Investigate the company’s website to ascertain its corporate culture. You want to see how they view themselves and what language,  jargon, buzzwords and phrases they frequently use. The chances are high that the company programmed these types of keywords into its résumé screening software.

Avoid using tables, columns, unusual fonts, headers, footers, graphics or anything that could trip up an artificial intelligence bot that’s reviewing the document. Try not to lie or widely embellish, in an effort to exact revenge on the robots.

A bold move is to hit up the hiring manager or someone who looks like they’d be responsible for the job you want and reach out to them directly on LinkedIn with a personalized note indicating your intentions.

You may have a second or third chance. One you’re in a corporate database, it may remain there for a long time. Internal talent acquisition and human resources may pull your résumé for a job that you're suited for months after you initially applied for the opportunity.

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