Job Search - Understand Employers

Think like an employer

To be successful in your job search campaign you must think like an employer or a recruiter. If you are going to do this right, you need to appreciate the ways that employers sift through the flood of resumes. We call the most common process the screening.

Faced with a pile of hundreds of job applications that recruiters typically receive, a screener would be more then human to give such in-depth attention to every one. In the real world, skim reading of resumes is very much a reality and it is easy to miss crucial information.

Do you know what their objective is?

We can tell you what it is not.

Screeners are nor there to find the best candidate for the job!

What they are looking for is a way to weed out every resume possible. The goal is to present whoever is making the hiring decision with a manageable shortlist of potential candidates - maybe 5 or 10 out of all applications they received. It's a matter of numbers!

What screeners look for?

Well, it depends on how stringent they are. Many will chuck your resume right away if they find any of the following errors:

  • An anonymous address such as "Dear Sir/Madam", "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Recruiter" etc.,
  • Incorrect title, name or company of the person to whom you are writing,
  • Forgetting to include a real person's name,
  • A single, visible spelling or typographical mistake,
  • Any stain or dirt on the document.

How these folks can do this?

You might be wondering how these folks can do this, after you spent so much time putting your job application package together.

The answer is plain and simple - they can afford to because it is a buyer's market.

Employers ask themselves if your skills and work achievements match exactly what they are looking for. They check if your cover letter is concise and targeted to the reader. If you have sent a form letter, you can probably kiss the job good bye. The list of reasons to disqualify you goes on and on.

The new screening technology

If you think the process is bad now, just wait. It is going to get better we think (or worse, depending on your point of view). This new technology could be very helpful to you. It could help you find your next job. We call it an "electronic applicant screening & tracking technology". Most human resources in small, medium and large businesses and organizations are using it.

By using the latest in document imaging technology, they scan your resume into a computer system and keep it "active" for years. The computer can search for just about anything in your resume. You could be qualified and considered for jobs of which you never thought. The computer can make it easier for you to be considered for more jobs and keeps your resume on file, so updating your information is quicker.

Here is how it works

They scan your resume into the computer as an image. Then OCR (optical character recognition) software looks at the image to distinguish every letter and number (characters) and creates a text file (in ASCII format). Then artificial intelligence "reads" the text and extracts important information about you, such as your name, an address, phone number, work history, skills, degrees, achievements, years of experience, education, etc. in the form of key words.

Key words refer to those words and phrases that are used to search of resumes for hits.

A hit is when one of your skills matches a computer search key word.

Why is it important for you to know this?

You have to, because if you want to find a job you need to prepare a resume for the computer to read. You want it to be a "scannable resume". So, the computer system can scan resumes into database and rank them according to the number of resulting hits.

A scannable resume should be clean so the scanner can get a clean image. The scannable resume has standard fonts and crisp, black type (such as a laser printer or typewriter with a new ribbon would produce), so the OCR can recognize every character. In addition, a scannable resume has plenty of key words for the artificial intelligence to extract. More skills and facts (key words) you provide, the more opportunities (hits) you will match or generate.

We are recommending preparing a Key Word Resume especially developed for the above requirements.

Stefan is a writer, webmaster and project engineer at This site contains helpful information on job search and resumes distribution to job recruiters. For more information on international jobs, resumes and cover letters, please visit

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