Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WSJ Wednesdays - Second Edition

In this second edition of WSJ Wednesday, I read an article that concerns America's workforce. Found on the front page of the Marketplace section and continued on page B6, "Your Résumé vs. Oblivion," by Lauren Weber discusses companies using software to sift through job applications.

Applicant tracking systems seem to be norm these days. According to the article, Ed Struzik, an International Business Machines Corp. expert on the systems, says it would be hard to find a Fortune 500 not using one. Knowing that an application is being scanned for "keywords, former employers, years of experience and schools attended," and ranking qualifications solely upon that information, means a potential applicant might not even get a call for a job she could be qualified for if she doesn't craft her résumé in a way that has knowledge of how these tracking systems work. The article also mentions other flaws of these systems, though it also mentions they are not wiping out human screeners entirely, only narrowing a field that is flooded with people eager for work in a weak market.

I have two books here that I plan to review hopefully next month at The Book ConnectionUnbeatable Résumés by Tony Beshara and Cracking the New Job Market by R. William Holland. Scanning the table of contents on each, Beshara's book contains information on these tracking systems and keywords, and Holland's book mentions keywords. Now that I am looking for a job outside my home, I better brush up on how to attract a potential employer in this technology driven market.

How do you feel about the use of applicant tracking systems? How long has it been since you crafted a résumé? Are you afraid your qualifications could be overlooked if you submit an online résumé without knowing how these tracking systems work?

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