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#InfographicInspiration: What Do Robots Think?

#InfographicInspiration: What Do Robots Think? published on 15 Comments on #InfographicInspiration: What Do Robots Think?

This week, I am sharing resources that will help you with your resumes, cover letters, and other job application materials, based on a request included in the midterm evaluations you submitted.

One of the sad truths about the job search is that sometimes you get rejected by someone who does not more than glance at your resume. Worse yet, you can get rejected without a human ever looking at your resume.

Today’s infographic from invites you to “Meet the Robots Reading Your Résumé” and provides some details on how to prepare your job application materials so that the robots like them.

Meet the Robots Reading Your Resume - An infographic by HireRight

You can read more in Beat the Robots: How to Get Your Resume Past the System & Into Human Hands from The Muse, and
Applicant Tracking Systems and Your Resume from Menlo Partners Staffing.

Note: This infographic needs a text-based transcript. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.



I never really thought about how a possible “robot” could be the one looking at my resume that I have submitted online. However, with the way that technology is getting (more and more advanced) it makes sense for robots to read resumes, especially for large companies like Google who receive a lot of applications every day. I found it surprising though that 95%+ of larger companies use application tracking systems (ATSs). A part of me doesn’t like the idea of this because sometimes the ATSs might kick your application out of the stack just because of something minor formatting wise. I would feel like I just wasted time submitting the application because sometimes it takes up to an hour to fill out an application completely. After spending all that time to complete the application, it stinks that many companies do not even have a human looking at your resume/ application. I found the infographic really helpful at telling me to not use any abbreviations, to not use graphics/ tables, and especially to not submit a PDF. I feel like in the past I have submitted a PDF for a job application, so it is good to know now that I shouldn’t do that.

I agree with everything you said. While it makes sense in our current technological environment, the idea of robots pre-screening your resume is unnerving. This goes back to yesterday’s post concerning job application advice. It makes a tremendous difference whether you get that face-to-face interaction. I never considered using abbreviations or graphics in my resume. I always understood it to be a clean-cut document that should not have all these frills. I was taken aback by the submission of a PDF being discouraged. I always submit it as a PDF to preserve formatting as I worry about that translating incorrectly depending on the software recruiters use. I also always thought that a resume had to be one page and only recently learned from my dad that that is not true. Overall, this infographic gave me a lot to consider when revising my resume for my next job application.

I still think that a one page resume is best when you know your application is being read by a human. But with robots? I was just like you, I had no idea! I also usually submit my resume as a PDF to preserve formatting, so I think I’ll invest some time into making a simplistically formatted resume that is robot friendly–and take out my headers/footers, because I have both in my resume (whoops!).

I do agree with Danielle on this one. I have not actually thought about this in the past. It makes sense that huge companies use technology to filter applications. However, these technologies use certain keywords to do the filtering, and that is not fair because a perfect fit for the job may not not have those needed keywords on their resume. The only thing I may disagree with is the use of PDF. I have worked with few recruiters for my company who highly recommend submitting resume in a PDF format. This is because using others like Microsoft word can mess up the formatting when it is opened on other computers. With a PDF, the format stays as it is, and it is compatible with every other computer.

Before reading over this infographic, I always tried to adhere to the protocol for normal-based formatting for resumes. I find it unethical that so many employers looking to hire do not devote the time to reviewing resumes submitted by interested applicants. Resumes provide a substantial amount of information that might be worth knowing in hiring a candidate for the job position. However, I do understand that when considering huge companies like Google that receive thousands of applications a week, the amount of time is not there for every submitted resume to be reviewed in its entirety. I found that after reviewing this post, It just so happens that there are a lot of “don’ts” in my resume that may be worth looking back at to revise. I might consider incorporating more of the robot-friendly pointers into my resume. I feel like when I start applying for job positions next year, a constructed robot-friendly resume will help in setting me apart from a lot of the other candidates that also applied for the position.

I found the infographic on how to develop resumes for ATS very helpful and contradictory to other information I have learned. I think the difference is that in other classes you learn how to format and develop your resume for a recruiter or an actual person to read, rather than a program. This infographic was extremely helpful for how to generate a new resume that will stand out to the “robots”, especially since most job applications are online. I think my biggest takeaways were to include more information for an online resume (not being limited to one page) and to change my resume to use buzzwords for each job. When I was applying for internships, I used those buzzwords from the job application in my cover letter, rather than including them in my resume.

I totally agree with what you are saying. I never realized that robots read the applications, and that the length of the resume doesn’t matter. I was always taught to keep a resume at around 1 page or less. However, it would make sense that having more information on a document would entice the ATS to read through it. I also didn’t realize that having tables or graphics deter the ATS because for people, the more visual something is, the more inclined they are to read it.

As a senior, I have submitted a handful of online applications only to not get a response back from the company. Specifically, I submitted an application to the company I am currently working for and still did not receive a response. I do think this article brings up a good point that ATSs screen the boatloads of resumes that are submitted to companies. However, it is hard to pinpoint what keywords these ATSs look for. I understand that companies cannot screen through all of the resumes that are sent to them but I think the system they use is flawed. If I am not getting throught the “robots” when I am currently working for the company to produce them a new product, it is hard for me to believe that the average joe can get through. After reading this article, I will try to make adjustments to my CV in order to seem more appealing to teh ATSs.

I have been putting a ton of application out lately and never even thought of how a robot could be filtering my applications out. That is a little unnerving and aggravating. As others have said, we invest a lot of time and effort into our resumes, and to just be passed up by a robot and never have human eyes view it, its just unethical like Kristina said. For me, it kind of goes back to hard GPA requirements companies have. For instance, some require a 3.0, and if you have anything less, they wont even consider you (That would even be a really easy way for ATSs to filter applications). But that GPA does not accurately represent work ethic, who you are, or maybe even personal issues that have unfortunately come up during exams or anything. I was a little taken back by the mention of not following the 1-page convention. Everything we have always learned about resume formatting is to always stay within 1-page. But we’ve also learned to appeal to human eyes, not to ATSs. So I guess it is time to revise my resume for ATSs.

Although I understand the purpose of tailoring your resume so that robots could read it, most large companies have forms you must fill out to apply, so I don’t really see the point in changing the format of my resume. Maybe I would consider putting more information on the forms to set myself apart from my competitors, but, at least in my experience, employers probably won’t see the resume unless the information on the application form is appealing.

I am quite surprise about the fact that only 35% of the applicants meet the requirements. Yes I do agree that there are some people who just glanced at the application and apply no matter what the requirements are. So, I am aware that automatic Application Tracking Systems are getting necessary to find the possible candidate. I would say the most idealistic way would that every candidate has universally formatted profile by adding the specific features(ex, majors, computer languages, skills) set to pass the “requirements” threshold and also provide personal and readable resumes in PDF in human computer interaction friendly format. I know that Virginia Tech Piazza support this kind of procedure that you can add the tags into your profile and you can submit PDF version of resume after automatically checking your tags from the profile.

This is mostly the case for job markets that are over-saturated with candidates (where hundreds or thousands of people apply to a position). In my experience, it’s better to either seek out specialized markets where there is far less competition (and therefore no benefit to computerized resume filtering) or, better yet, bypass the resume filtering stage altogether via networking.

Especially valuable is networking that demonstrates your skill since it makes you more of a known quantity and less of a risk. The hiring process is mostly about risk management, and due to expense of ramping up new employees and social pressures (and often the sunk cost fallacy) against firing those that don’t turn out as valuable as expected, companies are very risk-averse in the hiring stage. They strongly prefer precision in identifying valuable candidates over recall or accuracy, and will happily filter out many strong candidates as long as it means they never (or rarely) make a bad hire.

But all that aside, I think the bulk of your job-application effort should be spent on developing new skills and capabilities, especially really general ones that will serve you for your entire career, rather than tweaking the marketing materials you use to sell yourself (i.e. resume, etc). For software engineers, this means learning architecture design, writing, project management, etc. rather than learning just the hot new programming language or framework. Having a broad range of generalizable skills will make everything about this process so much easier, and ensure that you never end up being the bad hire that employers worry about.

After reading this, I definitely understand the need for robot resume screening more. If big companies like Google really are getting 75000 applications in one week, it would be impossible to manually filter through those. Unfortunately, I think using robots to filter resumes can cause a company to miss many promising candidates. For example, if a robot was programmed to filter our resumes based on their GPA, they will miss a valuable candidate who might have a lower GPA but makes up for it with personal projects and work experience. While I understand the need for robots in job recruiting, right now I still think a human can do a better job.

It’s my first time hear something about the ATS system and it’s my first time think about this. I wrote my resume basically based on human-eyes, such as in the career fair, I hand my resumes to employers to read my resume. But I submitted the same resume online as well. It might be the problem that sometimes I feel like a clear and well organized resume with a little fancy style is good to read, but online, it may have bad influence. But to be honest, I don’t really like this system since it’s a ‘robot’ control system, systems can’t read the whole information or adjust the wrong information. Employer who read this resume sometimes could have emotions in reading the information but robots never have that.

This article is really helpful. Before I read this article, I didn’t know some companies use the robot to read my resume. That is why I never heard back from employer sometimes. I think I need rewrite my resume, am put every keyword on the top of the page, and use the web-standard font. From the last article, I knew that we can use a website called Canva to format my resume, which helps me make a format that robot can read.

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