The resume grinder

Subject: The resume grinder
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 03:41:31 -0500


Over the years I've used a resume format in MS Word or in
vanilla text that I thought looked pretty good. About eight
years ago I began to feel that HR departments at possible
employers weren't exactly reading it, but instead were
stupidly scanning it for buzzwords. So I raised that
question with a recruiter, suggesting that it was a very
bad idea, compared with having a human being read it, and
that certainly nobody would *actually* do that.

He said that yes, they used that method to select which
ones to read.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I fixed my resume
to have a good pile of buzzwords in it, but I was not
happy, because I had always thought my resume was my
front-line writing sample, and the pile of buzzwords
cluttered things. The fixed resume has worked with
decreasing success for the last eight years.

I just found out that things are now worse. A potential
employer (not a recruiter!) has an online resume grinder
that applicants must use. Instead of just saying, "Thank
you for submitting your resume, we'll call you if there's
a match," it shows the applicant its view of the resume,
and offers the promise of correction.

Well, although that damned grinder software got my name and
my phone numbers right, it is incapable of making any sense
out of my job history. I have three "current" jobs, but it
ignores two of them. It presents a minor past assignment as
my latest work. It conflates some of my jobs into others,
and gets the dates all mixed up. It lets me try to make
corrections, but all my attempts just make things worse.
It is broken!

So for years, I guess, NOBODY has been reading resumes that
I've submitted. Instead they are relying on grinders that
ruin whatever they digest, but usually do not show the
applicant the resulting mess. It's enough to give me a bad
case of paranoia. I think the only way to get in the door
now is to know somebody inside.


Please, somebody tell me this is just a bad dream!


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