Companies favor scanned resumes

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    By PHILLIP STAHLE

    Scanning Technology is playing a major role in the way employment applications are being handled in larger Fortune 500 companies.

    More potential employees are encountering the following situation:

    An MBA student from BYU mails a professionally prepared resume to a major corporation that receives 300,000 plus resumes per year. A few weeks pass and the resume is returned.

    It comes with this explanation: “We can’t scan your resume into our system because of the printing, paper choice, italics, bolds and underlines encountered in the text of the resume.”

    Potential employees must understand the implications of electronic resume management (ERM) systems to produce resumes that are completely scanner compatible.

    ERM systems scan resumes into their databases and then search for key words to achieve a match between applicants’ qualifications and job requirements.

    “Graphics and artistic license on resumes can cause scanning difficulties in these situations. Therefore, the resume is rejected, not because of insufficient qualifications on the part of the applicant, but because it could not be read by the software program,” said William Baker, a professor in the Marriott School of Management

    Not only does scanning technology affect students, but it will become increasingly important for teachers and educators who give instruction concerning format and guidelines of resumes, Baker said.

    “We should make our students aware of electronic resumes, even though very few companies around here actually require electronic resumes. From my perspective, I don’t think it’s worth my while to make my students format a resume electronically,” said Ted Stoddard, a professor in the Marriott School of Management.

    According to the September 1998 Business Communication Quarterly, 55 percent of firms with more than 5,000 employees use applicant-tracking and ERM systems.

    As larger companies use scanning software more frequently to initially select their job applicants, the applicants need to make a particular effort on the wording in their resumes.

    Resumes should include a list of powerful key words — mainly nouns and verbs — that will be easily noticed in searches, such as “manager,” “five years experience” and “bachelor’s degree,” Business Communication Quarterly said.

    “One of the advantages for companies to pre-scan resumes using ERM is that everyone is on an equal basis. Only by fulfilling the necessary qualifications will someone advance,” Baker said.

    ERM systems also create many disadvantages for students applying for employment with larger companies.

    A student may not pass the initial search screening simply because they don’t use the correct wording in their resumes. Their qualifications may exceed others, but without these essential key words in the text of the resume, the applicant will not pass the initial screening, Baker said.

    “Today’s job applicants encounter a variety of resume-processing environments. Employment documents must be compatible with both electronic and human requirements,” Baker said.

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