Last week, I goofed around a little about messing with code in online application systems. And we had a good chuckle together, but there was, actually, a touch of a method to my madness.
In most cases, humans never see the first layer of your resume onion. Most online resume parsing is being done by robots. Well, here's the thing:
Once you've become a commoditized meat bag by the robots, you have to change your whole game if you want to stand out. All the fancy font choices and nifty designs you've got on your resume are meaningless to the robots who are reading your documents. The robots only see text, interpret according to a vague set of rules and don't care if they get it right.
Let me show you what I mean:
This is how the robots see this exact same resume.
I sent my resume off to one of those "we evaluate your resume" services. Granted, their whole job is to make you feel like your resume is garbage and that you are garbage unless you give them $125. So take this next screenshot with a grain or two of salt.
So what are we supposed to do with that? Well, you can fight the robot. Tell the robot your wrong. Try to hurt the robot's feelings. Give it a logic puzzle that will burn out the robot's circuitry. But most of that won't work. You have to adapt. Edit. Talk to the robots. Win the robots over. Find out the robot's secret language and learn to speak Robot.
But ultimately, you can't beat the robots. There are more of them than there are of you. But here's the one secret trick, and if you read all the way down here, you deserve this:
Robots suck at networking.
I mean, they get networking but they don't get human to human interaction. And that's where you win. Because you're human. And you get to interact with other humans in ways that robots cannot. Ultimately, your best shot to beat the robots is not to play their game. Pick up the phone. Send the hiring manager an actual letter. Put something sassy in their application system. Find a way to differentiate yourself. Becuase just being good isn't enough. You have to be memorable. The robot is going to lump you in with 55 other human meat bags with 10+ years of mostly clerical experience and disregard that you're an award-winning journalist and writer. The robot doesn't care that you're charismatic and engaging. But that hiring manager does. Hit them up on LinkedIN.
Make them remember that interaction by being so incredible that you stand out among the other meat bags
Ultimately, your only other choice is to toil in the robot's underground sugar caves.
And that's just fine by them.