Are Automated Resume Reviews Accurate?
After more than 10 years at the same job, you may have decided to pull that old and dusty resume from your file archives and try to find out if it’s still effective or not. While doing an internet search for “free resume review” in Google, you stumble across many different websites offering a free critique of your resume. Some of these sites ask you to upload your existing resume and either give you instant feedback, or email you the results later on. This feedback usually includes a numbered score based on how well the system anticipates your resume will perform in an applicant tracking system (ATS). Generally, you will receive some additional pointers on how to improve your resume’s performance in these systems. Below is an example of one of these scored resume reviews.
However, as impressive as these resume scoring systems may appear to be, they are not always completely accurate and they are most definitely not personalized. They only offer the basics from an algorithmic standpoint of how keywords in your resume’s content might stack up against the keywords in a particular job announcement. Yet, even this approach is not an exact science. Sometimes job announcements only contain very generic qualification requirements that would sound too entry-level or robotic for inclusion in a resume. There must be balance to this.
Have you ever conducted an internet search for something very unique and specific, but did not find what you were looking for? What about when you got married, did you want your wedding dress to be just like everyone else’s? Better yet, when you go to a job interview, do you say “I’m just like everyone else and that’s why you should hire me!”
Even the most sophisticated automated “bots” known to mankind can’t always pinpoint what you are looking for in a product or service. That’s because not everything or every situation is identical. The same works for automated resume review scanners, except to a higher degree. Every person on the planet has a unique set of circumstances that cannot be calculated or scored accurately by an automated bot.
Automatic Feedback Scores
Resume scoring tools and scanners that generate automated feedback and scores on how effective your resume may, or may not be, are far from trustworthy.
First of all, software can only do what it’s told. I know this after 20 years of being a computer programmer myself. Automated applications cannot think for themselves, cannot connect the dots between past and present events in a person’s career, and cannot accurately provide sound advice on what a candidate should do to create a personalized resume tailored to their specific needs when making a career change or lateral transition.
If you are looking at one of these automated programs to see how “good” your resume is, please consider this: the bot knows nothing about your personal goals, you cannot talk to this bot and express your concerns, your situation is different from everyone else’s, and you are most likely making a career change which is impossible for an automated resume review scanner to provide feedback on. From my own experience, these bots give advice on very obvious and generic parts of a resume.
Automated Resume Review Factors
- Summary or Objective Statements: “Make sure your experience summary is correct and matches your career goals.” – This is an obvious statement for anyone who already has a resume.
- File Size: “Your file is too big – larger than 88% of resumes at 114 KB.” – Anyone who has basic computer knowledge knows that 114 KB is a tiny file, making this bit of advice completely useless.
- Page Length: “Two pages is a good length for your experience level.” – This is not always necessarily true, and it’s obvious this computer program is simply calculating years vs. page number to come to this conclusion. There are many other factors that should be considered which a robot is unable to analyze, such as whether a candidate is making a career change into a totally different industry and a completely different approach should be taken. Again, only a human can determine this.
- Word Count: “830 words is within average for your experience level.” – Where are they getting this? Remember, computer programs can only say what they are told, therefore this statement was pre-programmed to simply look for number of words to come to this conclusion. There are too many factors to consider to be able to accurately and ethically provide this sort of generic advice.
- Other Generic Tips: “Cut down on passive words, use consistent punctuation, shorten your career summary, be an achiever not a doer, etc.” – While these all may sound great to a non-suspecting job seeker, being a resume writing expert for nearly 17 years, I can certainly say that this gives someone absolutely nothing to go by because their individual circumstances are not all the same.
Never Cut Corners
For an entry-level candidate fresh out of high school or college, tools like this may come in useful for someone who has never had to prepare a resume before and might be attempting it on their own. However, we have found automated resume review scanners to be virtually useless tools for the serious job seeker.
As part of our research and many years of experience writing resumes, we looked at a resume review scanner that provides a score on how effective they think your resume is before prompting you to purchase their services. These automated bots provide a false perception that a candidate’s resume needs more work to go the extra mile but does not provide any valuable advice other than minuscule basics that don’t carry much weight to begin with. You will also notice that at the bottom of these so-called “reviews,” there is always a link to purchase the services of the resume writing company that is promoting the tool and luring customers in.
In conclusion, the field of resume writing is an art that should be preserved, honored, and respected the same as any personalized professional service that caters to people who are making serious transitions in their lives to better their careers. These life-altering transitions should not be trusted solely to cold, soulless robots that cannot think for themselves or provide sound advice on certain career-change scenarios and other unique circumstances that the software was not programmed to say.
Just think about that for a minute…software that is pre-programmed on what to say, so you think your resume is bad and that you should buy their service to fix it. That’s what you are getting with automated resume review scanners that score your resume.
Cutting corners is never a good thing when it comes to your career. It is always a good idea to get a real, honest resume review from a human being who is a certified resume writing expert before making important career decisions.