The Ultimate Job Seekers’ Guide to Resume Hacking

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Resume hacking
You have to do at least some form of resume hacking these days to get ahead of the crowd. Here's exactly how. | Image By Stokkete | Shutterstock

The modern job application routine involves competing against thousands of other applicants. Here’s how to get your resume ahead of the rest. 

Anyone who has applied to a job within the last ten years probably did so online.

Developers constantly improve job sites like LinkedIn and Monster. New features, unfortunately, mean that job seekers must consistently adjust their resumes. It also means that job seekers need to re-evaluate their job applications as a whole.

Moreover, some companies want to leverage AI to give more power to the job seeker. We profiled Gloat in April of this year — a company doing just that.

But how can job seekers satisfy robot recruiters in the here and now?

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There are many outlets to build your own website and not all of them require a monthly fee. | Fizzle

#1: Have an Up-to-Date Website

This may seem like an unnecessary step for some industries, but it isn’t. Having your own website allows you to take charge of your own SEO livelihood.

Have you ever typed your name into Google just for shiggles?

I do so periodically to see what comes up first in search results. I can get a good idea of what a future employer might find should they do the exact same thing.

By having a website, you can (to some extent) control your personal SEO. You can also build an online portfolio of work to point future employers to for more work samples. This works best for many in creative fields, but can also be beneficial to developers, as well.

And only some platforms require fees in order to have a website.

I’d suggest Squarespace for those with little coding knowledge and WordPress for those who have a more specific vision, but not robust needs. You can also go through Wix and a few other outlets, as well.

#2: Make Your Resume SEO Friendly

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Including key phrases associated with positions you want will help bots who crawl your resume find what they want and help you, in turn, get an interview. | pixelcreatures | Pixabay

This goes along with tip number one on this list, naturally. But you do have a few options when it comes to “hacking” your resume in SEO terms.

You can go through a resume company or hire a contractor to help you. You can also just do your own personal research online.

Peruse professionals in your industry on LinkedIn with their resumes posted. Look into present and previous employees at companies you are interested in. Make observations about what phrases pop up repeatedly.

You might also read up on resume AI and how it crawls, searching for specific phrases.

You need to include things relevant to your job such as “civil engineering”, “graphic design experience”, and the like. But you also need to include specific phrases relating to ancillary skills you possess. Think of “Microsoft Office Suite”, “Adobe Creative Suite”, etc.

But this content needs to be interwoven organically throughout your whole resume.

You can “keyword stuff” in a resume in the same way you can in anything online. So always run your resume through an online keyword identifier. You can find a free one on Word Counter, though we can’t guarantee its accuracy.

You’ll also want to do proofreading or use something like Grammarly to avoid any syntax errors, punctuation mistakes, and misspellings, as well.

#3: Yes, Cover Letters are Still A Thing

Monster, a job site many may be familiar with, declared the death of cover letters last year. But many recruiters still request a cover letter or a letter of intent.

Resumes tend to be more bare bones these days (hint: one page ONLY). This means that the cover letter is the only place where an employer can get a better sense of who you are as a person outside work samples and your online presence.

As many companies focus on things like “culture fit” these days, you can leverage your cover letter to showcase how you will fit in at a company.

Again, do some research on the company and read current and old job postings.

You can incorporate research into how you tailor each cover letter for each application.

You can also outsmart recruiter bots here, too, when it comes to SEO and including specific phrases. It’ll also come in handy if a company employs an AI to diagnose your writing style and diction.

Some companies rely on these AI to determine your personality based solely on the words you use or, in the case of an interview, your body language.

#4: Practice Your Interview to Fool Bots

Apparently, as noted in The Guardian, some companies use software during interviews.

The product records you during your interview — posture, facial expressions, body language, etc. Then, the software AI crunches all of those inputs, turning the data into an overall score.

After that, your score gets compared to scores from top-scoring individuals already employed at the company.

In order to outsmart these bots, you’ll need to practice lest you end up like the guy in the video above — one of my favorite Dead Kevin sketches. Clearly, this is an exaggeration, but it’s just too funny not to share.

But this advice isn’t really that new; everyone tells you to practice before an interview.

As a result of data science and automation, however, now job seekers must prepare even more in order to nail an interview.

This means adjusting the way you speak and even some natural mannerisms.

For instance, swap casual words for more formal ones. Focus on framing sentences in more positive or diplomatic ways rather than negative or extreme ways. You should also try to avoid interlocuters such as “like”, “um”, and “uh” when possible.

This isn’t limited to diction changes, however. You’ll need to control any fidgety habits like twiddling thumbs or bouncing knees. You’ll also want to sit a little more forward in your chair with a straight back. Make firm eye contact and remember to smile genuinely.

This should help you outsmart the recruiter bots controlling your career future.

image of a robot vacuum cleaner for article Tutorial: 4 Ways Job Seekers can Hack Automated Job Apps
Robot vacuum cleaners are just one example of how automation affects our everyday lives. | NickyPe | Pixabay

Robot Recruiters, Automation, and Job Seekers

While these tips won’t work every time, they may help job seekers in the long run.

For those worried about automation eliminating human jobs, don’t fret too much. A recent study showed that only around 14% of jobs are at-risk due to automation.

But job applications will continue to change thanks to advancing technology. One can only hope that it improves a job seeker’s ability to find and get a job while also helping employers find and recruit the talent they need.

What are your experiences with how technology has changed how people apply for jobs?

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