As one who spends a great deal of time organizing the details people’s lives and transforming these snippets of information onto letter-sized paper  to present to prospective employers as a résumé, I am often asked whether their résumé will be seen by a robot. “Will this be read by a robot?” they ask.

“Probably,” I say. “I think that I.ve developed a system to robot-proof résumés. Over the years, I think I have learned to think like a robot, and believe it or not. I believe that robots think the same way as a Human Resources professional when it comes to selecting the perfect candidate – if they can wrestle the resume form the digital claws of the reading robot.”

Large companies use robots for the initial screening of candidates. The look primarily for the key words that were placed in the posting. Further, they are looking to see the different ways a candidate complies with the demands of the job description. This could be through education, training, experience, and how it’s all added up in the profile. It is crunching numbers. It is looking for frequency of key words and ideas.

One sure-fire way to tell when a robot has been dissecting your tome happens when you apply on line. The website asks you to upload your resume and has a little ‘browse’ button to press  so you can whip it off your ‘A’ drive.

Don’t do it yet. Instead, open it up and check it against the posting. Make sure to use some of the same nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives that are on the posting. If you have a graphic on it, get rid of it = even if it’s a personal brand logo that you paid $500 to enhance your luck. You will be lucky if it doesn’t strip off all the information.

Now upload your resume. If a robot looked at it, a form will be sent to you that has all the information on it. If the information is good, you likely have a robot friendly résumé. If not, it will give you a chance to fill in the blanks. Simply cut and paste the information off the resume and onto the form.

If you are applying for a job in retail or insurance you may be given a lengthy quiz at the end. For retail, the quiz is designed to calculate the likelihood of you ripping them off. The answers to the multiple choice exam are: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Militantly Apathetic, Agree, or Strongly Agree.

To successfully answer these questions, remember that the robot is looking for numbers. Try to  think like the perfect retail worker. One who would sacrifice a co-worker’s reputation if found with his hand in the cookie jar. In short, only answer the ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’ answers. Give the robot what it wants.

With insurance, they want to see the killer instinct in action. The robot will love you if you’re extroverted and love to be in the spotlight.

Good luck at your interview. You have successfully thought like a robot.

Next week, Part 2: How To Survive an Encounter with a Robot.


 Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



3 Responses to “HAVE ROBOTS BEEN READING YOUR RÉSUMÉ? Part 1: The Online Application”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Good info, Mike, and funny. Thank you. I’ve wondered why I’m not called to interview for jobs that need my qualifications. I have a short generic resume because my current job doesn’t require much except a smile and an ability to count money (slowly in my case – Eye hand coordination has never been my strong suit.)

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    Slow but accurate

  3. Janie Emaus Says:

    I’m glad I don’t have to have a resume anymore. My mind it too scattered to think like a robot.

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