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June 13, 2012 10:04 PM

Beat The Computer

sioux falls, sd

These days if you want a job, chances are you are going to have to apply online.

Job seekers turn to websites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder and Indeed for their next position. While it's easy and convenient, it's also impersonal. 

“I just like kind of checked them every day. I had them email me alerts for something I thought I might be interested in and I'd go online and apply right away," Cheri Wood said.

Wood spent more than two months applying for a dozen or so jobs without much luck. 

"I get a little frustrated with computer stuff. It just felt really impersonal. How are they going to know who I really am and what I'm really like form a piece of paper," Wood said.

Angela Kennecke: Any interviews from that?
Cheri Wood: None.

Wood’s resume may not have made it through the computer stop-gates because it wasn't worded correctly.

"If you see they're looking for someone with strong Microsoft Excel skills, you would want to make sure your resume says Microsoft Excel and not just Microsoft Office, because to the human eye, they may know Microsoft Office means Excel, but to the computer it's black and white, it needs to match," Career coach Erin Cambier said.

Cambier says besides using key words to match the job description, you should use a plain text version of your resume with no columns or graphics because the computer can't read those. 

And when it comes to that salary question it's important to do your research so you don't put too high or too low a number and get eliminated that way.

"What the computer will do is essentially rank all the applicants from best matched to worst matched. As a recruiter sits down this is what the computer is saying is the best fit. They may not be the best fit, but; that's what the computer is saying," Cambier said.

“I have a lot of great qualities, but those don't always come through on paper,” Wood said.

But those qualities did come through face-to-face and Wood landed a job working in a chiropractic office through networking.

Fewer than half of the positions available are filled through online applications. Most are secured through networking.

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