The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported there were 12.8 million unemployed, but 3.7 million unfilled positions. Despite the fact that there are approximately 40,000 job posting sites online, job seekers are challenged to find the best opportunities for them, and employers struggle to identify the best candidates.
One problem some job seekers have is that they don't use sophisticated search techniques to find the right opportunities. Most don't know how to program search engines with complex queries most likely to result in matches. Additionally, they may search for opportunities too narrowly and without the proper keywords to ensure they identify positions well suited to their needs. The result: frustrated job seekers who wind up overwhelmed with job listings, but not enough targeted positions.
Job seekers who want to increase the relevancy of their search results and increase the chances of being found can take advantage of a relatively new high precision job search technology on the job search scene, known as "semantic search." Monster.com launched semantic search three years ago with the introduction of its 6Sense semantic search technology. Monster's 6Sense semantic search technology is at the heart of the company's SeeMore product, which this week won the Top Product of the Year Award at the 15th annual HR Technology Conference & Expo. Earl Rennison, vice president of architecture with Monster.com, explains the benefits of using this type of search, and suggests tips for writing a resume that would help employers using this technology to find you.
How Semantic Search Helps Job Seekers Find Opportunities
1. Job seekers benefit from complex results without needing long search strings. Instead of needing to hone in on an exact keyword to find the perfect job description, seekers can use standard, conversational language in their searches and include sentences and phrases.
For example, instead of typing ("sales" OR "business development" OR "field sales") AND ("enterprise software" OR "erp" OR "e.r.p." OR "oracle" OR "peoplesoft" OR "sap" OR "Siebel" OR "salesforce.com" OR "WorkDay") a job seeker could simply type: "director of business development enterprise applications" and expect relevant results. The tool interprets natural language, including synonyms, acronyms, non-specific titles, and skill set expansions (such as expanding "enterprise applications" to include all of the products mentioned above as well as more than 100 other products, technologies, and methodologies).
Additionally, Monster uses a knowledge base to expand a search query semantically. For example, if a seeker searches for a "sales" position, the query expands to find "Account Managers" and "Account Representatives" in addition to "Sales Rep" and "Sales Manager" positions.
2. The tool ranks results meaningfully. It uses a knowledge base to represent concepts and weeds out words with multiple meanings that don't relate to the intent of the search. For example, job descriptions may use the term "architect" in a variety of ways; they may seek someone to "architect new ideas" or desire a "Linux Cloud Architect." If you're looking for a job as a building design architect, the semantic system would easily cull the appropriate descriptions for you without necessitating complicated searches.
3. Precision and recall. 6Sense Semantic Search judges and remembers your searches. It actually "learns" from you and delivers the right set of job postings so you don't miss anything or become overwhelmed with too many useless posts.
4. Relationship hierarchies. Since the system sorts via a hierarchy of relationships, subtle changes in a query can have a significant impact on results. For example, if a job seeker changed their query from "software engineer" to "iPhone software engineer," the results will be dramatically different, focusing on iOS and iPhone app development; whereas, if a seeker changed their query from "software engineer" to "programmer," the results will be largely the same. Job seekers can go to "http://jobsearch.monster.com/" to try out this search.
5. Analyze top job skills. Monster's 6Sense semantic search also powers a jobs skills analysis tool that lets job seekers see the top skills that employers are searching for in candidates, based on the skills employers have included in their job listings. A job seeker who includes these skills on their resume can also help increase their chances of being found via Monster's semantic search.
How Can Job Seekers Ensure Their Resumes Are Well-Suited for Semantic Search?
While semantic search makes it easier for job seekers to find opportunities, it also affects how participating hiring managers will screen resumes. Rennison explains: "A semantic search engine requires articulate, detailed descriptions in your resume, including skills job seekers use. The engine analyzes each employment section and interprets what it means. It will extract relevant skills from each position, and it capably analyzes how each position adds depth and breadth."
Rennison adds: "A recruiter's most important job is finding the best talent for their organization, and a big part of the challenge is searching an enormous volume of resumes—balancing this time consuming task with the precision necessary to not miss highly qualified candidates. Monster's database alone contains tens of millions of resumes, and if a recruiter took 90 seconds to review one resume, and that recruiter were to spend 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, screening resumes, it would take 85 years to rank order candidates for one particular job. With Monster's 6Sense® semantic search, it takes two seconds to complete this task—reviewing, scoring, and ranking those same resumes, with the same accuracy and understanding that a human being would bring to the task. That's one billion times faster. As a result, over 75 percent of employers are using Monster's 6Sense Semantic Search to search for resumes."
Tips to Write a Resume for Semantic Search
1. Keywords. While keywords are still important in resumes, be sure to use them in context, and explain what accomplishments resulted from using the skills needed for the job. For example, don't just say you have communication skills, explain how you used the skills and what you accomplished. While this has always been good resume advice, semantic search engines make it even more important, as the computer will give you credit for the context you provide in your resume instead of just picking out the keywords you include.
2. Resume structure. It's always a good idea to have a simple resume format. Rennison says columns could confuse the search engine. He suggests grouping topics logically and avoiding fancy formatting.
3. Articulate how you used your skills over time. The system looks at each position to add depth to your experience. Make sure to articulate your value and reinforce your skills over time. The search engine will evaluate how recently you used relevant skills and how many years of experience you have in each targeted area.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.