Once a colleague of mine told me he had sent out about one thousand resumes to find a suitable job. I was really impressed and could not imagine how would I complete a similar task. I usually tailor my resume to meet the requirements of a specific position.
When you have diverse work experience you would like to prioritize selected important achievement records and to withdraw irrelevant ones. If you have overlapping job positions, due to part-time or project-based positions, you might to have these positions as higher priority in the list.
Ways of tailoring your resume
There are several approaches to tailor a resume of C.V. You could filter and sort by job only, and leave all job content unedited. You could also keep the complete list of your job history as is, but rearrange and preserve important achievements inside each position. Alternatively you could select and alter the content using both methods.
Additionally there is the time dimension. Job experiences are usually of less interest to employers as they are further back in time. It might be advantageous to hide older records that are not related to the new position.
In my case almost every job position includes tasks from different spheres of work. For example in Pskov Volny Institute I conducted sociological research projects, organized alumni reunion events and lectured on measurement theory and data analysis. If applying for a research position I would include records on sociological projects and teaching experience but omit the alumni-relations tasks.
So for a specific resume I want to rearrange overlapping or adjacent positions to move the more important records higher in priority. For each position record, I need to keep only relevant achievements and sort them from most to least relevant.
How to implement automatic resume tailoring
Keep relevant records only
We want to match specific experience records to a specific vacancy. A record can be related to the vacancy or not. If it is related, we keep it, else we discard it. In this case I retain research projects and lectures, but drop alumni.
To get this yes/no relationship, we introduce tags. Each achievement record is to be marked with one or more tags. Sociological projects can have tags such as, among others: project management, opinion poll, data analysis, research.
When I find an interesting vacancy I tag it also. The Research position tags could get research, data analysis and presentation skills. Our algorithm should look through the records and keep only those that have the same tags as the position.
Order of records
Each related record has different value for the vacancy. With regard to research position, my sociological projects are more important than lectures and therefore should be higher in list than lectures.
To fulfill this requirement we estimate value of a record toward its each tag. The sociological projects record is twice or thrice more valuable in data science than my lectures (there were subjects on data analysis, yes). So for data analysis positions the first record gets three scores and the second record gets one score.
What tags and values to use
I’m currently developing this technique and have used it only once with added tags for one specific position application. I expect that with time and addition of appropriate tags, my records will have sufficient range and quantity of tags to cover a wider variety of possible vacancies.
Values for tags are relative to each other. You can define a default tag value. For example, score 1. It means an achievement is entirely related to the tag. If the achievement is partly associated with the tag you score it as 0.5 or 0.3. If the achievement exceeds average level you put 1.5, 2 or 3. So very highly related scores > 1, less related scores < 1.
What to do with time dimension
We usually arrange our job records in reverse chronological order. Usually it is OK, but in some cases you might prefer to push some records up in priority. I decided to combine both the value and age of my records. If a record is relatively recent but has higher value for target vacancy it is placed before a newer record with a lower score.
I’ve tested this approach once and it required a little iterative testing to achieve good results.
Application in R language
I implemented the approach described above in a set of scripts in the R programming language. The source code is available in our GitLab account: R script resumer. All technical details are explained in the README file.
Information with job experience is stored in a text file in YAML format. Each job is described by title of the position, name of organization and period of work. Also it can store an unlimited number of subrecords with achievements. Each achievement has a description and a number of tags with associated values.
The script produces a final document in Markdown format. After manual check it generates a PDF version file of the resume with Pandoc software.
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