Are there already algorithms for parsing resumes?

CV parsing: This is how your application survives the check

Numerous applications today fail because of a simple software - CV parsing. Application documents sent in during the online application process - especially the résumé - are automatically analyzed and evaluated. If important applicant data is missing, such as personal details, required qualifications or training, the CV parser filters out the candidates immediately. Result: rejection. As beautiful as digital applications are, they have hidden pitfalls. We explain how CV parsing works, what it means for applicants - and give you tips on how to get your CV safely through CV parsing ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is CV parsing?

CV parsing (also called "resume parsing") is the automatic processing of applications. Behind this is a software-supported and semantic résumé analysis. "CV" stands for the English word for curriculum vitae - curriculum vitae. "Parsing" means "to dissect". The data in the résumé is extracted by means of a syntax analysis and examined using a tool for relevant components. The most popular CV parsing tools include:

  • Capterra
  • CVLizer
  • Daxtra
  • Text kernel

Such CV parsing programs can usually read out all common file formats: PDF files, classic Word documents such as Doc and Docx, TXT files and images in JPG or PNG format. CV parsers have been increasingly used since 2020 and are a modern trend in the recruiting process.

How does CV parsing work?

So-called CV parsers work with artificial intelligence (AI). CV parsers are now able to recognize content and structures in texts. Means: You can read what is the personal data in the résumé, what is the professional experience, what special knowledge, interests, hobbies in the résumé or even soft skills. With the help of CV parsing technology, this data is extracted from the uploaded documents and transferred to a database.

Effect: The individual design disappears. Each résumé will later look the same for the HR manager in the computer mask - and can therefore be compared immediately. Even more: CV parsers can immediately identify missing or inadequate data. The more intelligent the systems are, the sooner you can evaluate incoming applications or sort out unsuitable ones - and automatically send an application rejection.

Particularly intelligent CV parsing tools can even filter out application photos using facial recognition. This enables employers, for example, to search according to specified criteria or to have the algorithm selected. For example:

  • "Only show applicants from Hamburg."
  • "Find all applicants who speak English."
  • "Only show applicants who have studied mechanical engineering."

CV parsing for e-mail and online applications

CV parsing is mainly used online and for digital applications. So primarily for online applications and e-mail applications. In this case, all attached or uploaded application documents are first subjected to this software check and examined for key terms and relevant text modules.

Applicants of course do not notice anything. But you can fail on the machine, even if your application portfolio should actually convince HR professionals.

Advantages of CV parsing tools for companies

CV parsing has a number of advantages for companies. The most important: it saves time in recruiting and simplifies the application process and applicant management. Allegedly, the tools offer time savings of up to 90 percent.

Corporations in particular receive some 500+ applications for a job offer. In this case colleague Computer takes over the first applicant selection. Only candidates remain who fully meet the previously defined criteria. The HR manager then takes a closer look at them.

CV parsing also takes care of this for a smoother recruiting process. The parser tools send both a confirmation of receipt to the applicants and automatic rejections. That sounds harsh. But if you did not pass the first test, you immediately know where he or she is. Nevertheless, the deployment ensures an overall better "candidate experience". Effect: The employer appears more professional and attractive. This is good for so-called employer branding and against the shortage of skilled workers.

Advantages for the applicant

Most applicants don't like application forms. They are time-consuming, sometimes complicated and prone to errors. Using CV parsing makes it easier for numerous application forms. Applicants do not have to register in online forms. Simply upload your CV and other documents in tabular form - the software will do the rest. It not only recognizes and processes different file formats. Thanks to CV parsing, even scanned documents (such as job references) can be read out and analyzed.

Another advantage arises with one-click applications. With e-recruiting, some employers allow applications to be made directly from the Xing or LinkedIn profile. With one click, the CV parser turns it into a usable résumé (provided the online profile is well maintained). In short: the application process will also be easier and faster here.

Resume parsing: tips for your application

Where there is light, there is also shadow. It's no different with CV parsing. Software and algorithms are artificially intelligent - but not (yet) as intelligent as humans. In other words: You can only search or rate vaguely for existing key terms (so-called "keywords"). What they do not know, they cannot interpret. Some applications fall through the digital grid that HR professionals might have rated as "original" or "refreshingly different".

So that this doesn't happen to you when you apply, we have collected a few tips here on how your documents survive a possible CV parser check:

1. Write a tailored application

When formulating the résumé, make sure that it contains all the required qualifications from the job advertisement. Best of all, literally. Because that's what the CV parser will look for. “EDP skills” and “IT skills” mean the same thing. A stupid software may only recognize a word of it. It is best to always translate technical terms with key terms (in brackets). As a general rule, each résumé should be individually tailored to the respective position and company. Please do not send mass applications!

2. Avoid spelling mistakes

The tip applies to all applications. When it comes to CV parsing, typing errors and carelessness are particularly serious. A person recognizes reversed letters, interprets them correctly or even reads over them. CV parsers often cannot do this. The keyword is missing. Something similar can happen with abbreviations. Especially when they have multiple meanings. ZKB in apartment advertisements stands for "room, kitchen, bathroom". But it can also mean “central fight against crime” (at the police station) or “short application for target group”. So please write everything out!

3. Avoid special characters

Special characters are real eye-catchers and can save space. However, not all CV parsers can interpret the characters. We therefore recommend avoiding special characters such as arrows (➠) or hooks (✓). You should also always write out the euro symbol (€) when specifying salary requirements.

4. No tables

Often CV parsers cannot process tables correctly. As a result, the text it contains is not copied correctly. This can also confuse the structure because additional blank lines are inserted. Therefore try to make the résumé as simple as possible. No complex design. This is lost with CV parsing anyway.

5. Be careful with the design

With a fancy design application, applicants can stand out from the crowd. With CV parsing, the advantage becomes a disadvantage: If you create your application with graphics software, for example, you risk converting texts into images. Resume parsing can no longer read them. You should therefore always use a word processing program such as MS Word or Apple Pages. This also leaves room for maneuver, but increases the chances of not falling through the grid with CV parsing.

6. No graphic representations

It is a modern trend to incorporate a kind of mini-competence profile of the most important language skills or soft skills into the résumé. Example:

That looks nice and can be grasped quickly by a person. But not from a computer. Consequence: important qualifications are lost in your application. Therefore, do not use graphical representations if you expect that your documents will be evaluated by a CV parsing tool.

Rule of thumb: It is true that it is never impossible to say with certainty whether your application will be read by a person or a machine first. A good indicator for CV parsing, however, is when you have to upload your documents via an application platform. You should also avoid all of the classic résumé sins.

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Further sources and advice
Application tips
➠ Application templates
➠ 11 application forms
➠ ABC of application tips
➠ Application folder
➠ Application photo
➠ cover sheet
➠ Brief profile

Tips on the résumé
➠ CV in tabular form
➠ Resume templates
➠ Internships on the CV
➠ hobbies on the resume
➠ Unemployment on the résumé
➠ gaps in the résumé

Tips for covering letters
➠ Cover letter
➠ Introductory sentence in the cover letter
➠ Final sentence in the cover letter
➠ Interests in the cover letter
➠ Strengths in the cover letter
➠ Attachment directory

Tips on the job reference
➠ Assess job reference
➠ Secret codes in the certificate
➠ Interim report
➠ Job description
➠ References & samples

Special applications
➠ Unsolicited application
➠ Internal application
➠ Discreet application
➠ Email application
➠ Online application
➠ Application as a temporary worker
➠ Application for mini jobs
➠ Application after termination