Demographic Differences in Students' Knowledge of Electronic Resumes

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The increased use of technology has brought about numerous changes in the recruiting practices of many businesses (Charles, 2000; Quible, 1995). One such change is the increased acceptance of electronic resumes (Jennings, Carnes, & Whitaker, 2001). Electronic resumes are resumes that are formatted so that they may be scanned by computer or transmitted via e-mail (Eyler, 1999).

According to Roever (1997), scanning technology has had a significant impact on the way businesses process resumes. Many companies are currently using automated applicant tracking systems, which involves the use of resume-scanning software (Eyler, 1999). These systems are designed to search for key words that represent the qualifications of the employee they are seeking (Ream, 2000).

Resumes submitted should, therefore, be scanner friendly. In other words, they should be formatted so that the scanner will read the information correctly (Solly & Fischer, 1996). Because today's job seekers are very knowledgeable about computers and use them regularly as a communication and research tool, this trend toward increased employer acceptance of electronic resumes provides applicants with an efficient process for expediting the job search (Jennings et al., 2001; Quible, 1995).

The new technologies have had a significant impact on the job search process. In addition to increased communication between employers and prospective employees via electronic mail, job seekers are accessing corporate Web sites and Internet job boards, such as Espan, Monster Board, and Job Trak (Curry, 1998; Ream, 2000). To use the technology effectively, job hunters must have a knowledge of the correct format for electronic resumes.

ADVANTAGES AND USE OF ELECTRONIC RESUMES

Many employers are realizing the advantages of investing in resume-scanning systems. These advantages include the speed with which employers are able to identify potential employees who have the qualifications needed for the open position and the cost savings of being able to screen job applicants electronically rather than manually. Recruiters and hiring officials are aware of the time and effort saved by using technology in employee recruitment and selection (Charles, 2000).

Job seekers are also recognizing the advantages of using electronic resumes, which include the exposure to numerous prospective employers and the objective nature of the initial screening. Applicants also know that their resume will receive wide exposure through Websites of companies and professional associations, through bulletin board services, and through resume banks. In addition, job seekers, by sending their resumes electronically, are demonstrating a knowledge of technology, which may be viewed positively by some employers (Bonner & Chaney, 2002; Gunner, 2000).

Use of the Internet in the job search has increased markedly in the last decade. According to Criscito (2000), "in 1995 only 5% of the 8,000 resumes Microsoft received monthly were sent electronically. In 1999, that number had changed to 50%, and the number of resumes had increased to 10,000 a month" (p. 2). The impact of electronic resume-management (ERM) systems on the employment process has been the subject of a number of studies. A 1993 study (Yate, 2000) determined that 78% of firms surveyed were using automated resume-tracking systems. Baker, DeTienne, and Smart (1998) examined the use of ERM systems by Fortune 500 companies and reported that 36% of responding firms used such systems. In an earlier study conducted in the mid-90s (Kennedy & Morrow, 1995), almost all firms with a minimum of 1,000 employees had automated applicant-tracking systems. In a study conducted in 1996 (Roever, 1997), none of the 236 companies located in rural Missouri reported the use of resume-scanning software. Thus, a marked difference seems to exist in the use of these systems by large and small companies. …

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