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RezScore reviews your resume, gives feedback, and confuses the heck out of this writer

Lifehacker wrote about a neat site called RezScore today. Upload your resume, and RezScore will grade it on an A-F scale with pluses and minuses based on what job experts of all flavors (hiring managers, resume experts, HR directors, etc.) they’ve talked to look for and an element of math. The site also provides free feedback with an option to pay for more precise feedback. The Lifehacker article noted that RezScore appeared to work best with a traditional resume, which is unsurprising. I have a traditional one-page resume, so after RezScore’s website calmed down from being Lifehackered, I uploaded my resume as a plain text file so no one could complain about being able to parse it.

The first result? A C-plus. Here’s what RezScore said.

Your resume needs some improvement. A good resume tells your employer a powerful story about why you would be valuable to their company. This resume needs some improvement before anybody will be wowed.

The tips for improvement:
Your resume would benefit from a more professional tone.
The hovertext: Our analysis finds that hiring managers respond best to resumes written at a higher grade level. Your resume is currently written at a grade 8 reading level according to common readability formulae. You should improve this to grade 11 or above.

Your word usage is not advanced enough.
The hovertext: Using too many small words will make your resume seem informal. Our studies show the ideal resume contains 1.85 syllables per word. Your words are 8% too short.

Now for some numbers. My resume was in the 48th percentile. RezScore also rated my resume for brevity, impact, and depth. My brevity stat is 79, my impact stat is 63, and my depth stat is 80.

The most confusing one is the brevity stat. My resume is exactly one page (with one-inch margins in OpenOffice, though the plain text file doesn’t show that). Okay, I do get a bit long-winded within the descriptions, which is probably what the score is getting at. But the hovertext for the brevity score states that it’s measuring the optimum length of a resume. Strange.

Just as with school, I never want a C. A B is mildly acceptable, but an A is the way to go. (Damn you for implementing these grades. They’re affecting my psyche.) I made a few small changes, mostly in finding better words for what I’m communicating. All in all, I changed five words at most. I uploaded the new resume as a plain text file. The new grade was a B-minus.

Almost everything RezScore had to say about my resume is the same with these changes:

* My resume was suddenly in the 73rd percentile of resumes.
* My brevity score went down to 78, while my impact score went up to 64.
* My words are now 6% too short.

Okay, fine. I made a couple of more changes, this time really minor changes and clarifications that should have been made a long time ago. The score? A C. That’s right, a plain old C. My resume was back to the 48th percentile. This time my words are long enough. My brevity/impact/depth scores are the same as the B-minus version, so the only thing left is improving the reading level. I’m scratching my head on this one. Maybe it’s a hint that I should apply to their open scientist position and improve the science behind what makes a good applicant.

I still recommend RezScore despite what I encountered while using it. Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone else, you’ll probably get some good feedback. My case is probably a freaky one.

I got a response on Twitter about this as soon as I commented on the strangeness, by the way. I’m sending the RezScore team my resumes so they can try to figure out what’s going on. The RezScore team gets an A+ for keeping users happy.

8 replies on “RezScore reviews your resume, gives feedback, and confuses the heck out of this writer”

Hi Sujin. Thanks for the comments – I know Jen got your email. While we’re obviously unhappy to be delivering uneven results, we (I) really appreciate the fairness in your post. You absolutely should apply to the scientist position.

Sean (RezScore co-founder)

@SeanWeinberg Hi Sean, thanks for your comment! I can’t imagine what your team’s going through today with all the resumes being uploaded. My situation was so strange that I had to comment on it, and I hope it helps improve your algorithms and make RezScore even better.

As for applying, I do have a math degree and some research experience. I think I will. 🙂

That’s pretty interesting, never heard of that before. Plus, big points to @SeanWeinberg for stopping big and interacting with a very cool individual in @Sushi . If I had a scientist position open in my company, Sujin would be in a white lab coat in no time.

@JMattHicks @SeanWeinberg Wait, we get lab coats? I never wore a lab coat in my science and math classes. Guess my flavor of science doesn’t think much of the lab coat.

P.S. Do we get goggles too? I have to remember Carol. 😉

@Sushi @SeanWeinberg Every scientist wears a lab coat. It’s like ever detective must wear a trench coat, or all of the salesmen in “Tin Men” had to drive Cadillacs. It’s basically an unwritten law recognized both locally and globally. You could by the CSO, Chief Scientific Officer. But that would still require a white lab coat (unless you want to go unconventional like the rocker chick in CSI: Miami). And goggles are also a must. We would require the utmost protection when doing science stuff.

I think in terms of wording it is a brilliant tool. You have to take it with a pinch of salt, as it doesn’t seem to look at the overall impact of a CV hitting human eyes. I would still get a human to proofread it. And if you are doing something very specialist and it is a first job or a career change you really need an industry insider to see it.

But with minimum wage work it may be a godsend. For instance I contrasted on old CV from my minimum wage days, which was horribly formatted, to the rewrite that got me jobs when I was in college. Both get a 95th percentile. But it’s not an inconsistency per se – the wording is preserved in both documents. It just means that the tool doesn’t analyse formatting.

Remember many managers don’t want to read through a pile of CVs, so machine learning parsers will. Especially with minimum wage jobs, where every applicant may be very similar, Rezscore will therefore be important and a CV rewrite helps a lot.

But even with your first job after college it is very different where by applying for a job that actually matches your skills (i.e. not the one an idiot sibling or parent thinks matches your skills) you get into the 95th percentile of candidates by this merit alone. Sometimes just applying for the right job and getting tips from industry insiders does things CV rewrites can’t possibly do.

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