Sunday, August 04, 2013

Stars in sci-fi plot of job hunt face battle with 'robots'

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THE image of a robot wielding power over people's lives would have fitted nicely in a sci-fi plot just a few decades ago. That most famous spaceship commander of the 1960s, Captain Kirk, could have asked a robot to pick his crew, and millions of jaws around the world would have missed a bite or two over TV dinners. However, the 'gee whiz' is now just an echo in the airwaves of time as computer programs provide management tools that society accepts with a shrug.
ONE program even finds errors and inconsistencies in a tax return – ha, ha – and millions of Australians are itching to download the latest version of e-tax from the ATO. Computer technology offers 'yes/no' options for users of so many applications it makes some old sci-fi writers look a tad short of imagination. The scenarios may be scary. Take, for example, the case of a job applicant who spends many hours sweating over the documenting of his/her working life, only to have a computer in effect trash the resume before it even goes under human eyes.
THAT seems to be fairly common as employers and recruitment specialists often use programs to identify key words and phrases in job applications to decide the best candidates. An operator defines the criteria for the program to comb the carefully crafted text, and if it fails to pass the test the writer may as well reach for a Newstart form and see how they go with that robot. But don't give up hope. Some highly experienced writers are available to help applicants jump such a 'techno-hurdle'. Antony Leibbrandt, of Thornlands, has run a resume service in Redland City for more than a decade. IN the mid-1990s, he and his wife Lauren brought their family from Johannesburg, South Africa, where they ran retail franchises. The couple soon opened a children's specialty shop, Only Kids, at Capalaba, and now own a company, Trellidor Queensland, marketing a wide range of security-related products. Antony makes the time to help jobseekers create professional resumes and advertises his firm, A Superior Resume, in our Classifieds, also offering selection criteria counselling, interview coaching and advice on the 'hidden job market'.
ANTONY acknowledges the development of computers in application screening for qualities such as "reliability", "enthusiasm", "ambition" and a host of other desirables but he says the perfectly tailored resume goes a lot deeper. "The key words and phrases may come down to a technical level and applicants can benefit from assistance in identifying them," he says. Antony says two golden rules apply in any job hunt – always be honest and remember that first impressions are important, so practise with a family or friend before an interview and dress well on the day.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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