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Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Hit or Miss
Do you know the difference between a hit and a visit? Fifteen years ago, the definitions would not even be related. A hit would be something that you did with a baseball and a visit is something you did on Sunday afternoons. Now, a hit and a visit are two Internet terms that most people get confused.

Go to Google and do a search on “Finance Executive” and you will get a total of over 267 million “hits” on that search term. That means the search engine found that phrase 267 million times on the Internet, give or take a few thousand. When a resume is in a resume database on an online site such as, CareerBuilder, etc., it is searched by recruiters and hiring managers who have paid to have access to that database. They search the database using noun phrases such as “finance executive” or “CEO Retail”. The search engine of the database finds every resume that has those keywords in them and lists them just like Google does, only without the pay-for-placement options that the major search engines have.

I hear from new clients who have been using an old resume in their job search that they are receiving a lot of “hits” on their resume but no calls. They are watching the statistics of their resume on the database system. Each time someone searches on a phrase that is used in the resume, the system records it as a “hit”. What most people don’t understand, though, is that a hit doesn’t mean much.

Back to my Google example above…if you are one of the top ten sites out of that 267 million, the chances are good that your site is going to get a “visit”. A visit is when the searcher clicks on your site and goes there to read more. The same thing is true in a resume database. If your resume is ranked high, you will get more visits meaning the recruiter actually pulls your resume up and reads it. But what if you are number 180 million in the Google listing? Nothing is going to happen except that your site statistics will show your site received a “hit”. No one is going to scroll through thousands of pages to get down to the 180 millionth one listed.

The same is true of resume databases online. Hits don’t mean much but visits are key. If your resume is being viewed or pulled up by recruiters who have searched it out, you should be getting calls if it is powerfully written. There is a fine balance that must occur for a resume to do well in an online database. First, it must be chock-full of noun phrases that represent what recruiters would be searching on if they are searching for someone with your background. Call them keywords if you will, but I like noun phrases because it is more accurate. Recruiters don’t search on verb phrases or adjectives such as “detail-oriented”; they search using nouns such as manager, banking, General Electric, Dallas, etc.

A resume should have lots of noun phrases for the benefit of the search engine function, but to read powerfully, they must be verb-based. A balance must be struck between writing for the computer and writing for the human who will eventually read it. Computers can’t differentiate between good candidates and poor ones. Recruiters do that and they generally make the first assessment based on the resume. A resume that is verb-based has more persuasive power than a resume that is noun-based. Thus, the fine balance that is needed within the resume itself must be found.

The bottom line is do not judge the effectiveness of your resume in online databases on the number of “hits” it generates. Hits really have very little to do with effectiveness. Effectiveness should be judged on one thing – is your phone ringing? If you aren’t getting calls for interviews, hit counts make no difference.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 /


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