I can haz mad communication skillz…

By Laura Bergells on

If you say you have excellent communication skills, you’re demonstrating that you don’t. Communication skills are self evident, not self described.

I can haz cat

Yet many hiring managers persistently write “strong communication skills” as a requirement in job descriptions. Sadly, savvy job hunters must include the vile term “excellent communication skills” in their résumés …or risk being rejected by an automated résumé keyword scanner.

The automated résumé keyword scanner is a nasty robot that scans your résumé before humans get a chance to review it. If your résumé fails to include all the requirements in the posted job description, you’ll get an automated rejection letter. A human being who has the power to hire you may never even see your résumé.

Therefore, in order to prove that you possess excellent communication skills, your résumé must demonstrate poor written communication skills. Blind to the finer nuances of communication (sentence structure, word choice, posture, tone of voice, etc.), an adroitly programmed robot will systematically reject the most exceptional candidates.

How Orwellian and twisted has job hunting become in 2012? And how might an excellent communicator get around the robot?

The fault lies squarely with hiring managers. Why put “excellent communication skills” in a job description at all? It’s not like “an absence of communication skills” would ever be desirable. And when HR departments use robots to eliminate people, don’t be surprised when résumés include spammy, meta keyword-loaded sections titled “FOR AUTOMATED KEYWORD SCANNING ROBOTS ONLY”. You asked for it!

After all, ‘audience identification & analysis’ is one of the first tasks a skilled communicator will perform!