Free AI Resume Reviews: A Word Of Caution

by | Finding A Job, Resumes & LinkedIn

With additional light being shed on the prevalence of applicant tracking systems (ATS), sometimes called “resume bots,” you might be tempted to use a free resume scanner or AI resume reviewer to support your job search efforts.

A quick Google search for top free resume scanners and AI resume review services will populate countless resources to support you in improving your career documents before sending them off to prospective employers.

However, like most things found online, you’ll want to proceed with caution before uploading your career documents to an AI resume scanning tool.

What You Need To Know About Free AI Resume Reviewers

Here’s what you should keep in mind before you use a free resume reviewer or AI scanner:

1. There are more than 600 applicant tracking systems on the market.

Many of the free resume review services and AI scanners you find online will claim to make your resume “ATS compatible” in the hopes of “getting past the resume bots.” Frankly, this marketing is misleading and at times deceptive, and it has even been the subject of lawsuits.

People create and maintain ATS, so your resume needs to be written for human readers while remaining compatible with modern technology. Saving your resume as a .txt file is one of the simplest ways to see how an ATS is likely to parse, or read, your resume. This article provides a deep dive into what you need to know about ATS when job searching; it’s constantly updated with the latest information.

Also, while many of the large tech companies use a handful of popular ATS, like Workday, Greenhouse, and Taleo, there are more than 600 tracking systems currently on the market, explains Robin Schlinger, a resume writer and ATS resume expert, in a webinar for the National Resume Writers Association. No online resume review service can take into the nuances of every ATS.

Plus, many tech companies use in-house applicant tracking systems, or significantly adapt popular ATS to meet their enterprise needs, so you can’t know exactly how they’ll sort and review your resume.

Additionally, the rapid adoption and evolution of AI have transformed how companies review resumes. For instance, some companies are using tools that provide recruiters with AI-produced summaries of resumes to allow them to review more applications in less time.

Simply put, a resume review service can’t provide you with quality feedback that considers all the various ATS on the market or keep up with the constant evolution of sourcing and recruiting.

2. You’re likely to receive generic advice, regardless of the industry or role you’re targeting.

If you do choose to use a resume scanner or AI resume review service, you might think that the feedback is deeply customized to you, your resume, and your unique job search goals. However, this is rarely the case.

Many job seekers have sent me the “customized feedback” they receive from these popular resume review platforms, and it’s nearly identical, regardless of their experience level, target role, industry, or work they’ve highlighted on their resume.

In fact, they’ll often apply the changes the resume review service suggested and then receive the same feedback as they did on their pre-review resume.

3. Your unique situation won’t be considered by the review service.

Beyond generic copy-and-paste feedback, these popular resume review platforms typically don’t ask for information about your:

  • Years of experience
  • Target companies and positions
  • Industry
  • Education level
  • Country

In other words, the suggestions they provide exist in a silo and don’t consider your unique situation and additional factors that will impact how you construct your resume to appeal to recruiters and hiring managers.

4. Free resume review services are often a house of cards.

Moreover, your resume review will likely include a percentage or similar metric as part of the “scoring.” However, a deeper dive into the scoring methodology will reveal that it’s often a house of cards.

At best, these scores are unclear, and at worst, they’re completely arbitrary and won’t change even if you implement every suggestion provided by the service.

Many times, these scores focus on matching your action verbs to the job posting, which isn’t a criteria recruiters use to select which applicants to invite for an interview.

In reality, these percentages and other feedback mechanisms are typically just marketing tactics to entice you to purchase a paid resume review or rewrite from the platform.

5. Free AI resume review providers are ultimately trying to sell you their paid services.

Please keep in mind that if these resume review platforms didn’t eviscerate your document, you wouldn’t be scared into buying their resume writing services.

You must remember that these companies are businesses striving to generate money. At the end of the day, the free resume review is a marketing funnel with the sole purpose of generating new clients. Period.

6. Your resume is only one component of a holistic job search.

Finally, crafting a powerful, keyword-optimized resume is only one aspect of a modern, comprehensive job search. Resume scanners and AI reviewers don’t consider factors beyond the resume you share with them and exist in a silo.

If you want to land a job quickly in the current market, you need to look beyond your resume. You must also ensure that you:

Does Google Use ATS For Resume Screening?

Yes, when you apply to Google, Amazon, Meta, and other large tech companies, as well as many hypergrowth startups, your resume will be stored in an ATS that allows recruiters to find and review applications. You can think of the ATS as a large digital filing cabinet with advanced sorting capabilities that allow humans to more easily locate your resume.

[Read: How To Find A Job In Tech Online: 7 Tips]

Can AI Review My Resume?

You can absolutely use AI to review your resume, and free resume reviewers can be particularly helpful in identifying the keywords in a job posting. However, you want to take the feedback with a grain of salt and keep in mind that these platforms are ultimately businesses looking to generate a profit.

Should I Use AI To Write My Resume?

AI, including ChatGPT, can be helpful when crafting your resume, particularly if you’re lacking confidence in your writing abilities or English is your second language. That said, AI should complement, not supplement, your own writing. You always want to review, fact-check, and polish the content you receive from AI, as you’re ultimately responsible for the materials you submit to prospective employers.

[Read: 6 Ways To Make Writing Your Resume Less Challenging]

Final Thoughts On Free AI Resume Reviews

Free resume scanners and AI reviewers can sometimes be helpful mechanisms to aid in your resume writing process, so long as you recognize their purpose and limitations. Additionally, know that no single tool can replace putting time, energy, and effort into your job search. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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