What Does Parse Resume Mean?

By Christina Hadley

"Resume parsing" is an employment recruitment process that occurs as you complete a job application and after you email a resume. You may or may not see a "Parse Resume" link while filling out an online job application -- and a reference to this term might not be posted in a job ad that requests you send your resume to an employer -- yet resume parsing could still take place in both of these cases. Therefore, job seekers should understand some of the mechanics behind resume parsing to gain a competitive edge.

Parse Resume Links

When you see a link on an employment application Web page that reads "Parse Resume," clicking that link initiates a Web-based process that extracts information from a resume data field and loads it into the job application's data cells. After you click a "Parse Resume" link, you should review each of the job application's fields to ensure that the parsing results are legible and confirm that your resume's data appears in a logical order. You may need to make manual corrections before submitting the application. If you skip resume parsing, typing your relevant job information into the employer's job application fields will be required.

Email Resume Parsing

The goal of resume parsing is finding qualified candidates through a computer-aided screening process; that's why email resume parsing occurs after you attach and send a Microsoft Word document to an employer's human resource email address. Because parsing emailed resumes enables job recruiters to identify candidates that spam its email address with more than one resume, refrain from sending multiple resumes to an employer and take steps to ensure a recruiter won't overlook your resume. The resume you email should also be prepared for parsing to ensure that a recruiter discovers it.

Resume Parsing Preparation

The technology that facilitates resume parsing converts free-form resume contents into a structure that a computer can analyze. More detail can be captured if the parsing software can identify patterns within your resume, so including a laundry list of skills isn't as helpful as placing your skills in a context, especially if state-of-the-art parsing software is being used on your resume. Remember to not over-format a resume that you suspect will be parsed. Information contained in graphics, headers and footers can result in your resume choking the employer's parsing system. Keep your resume simple and place your contact information in the body of your resume.


Whether you encounter a "Parse Resume" link or email employers your resume, applying knowledge of the resume parsing process helps you better compete with other job applicants. The information that is parsed from resumes is used to separate unqualified candidates from qualified ones -- therefore, pay attention to the keywords you use within your resume. Strategic placement of job-related keywords can give you an edge among employers who depend on resume parsing software. You may land an interview if those strategic keywords are validated by real world job experience.