Sometimes I work directly with clients as a freelancer, and at other times I work as a contractor (perhaps sub-contractor is a better term) for other companies or agencies. This means my CV is widely distributed and I get calls and emails from all sorts of companies, some of whom clearly have no idea what technical communicators do. I also accept that sometimes a recruiter will make a mistake and think that a particular word in my CV such as "J2EE development", which I have used to describe a company or environment, is actually part of my personal skill set. Mistakes happen. Keyword searching is an example of where computers can make more mistakes more frequently. This is a disadvantage of computerised keyword searches, and most reputable recruiters recognise this. They would use a computerised search only as a first filter, and would then ask their staff to check CVs individually and only contact candidates who really did have the right experience.
Alas, not all agencies do this. Instead of being ashamed of their bad practice in relying purely on computerised search, some agencies appear to be proud of how little effort they put in to researching candidates, and are happy to tell us poor candidates so. Here's an extract from something I received yesterday that really does drive me mad:
Please note that there will be certain percentage of people who receive this mail shot that will not be suitable. This is due to the search being computerised as we have over 580,000 candidates registered and it is physically impossible to do a manual match. Even though we do use complex search strings there are always going to be errors from the system as it is a free text search that picks up buzz words. I hope this goes some way to explaining why you may receive ill matched mail shots from time to time.
And the poor grammar and sentence construction doesn't help either.
Blue carrots? Editor required!
13 hours ago