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Windsor man says efforts to find a job have gone unsuccessful for four years

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Nipun Puthenkandathil has spent the last four years applying for jobs across various sectors, tailoring his resumé to match each specific job application.

He has no shortage of work experience. In fact, prior to moving to Canada in 2019, he acquired 15 years of work experience in the fashion and retail sectors overseas.

Still, the 42-year-old said that not a single employer in Windsor has responded to his resumés with an interview or job offer.

"Every single time, you get a staple email saying, 'We've moved forward but we'll keep your [cover letter].' But you never ever get a call back. It's very frustrating," said Puthenkandathil.

In recent years, crafting a resumé that grabs the attention of employers has become increasingly challenging due to advancements in artificial intelligence, according to a local start-up company.

"Many people don't realize that 99 per cent of Fortune 500 companies actually use AI technology to do the first read on resumes," said Picsume Community Outreach Coordinator Amadis Hali. "But people aren't structuring their resumes to be read by AI. They're structured to be read by humans."

Picsume Community Outreach Coordinator Amadis Hali, seen on Sept. 12, 2023. Picsume is a hiring platform that gets rid of the classic resumé by creating live work profiles with essential and verifiable information. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

The primary motivation behind the creation of Picsume was the need for individuals to rethink both the format and content of their resumés, according to Hali.

Picsume is a hiring platform that gets rid of the classic resumé by creating live work profiles with essential and verifiable information.

The online platform is free and allows users to build profiles that can be easily interpreted by applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Hali said concerns have risen over the behaviours of ATS systems in recent years, and their potential to discriminate candidates for certain jobs based on age, gender and race.

Some applicants have gone to great lengths, even incorporating invisible text to include keywords on their resumés, in an attempt to bypass ATS filters, Hali added.

"There's a lack of transparency with this because, essentially, you are lying on your resume just to get past the filters," said Hali. "So what we're doing is we're trying to make it more transparent by building out a platform that creates you an honest profile."

As for Puthenkandathil, he has acquired a bit of work experience in Windsor but none of them, he said, have been the result of a resumé submission.

"I had to go through someone or I had to know someone who knows someone else," said Puthenkandathil, adding he finds himself stuck in Canada, unable to gain experience since no one is hiring him.

He said it's highly likely that most of the 50+ companies he applied to have never actually seen his resumé due to their AI systems overlooking it based on his unique name.

Picsume will host a job fair on Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the WFCU Centre.

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