Resume Parsing, also known as CV Parsing, Resume Extraction or CV Extraction, is the conversion of a free-form CV/resume document into structured information or XML format — suitable for storage, reporting and manipulation by a computer.

Recruitment agencies work with CV/Resume Parsing tools to automate the storage and analysis of CV/Resume data.This saves recruiters hours of work by eliminating manual processing of each job application and CV they receive.

The most common CV/Resume format is MS Word. Despite being easy for humans to read and understand, is quite difficult for a computer to interpret. Unlike our brains which gain or disseminate context through understanding the situation along with taking into consideration the words around it, to a computer a resume is just a long sequence of letters, numbers and punctuation. A CV parser is a program that can analyze a document, and extract from it the elements of what the writer actually meant to say. In the case of a CV the information is all about skills, work experience, education, contact details and achievements.

The task of extracting data and interpreting meaning is a surprisingly difficult task for a computer to do because:

  • Language is infinitely varied. There are hundreds of ways to write down a date, for example, and countless ways to write what you did in your last job. A resume parsing tool captures all these different ways of writing the same thing through complex rules and statistical algorithms.
  • Language is ambiguous. The same word or phrase can mean different things in different contexts.

For example:

• “MD” can mean a variety of things: “Medical Doctor,” If you are in the UK, you may immediately think of “Managing Director,” or if you’re more familiar with the Mid-Atlantic region in the U.S, “Maryland” may spring to mind.

• A 4-digit number can be part of a telephone number, a home address, part of a social security number, a Swiss zip code, a year or a version of a software package.

• The term “Project Manager” may indicate that the writer was indeed a project manager, but it is quite different if it is in a different context, like “I used to report to the Project Manager”.

The only way CV parsing software can resolve these ambiguities is by understanding and analyzing the context in which they are used. A good CV parser uses complex rules and statistical algorithms to be “Intelligent.”


Other articles you may find of interest:

Key Measurements of a Good Parser

Types of Parsers and How They Work

CV Parsing Fact or Fiction: You Decide


2 Responses to “What is CV/Resume Parsing?”

  1. Junko

    Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • cwatson

      @Junko, thank you for your feedback! Please keep us bookmarked for more informative blog items.