Stock image of a virtual interview

For years, Grace Stark had a familiar resource she could turn to any time she was applying for a job. Her father, a writer by trade, was long utilized by family and friends as a resume critic — someone always willing to help as they changed jobs or gained new skills.

When Stark transferred to Fisher earlier this year and changed her major to human resources, however, she quickly realized the resume writing and interview preparation technology offered by the college’s Office of Career Management was unlike anything available at home.

Grace Stark headshot
Grace Stark

Since 2016, Fisher students have had access to the latest career preparation technology through a partnership with VMock, a provider of career-focused services that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to give students feedback and insights that are rooted in real data. Since the technology was rolled out at Fisher, thousands of students have used VMock to create, update and polish their resumes.

“VMock really helped me get my resume into shape,” Stark said. “I knew it was a reliable source for feedback and advice when I compared my first resume with the most recent one I completed using VMock. They’re completely different.”

Built into select courses at Fisher, VMock’s resume tool tailors its feedback to each student based on a number of variables, including: the industries and fields to which they’re applying, effective keywords, phrasing and lexicon, whether personal skills and strengths are missing or understated, and many others. The result is a resume effectiveness rating that is scored against millions of real, high-quality resumes in VMock.

“The platform removes subjectivity as to what constitutes a great resume,” said Salil Pande, VMock’s founder and CEO. “On VMock, platform users get benchmarked against resumes that have led to successful career outcomes for real people. This increases their personal confidence and confidence in the quality of our product.”

For career advisors, the availability of tested, data-driven career insights is a win-win for students and themselves, said Jeff Rice, executive director of Fisher’s OCM.

VMock creates efficiency for OCM’s staff; instead of parsing phrases, aligning bullets and correcting chronologies on resumes, career advisors can better focus on helping students refine their soft skills and interviewing techniques.

“We’ve estimated that VMock has provided a cost savings not just related to time but also to resources in that we haven’t had to hire more people to handle the quantity of resume critiques,” Rice said.

More than resumes

Students are harnessing VMock’s technology to shape their footprint and performance in other areas looked at by recruiters. VMock can optimize LinkedIn profiles to reposition a candidate’s skills and experiences to better position them for recruiting success now and in the future.

And then there’s AI-driven mock interview and pitch preparation.

Madison White headshot
Madison White

Second-year MBA student Madison White utilized the technology’s elevator-pitch program to help her better articulate to potential employers her reasons for leaving the nonprofit industry to pursue an MBA and the new career opportunities the graduate degree may provide.

“It’s helpful because you’re sitting in front of a camera delivering your pitch, and it’s measuring typical aspects of your delivery like pace, tone, expressions and gestures,” White said. “But the program gave me feedback not only on what it heard but what it sees, like non-verbal cues.

“When everything went virtual and internship and job interviews were being recorded and submitted, it was even more useful. My first-round interview with Chase was virtual, so I knew how I needed to speak, act and look on camera.”

The pitch practice and resume critiques paid off: White landed an internship with JPMorgan Chase as a summer associate.

“VMock having the data and analytics to back up its claims really resonated with me,” White said. “The insights it provided were reliable and good. It helped me use my nontraditional background as a way to stand out and kept me from being filtered out during the application process.”

For Stark, VMock’s technology helped her craft a resume that opened the door for an eventual internship at Hexion, a materials manufacturer in Columbus. It also doubled the number of resume experts in the Stark house, as Grace’s boyfriend and her older sister began asking her to review and critique their resumes.

The future

So is the future of career coaching devoid of humans and completely driven by AI, webcams and big data? Not exactly. Each has, and will continue to have, a role in how quality career coaching is delivered, Rice said. Organizations’ ability and agility to recognize the interplay will ultimately dictate success.

Salil Pande headshot
Salil Pande

“Technology can’t replace people; however, technology can displace a big part of what people do,” Pande said. “Complex problems will remain human problems. But humans in the service of solving problems must upskill and upgrade themselves to solve those problems.”

Career-seekers, too, must recognize where algorithms end and aptitude begins, Rice said.

“The technology of the future is dabbling in the emotional intelligence of a person,” he said. “But the one thing technology can’t do is incorporate all of our senses and our sense of nuance, which are the most important aspects of presenting ourselves. Knowing the spectrum of humility and arrogance, and positioning yourself in the middle as a self-confident individual who is able to connect culturally with a company is what will drive success.”

“Those aspects, along with virtue, will always depend on a human connection. Nothing in the near future will take the place of the 6 feet between you and another person in how you share your emotions and skillset.”

This story was part of the Office of Career Management's 2020-21 Annual Report. 

View the entire report




The technology of the future is dabbling in the emotional intelligence of a person. But the one thing technology can’t do is incorporate all of our senses and our sense of nuance, which are the most important aspects of presenting ourselves.

Jeff RiceExecutive Director, Office of Career Management