Candidates are very concerned about the screening process they hit when they submit to posted openings, and how to get their résumé to the top of the pile. One critical aspect is keywords. My good friend Alex Freund wrote a simple, step-by-step approach to this in his blog.
Sometimes I hear people giving advice to put those keywords in a special section of the résumé, in white text so they don’t print. Resist!
Many internal and external recruiters and HR people have caught on to that and immediately look for ‘hidden’ text that might have been put there simply to improve the hits on a screening program. Many screening programs highlight words that were otherwise hidden so that the report points those out specially. In either case, you have likely just eliminated yourself from any further consideration, and damaged your professional reputation to boot.
(Have you ever noticed those porn sites that use all sorts of unrelated keywords on their pages and postings to increase their search results? Do you want to be equated with that?)
Others try having a keyword section in their résumé, hoping to increase the scores in the screening routines. If that section is at the very end of the résumé, it may be OK, but at the same time it definitely detracts from the professional appearance of your résumé.
The best way is to carefully use those keywords in your various job-related bullets, and in your opening profile.
Here are the 3 questions your résumé MUST answer to grab a hiring manager’s attention.
And while you’re here, click here: “Résumé” – for a host of articles on how to make the most of your résumé.