Are you looking for a new job? If so, you will likely head online, as most job seekers do. While a good percentage of job seekers search for open positions online, a growing number of the unemployed are also adding their resumes to online resume databases. Hiring companies search these databases to find qualified job candidates. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who wrongly keyword stuff their resumes. The goal is to hope that their resume will come up in a wide range of searches (even if they aren’t qualified for the job). So why is this a bad idea?
First, it is important to focus on the
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keyword stuffing aspect. When you upload a resume to an online database, employers find that resume through the use of a keyword search. So lets say an insurance company is looking to hire an office manager; they will do a search with the phrase “office manager” or “office management.” An online resume database searches through resumes and pulls up resumes where that exact phrase or a slight variation of it was used.
Keyword stuffing is when you insert multiple keywords or phrases, such as the above mentioned office manager, multiple times throughout your resume. Wrongly keyword stuffing focuses on using keywords or phrases that are not relevant to your resume. For example, lets say most of your job experience is working in retail. You have no office management experience whatsoever but want your resume to appear in searches companies perform looking for an office manager. So along with your job duties as a cashier, you write “managed thousands of dollars in cash daily until leaving to become an office manager.”
So when that insurance company goes to search for “office manager” resumes, your resume will likely appear on their qualified applicants list but you aren’t really qualified because you wrongly used a sought after keyword or keyword phrase.
But are there dangers of taking this approach? In most cases, there are no true dangers; it will just take you longer to find a job. When a company opens a resume and sees that you misrepresented yourself through the use of keywords or phrases, they are going to closeout your resume and keep looking. A hiring manager does not have the time to go through and blacklist you (but honestly you never know).
Please note that there is nothing wrong with using good, strong keywords on your resume. In fact, you are encouraged to research some of the most sought after phrases. However, it is vital that you keep them relevant to your job history and qualifications. Want to use the phrase management to associate it with your job as a cashier – try “money management” in an applicable sentence instead. While your resume will not appear in every search an employer performs, it will show up for the positions you are truly qualified for. This will improve your chances of actually landing a job.
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