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Tandem Powered offers a full suite of Professional Resume Writing, Career Development, and HR / Business Consulting services.


Tandem Powered's blog is dedicated to empowering readers by highlighting best practices in the arena of resume writing, career development, and organizational effectiveness, as well as by providing readers with an insider's view of the corporate hiring process.

Gaming Automated Resume Screening Systems

Kent Nolen

As I have shared before, I provide some resume and career development advice through a few popular on-line forums.  In doing so, I see a lot of discussions about ways to game automated resume screening systems.  Not only is this a waste of energy, it is largely ineffective.  Here are two of the more common approaches I see and why they are unlikely to work. “Invisible” keywords:  Many people think that listing blocks of white keywords in a tiny font will make their resume sail through screening systems.  The truth is that those keywords aren’t invisible for long.  Many resume screening systems will print out a formatting free version of your resume.  That means all of your "hidden" text will show right up.  What’s more, savvier resume screening systems will actually look for this very thing and eliminate the guilty culprits.

Copy the job description: A more transparent but equally ineffective approach is to simply copy large parts of the job description.  While this might get your resume through an automated resume screening system, it is going to be painfully obvious to human readers.  Remember, the screening system is just the first line – actual people will read your resume.

The most effective way to get your resume through automated resume screening systems is to 1) be qualified and 2) target your resume toward each specific position.  Like I said above, this does not mean copying the requisition verbatim.  It means making sure your resume directly addresses the job requirements and strategically uses keywords from the requisition.

Forget gaming the system.  Focus your energy on creating an achievement-focused resume that clearly outlines your potential impact.  When it comes to resumes, there is simply nothing more effective.