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Attention Superstars: If You Have More Than 25 Resume Keywords, I'm Hitting "Delete"

Harry Joiner over at Marketing Headhunter has a sweet post on something I've seen, but not every day like he has to contend with it.  The topic?  Turning your resume into a piece of spam by adding a "keyword" section to make sure it is picked up in as many searches as possible.   Here's Harry's definition and an example:

"Keyword spam is a long string of words at the end of a resume put there by the job-seekerKeywords with the intention of improving his chances that a recruiting researcher will find it.  For example, here are the keywords at the bottom of a resume I just pulled up ...

RESUME KEYWORDS: online, on-line, interactive, ecommerce, e-commerce, ebusiness, e-business, marketing, internet, web, executive, COO, CEO, CMO, Chief Marketing Officer, CIO, EVP, SVP, Senior Vice President, VP, President, GM, Managing Director, multichannel, multi-channel, retail, retailer, etailer, e-tail, e-tailer, online retailer, product, product management, brand management, online marketing, SEO, search engine optimization, SEM, search engine marketing, paid search, affiliate marketing, email marketing, merchandising, merchandise, catalog, cataloger, direct marketing, direct marketer, six sigma, 6-sigma, business-to-business, B2B, B2C, business to consumer, CRM, education, content, strategy, business process, public relations, media, French, international, multinational, apparel, clothing, fashion, jewelry, accessories, luxury, designer, branding, finance, bank, banking, home furnishings, private sector, not for profit, nonprofit, non-profit, environment, new media, entertainment, vision, leader, innovate, innovative, innovator.

Here's what I see as a recruiter at a software company.  Lots of technical resumes with about 50 technologies listed on each, and having to decide, based on the information shared, whether they are worth a call.  Additionally, I also love the candidates who list 50 pieces of technology, then act put out when they answer the phone, like I should have figured out that they haven't really used Cold Fusion that much.  Was it listed?  Sure... But I should have known that it is really not their strength...

Harry goes on to make a great point in his post.  Keywords are fine, but as a high-end candidate, you have to have a special competency that you can prove and create a niche in.  Similar to many of the theories of Seth Godin, who also encourages you to "specialize and dominate" (Harry's words, Seth uses similar theory).

If you haven't plugged Harry's blog in your google reader, do it NOW.  Harry's got some great insight into the deep science of the recruiting world, which is why I read him and why he's even been a part of the HR Blog Power Rankings as a marketing pro.


Search Engine Marketing Company

i actually can't imagine that there are people who uses search engine optimization (by adding keywords) in their resumes...


Hey I totally agree with you. I hope people writing online resume you know, they should be familiar with keywords or tags. The benefit is you will have the edge over the other applicants.

By the way, have you heard about the video resume? Its hot right now. Im not saying this will replace the traditional way of writing a great resume but i find this beneficial for people seeking job overseas.

Heres the definition a video resume: A video resume is a short video created by a candidate for employment and uploaded to the Internet for prospective employers to review. The video resume describes the individual's skills and experience and is is typically used to supplement a paper resume.

A video resume can be created by a professional or you can create your own.

My personal tips: It is important to use an appropriate introduction and closing for the recording. Your introduction should be short and sweet, explaining who you are and the purpose and format for the online video. Your closing should provide a very specific next step for the employer to follow in making direct contact with you. Always include your written resume folded and attached to the recording. I think thats it!

Take a look at this website. Check it out. - this website provide a means for users to incorporate video resumes into their profiles.

I hope you find beneficial! Good Day! =)

HRIS System

Many applicant tracking systems either standalone or as part of a larger HRIS are sophisticated enough that they will throw you out automatically if your resume is too keyword dense. Great article-thanks for sharing.


I have been looking for information on this topic. I found your post to be well-written and informative. Thank you!

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