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Resume Keyword Practices to Avoid
We’ve established that using resume keywords throughout your application boosts your chances of a human hiring manager seeing it.
However, be careful not to overdo it.
Packing your resume full of keywords is almost as bad as not including any at all.
Don’t forget that a real person will (hopefully) see your resume at some point. So use natural language that engages that person.
Make sure you balance hard skills vs soft skills on your resume to show you’re a rounded candidate.
Otherwise, they’ll think you’re either a bad writer — which indicates your communication skills aren’t good — or assume you’re trying to beat the ATS, making you seem dishonest.
This is a sneakier trick some applicants use. It involves copy-pasting a keyword several times, but applying a white font so that the keywords are invisible.
But because the ATS scans all words despite their color, it counts all instances of a keyword. For example, a resume might contain five “invisible” instances of the keyword “business analysis” but only three “visible” ones. The “Find” tool can reveal where invisible keywords are:
Business Analyst with over 5 years of experience supporting business solution software and performing business analysis. Aiming to utilize my strong prioritization skills and business analysis ability to achieve the goals of your company. Possess a Certification in Business Analysis.
Invisible keywords are used by some candidates.
The ATS counts all eight instances though, and “ranks” that resume higher.
However, since most ATS software lets the hiring manager see a plain text version of the resume, “hidden” keywords appear, and they’ll see your trick.
The result? You’ll come across as untrustworthy, and not worth hiring.