Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Resume Keyword Stuffing

Hey there, SuperStar!

This article explains the difference between tailoring your resume for the position and Resume Keyword Stuffing (which Recruiters HATE). I also give you some tools to help you make sure your resume’s on target and tells your professional story in the best way.

You know how you buy a purple plaid car thinking “This is unique!” only to start seeing dozens of purple plaid cars on the road? (OK – maybe not purple plaid cars exactly…but you know what I mean.)

Anyway, within the span of 48 hours I had several people introduce me Wordle.net – a fun and useful website for Entrepreneurs and Job Seekers.

Kathy Lenze, Instructional Technologist, gave me her Word Cloud business card – which she designed herself using Wordle – a free website that lets you create key-word-based word clouds.

A word cloud’s an image composed of words used in a particular text, in which the size of each word shows its frequency or importance. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so here’s Kathy’s business card.


Then, eLearning Guru Dawn Adams Miller, blew my mind with Wordle. She told me how she had interviewed for her dream job and then realized it wasn’t ideal after all. There was a gap between the way she had interpreted the job description and the way the Hiring Manager expected the position to operate.

She explained that this misalignment was further confirmed when she ran the job description through Wordle, and saw how Wordle’s emphasis of main keywords aligned with the Hiring Manager’s verbal description of the role – and not her interpretation.

many small light bulbs equal big oneThis got me thinking that Job Seekers can use Wordle as a validation step in the job-hunting process.

You can copy and paste a job description into Wordle to see what key words come up most frequently – and to see if those key words are in your skill set. This may help you clarify if you are – or are not – a good match for a position.

Here’s an example of a Talent Development Manager job description from The Ladders (which is a source for 6-figure jobs).

Job Descriptions - Talent Development Manager - 2014-11-21_1549

Use this technique with caution. This approach assumes that the job description is well written. As we learned in my Managing for Success webinar this week, most job descriptions are poorly written.

Fortunately, our guest speaker, Tom Becker (VP of Recruiting for the Manpower Group in North America) guided our managers through writing the perfect job description, and the pros and cons of using a recruiter to hire your next team member. 

Blank warning boardSome Job Seekers may be tempted to use this Worldle validation technique as a way to change their resume for the job and stuff it with all the major keywords that you see in the Wordle-ized job description. Again, proceed with caution.

There’s a difference between tailoring your resume for the position and Resume Keyword Stuffing.

Resume Keyword stuffing is the practice of loading a resume with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a Job Seeker’s ranking in ATS (Applicant Tracking System) search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (i.e. not as natural prose).

Seasoned Recruiters can easily detect Keyword Stuffers, and they don’t like them.

WomanInPinkReviewsResumeFolder-iStock_000011166876SmallGenerally, there are 2 to 3 gatekeepers your resume has to pass through during the hiring process:

  1. The online ATS (Applicant Tracking System) where you upload your resume
  2. The Initial Screener (e.g. the Recruiter)
  3. The Hiring Manager

While the keyword stuff resume may get through the first gate keeper (i.e.. the ATS) it probably won’t get much further because the next gate keepers are human beings who don’t want their eyes to hurt.

Less than 30% of all applications submitted online are ever seen by the human eye, according to Corridor CareersKeyword stuffing generally decreases your odds of success and leads to your resume being thrown into the trash.

Approach your resume just like Thanksgiving dinner: Too much stuffing bloats the system, and causes your job-hunting process to become lethargic and crawl to a halt.

Refine your resume now, and start getting the interviews you deserve! The world needs your unique gifts, so let your talents shine!

Top 5 Free Resume Hacks - COVER - FULL SIZEReady To Speed Up Your Job Search?…

If it’s taking too long to find your next job, check out my free eGuide called The Top 5 (FREE) Resume Hacks to Revive Your Job Search.

90% of job seekers don’t know about these 5 Resume Hacks, so snag your copy now so you can stay ahead of the game.

Want to learn more secrets to revitalize your resume + job search?

Register now for my free webinar on Sunday, 11/27 at 7 pm EST: The Real Deal on How to Find your McDreamy Job.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in class!

PS – If you have a friend who’s so miserable at work that she dreads getting up in the morning, please share this information with her.

PPS – If you’re tired of feeling helpless while hearing your significant other go on and on about how much he dislikes his manager and his job, then please share this information with him.

Write the Perfect Resume. Get Called for the Perfect Interview

To learn how to create a modern “OMG! Call them in for an interview NOW!” resume that tells YOUR professional story, take my on-demand online class: Resumes for a Richer Life: Stand Out from the Crowd. #PayWhatYouCan

Give me 1 hour and I’ll show you how to create a resume that gets you the interview without having to rewrite your resume for every job you’re interested in.

As a BONUS, you’ll also learn to create a compelling cover letter that’ll have them at Hello.


Fall back in love with your career.

SuperStar Careers helps ambitious, mid-career professionals live the career of their DREAMS through SuperStar Career Coaching, Career Management training, and resume & LinkedIn profile creation.

Sign up as a VIP below for the TRUE NORTH newsletter, and I’ll send you Sneak Previews of techniques to help you have a love affair with your career – before the general public gets access. Plus, you’ll hear juicy work stories that I only share in e-mail.

I look forward to helping you fall back in love with your career.


Michelle C. Braun - SuperStar Career Coach, Executive Coach, Learning & Leadership Development Guru


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