Why Resume Keywords and Resume Software Are Worthless?

As an author and keynote speaker on career success, I attend and speak at career development events each month.  When I visit the vendor booths at some of these conferences, it amazes me to see some of the questionable products that vendors are trying to sell to job-seekers and Career Centers.  The majority of these products have been developed by technology experts who unfortunately don’t understand what really goes into a successful job search.

To be clear, these people are trying to help.  They mean well. 

However, they incorrectly think they have the secret formula on what it takes to help you stand out from the competition during your job search. 

If I had to assign a percentage to the role a resume plays in a job search, I would estimate less than 10%, due to the importance of your job search strategy, your attitude, your references, your body language, your networking skills, your presentation skills, your interviewing skills, and so on.    

Some top employers receive hundreds or thousands of unsolicited resumes every week.  Good luck standing out in a pile of 13,279 resumes if you are relying on resume keywords or resume software. 

The best way to stand out in a mile-high stack of resumes is NOT by using resume keywords or resume software to beat a computer system’s screening process.  The best way to stand out in a stack of resumes is to never end up in the stack in the first place!

How did I beat out hundreds of more experienced candidates to land my first dream job to work for an NBA franchise when I was a shy, 21 year-old student who had never even had a full-time job before?  It certainly wasn’t because of keywords on my resume. 

How did I land multiple 6-figure job offers at the start of the current recession?  It certainly wasn’t because I had access to the latest/greatest resume software program.  In fact, two of the companies who made me those 6-figure offers brought me in for initial interviews before they even saw my resume.

Don’t get me wrong: a bad resume can certainly remove you from consideration.  However, even a really good resume is not sufficient to land your dream job (or any job).  You need a lot more to distinguish yourself and land your dream job, especially in the current climate.

Here is the bottom line: Employers don’t hire resumes; employers hire people

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