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69. Scan this.
Writing a keyword resume to win a job is like doing tricks to get food.

Keyword resumes are designed to be read by optical character recognition (OCR) systems: machines. They prevent you from using your finest abilities and skills to compete for a job. They take you one step farther from the hiring manager you need to talk with. They force you to compete with anyone who can produce a list of words. This reduces job hunting to a lottery. The rude thing about it is, if you lose, you're probably losing to some con-man who claimed key words that don't belong on his resume.

In order to identify you as a qualified candidate, the reader of your resume must (a) understand the context of your skills, and (b) be expert at the work that his company needs to have done. Keyword resumes violate both of these rules because they make it possible for inexperienced personnel jockeys -- rather than hiring managers -- to process your resume.

You will find that fewer companies are using scanners than you've been led to believe. This is because the underlying technology is trivial and inappropriate. The best OCR systems are about 90% accurate. Most HR departments don't use them because the math doesn't work. An average page has 200 words. A typical resume is two pages. When 40 words are incorrectly "read" in each of 500 resumes, the employer faces a big problem.

If there's a company you're interested in and they scan resumes, you have two choices. Find a "keyword resume writer" and pay to play the game*. Or, pick up the phone and call the manager who needs to fill the job.

The latter option is a lot more effective and it's a lot more work. You must prepare something valuable to say. If you don't believe me, when you get the manager, just try to impress him by rattling off nothing but a bunch of keywords.

Scan this: To win the job, eliminate resumes, personnel jockeys and machines. Get yourself to the manager who needs help and show him what you can do.

* Be ready to pay and lose.

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