How to Use White Words in a Resume

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Recently, larger companies have begun to request scannable resumes from job applicants. Upon receipt, resumes are scanned into an applicant database via scanning software. When a position opens, the recruiter finds potential candidates by conducting a keyword search in the database. For example: If the recruiter is seeking applicants with PowerPoint experience, "PowerPoint" is the keyword for the search. Job seekers can manipulate these keyword searches by using white words in their resumes. As a result, the job seeker increases the frequency in which they come up in the employer's database searches.

Determine Your White Words

Review the job posting and identify the key words. Key words can be found under the "minimum requirements section." Also look for words that are used repeatedly throughout the job posting.

Check the identified key words against your resume. If you have the described experience/skills, determine if there is a natural place in your resume to include these key words. If your resume is already too long, or if the skill/experience doesn't fit under any of your past positions, consider adding it to your white word list.

Review your white words to ensure that they are truly representative of your skills and experience.

Adding White Words

Type the key words at the bottom of your resume. Per Joe Corno, president/owner of Atyp Consulting, white words should be in all capitalized letters, with a double space between each word.

Highlight the key words and change their font color to white, which creates the white word. Save your changes.

Follow the instructions in the job posting for resume submission. The employer may ask that your scannable resume not be emailed, but instead submitted in hard copy form.


Research the position online and review additional job descriptions. You might find important key words that were not included in the original job posting. Create a white word document on your computer, and add any new white words that you identify. Over time, you will have a comprehensive list.


Use caution when using white words. Don't misrepresent yourself, as the truth will most likely come out in the interview. Recruiters are in disagreement about white words. Some recruiters think it is a dishonest practice, but others believe it is acceptable. Weigh your options before making the decision to use white words.