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Between the Trapezes

Job Search and Privacy

March 2007



Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in our lives feel precarious as we are suspended between two certainties. But the frightening moment passes as we bravely go on to the next step -- as we always do.

Enjoy reading, and feel free to forward this e-zine on to anyone, wherever they are job searching! And if you received this e-mail in error, our apologies -- just unsubscribe using the easy link at the bottom of this page.



Resume Tricks Can Backfire

A Monster-ous Invasion of Privacy?

If Your Group Needs a Speaker...

Resume Tricks Can Backfire

Man reading rpt

About ten years ago, resume writers who knew a little HTML made an interesting discovery: In HTML, you could put key word meta tags in the backgrounds of web pages, and by making the words the same color as the background, you'd make them invisible to the human eye. Yet the search engines would still find the page. So why not do the same for resumes in Word, making white-on-white key words that resume screening software can find? Or by using text (key words) so small that a string of them looked like a plain line?

Way back then, I was an outplacement consultant and (here comes the self-disclosure!) yes, I plead guilty to actually recommending such ideas then. But it didn't take for me long to realize this was bad practice, because essentially it's not honest. And because technology keeps changing, so it would be only a matter of time before such things would be caught. So I stopped talking about these tricks to clients.

A recent Wall Street Journal article only confirms such "trickery" as a bad idea. Why? As the WSJ says, because employers consider it dishonest and sneaky. And they have upgraded the resume screening software to find such tricks, then delete or demote resumes that use them.

So if a key word is not associated with the text around it, that resume can get bounced to the bottom of the electronic pile. Or if there's a paragraph consisting soley of key words, visible or not, the screening software will give this resume a lower rank, because, as one of the article's sources said, "it's unprofessional".

So what do you do? Your career and industry key words must be used well within the context of your resume. If your gifts do not include writing, work with someone who is good at it. It could mean the difference between your resume getting read or not.

If you have access to the Wall Street Journal online (subscription only), see the whole article at "Why Sneaky Tactics May Not Help Resume", by Sarah Needleman on March 6th.

For more about resumes...

A Monster-ous Invasion of Privacy?

Another article caught our eye recently, on It is by Pam Dixon, the Executive Director of The World Privacy Forum, a non-profit, non-partisan research firm focusing on all aspects of privacy. The research causes the reader to wonder what happens to a resume you post on and similar services: what privacy rights do you really have once you've made public all your information?

This report is quite long and can be found in its entirety at For another, shorter World Privacy Forum article with tips about safely posting to resume databases, see click here.

The main advice: really read the site's Privacy Policy, and check off "confidential" if you do post your resume online. In our era of identity theft and other electronic crime, it pays to be careful.

If Your Group Needs a Speaker... to us.

One of Joanne Meehl's favorite activities is speaking to groups of professionals, graduate students, civic groups, business meetings, and other organizations. The attendees do not need to be in job search. Audiences tell her they enjoy her lively, interactive style.

Here are some favorite topics she addresses:

  • What's your value in today's and tomorrow's job market?
  • Avoiding layoffs by polishing up your VALUE gems
  • Why be miserable? Find the work you love
  • Doing a value-based job search
  • Three ways to a winning resume
  • Avoiding interview blunders
  • Today's job search isn't like your parents'

These can be customized for each group.

Joanne speaks next at WIND West in Westborough, tomorrow, Tuesday morning, March 20th. Her topic: Are You Doing a Value-Based Job Search? And she partners with business coach Kate Hyland Mercer on April 5th for Finding the Job That Fits You! at Holliston Adult Ed. If you'd like more details, contact her at

To learn more about having Joanne to speak to your group...

Thought of the Day

Joanne's pic

If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance.

Andrea Boydston


We are proud members of:

  • Association of Career Professionals Int'l
  • Northeast Human Resources Association
  • Career Masters Institute
  • Career Counselors Consortium/Boston
  • Massachusetts Women in Technology
  • National Resume Writers Association
  • BNI Golden Givers, Holden, Mass.

Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun with the nickname (which we've officially trademarked). But she also takes it seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading edge, through research and ongoing dialog with hiring managers.
You're now seeing us use "The Job Search Queen", which better reflects the breadth of our services. The trademark is pending. We'll be using both "queen" nicknames in our materials.


Next few meetings of Face2Face, the Job Search Networking Group:

Wednesday, March 21st
Wednesday, April 4th
Wednesday, April 18th
All meetings are 9am - noon, in Boxboro, Mass. near the intersection of Routes 495 and 2.
For details about the programs, and directions, click here. Also on that page, you'll be able to see notes about previous talks at Face2Face.

At Face2Face meetings, we make it easier for you to network, no matter how shy you are. Come meet new people who might be the link to your next job!

Joanne's Blog: The Heart of the Matter


Quick Links

Doing a Value-Based Job Search

Gift Certificates for that New Graduate or for Mother's Day

Job Search Networking: Face2Face

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phone: 978-355-4200





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