By Jeff Gillis & Mike Simpson

Hiring Managers Say TikTok Resume Hacks May Be Effective, But If Discovered Could Get You Disqualified

Building and maintaining an effective resume is one of the most important competitive advantages in the modern job market. There are all sorts of strategies for job seekers looking to stand out from the crowd, ranging from how to structure a resume and what to include, to inserting invisible keywords into your file to fool the resume sorting software. We wanted to know which of these strategies was most popular among applicants, and most importantly, which strategies were being noticed by hiring managers and actually helping the applicant along. We surveyed 751 hiring managers and 274 job seekers to find out what works and what doesn’t in the modern hiring process. Read on to find out what we discovered.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The most effective way to get your resume noticed according to hiring managers was using a professional email signature in all interactions. However, only 33% of employees reported doing this. 
  • Using LinkedIn and setting social media accounts to public were more effective ways to get higher salary offers than following up after submitting a resume or keeping a resume to one page. 
  • The best keywords on a resume were communicated, managed, and developed.

How to Market Yourself

Submitting a resume can be a daunting task. What to include, what to leave out, how to phrase this or that – these seemingly small decisions have been billed by many as essential to the success of an application. One thing seems clear: the strategies applicants are focusing most heavily on aren’t necessarily getting them noticed by hiring managers. The top strategy among job seekers was to keep their resume to one page, which was not even in the top three for hiring managers.

Getting Your Resume to the Top of the Pile

That being said, hiring managers agreed on the efficacy of certain less-than-honest strategies for getting past resume parsing software. Some job seekers reported copy-pasting skills from LinkedIn pages of others working in a similar job. They even reported using the viral TikTok method of adding invisible white text to your resume to include all the qualifications from the job listing. While these were the second- and third-most effective strategies for getting noticed according to hiring managers, many of them agreed that, if discovered, they would disqualify the candidate. Strategies like optimizing and sharing your LinkedIn page were similarly popular amongst job seekers and hiring managers. However, only 9% of job seekers reported directly DMing the hiring manager – a strategy that was in the top five most effective for hiring managers.

Where Job Seekers Get Their Resume Advice

Despite the prevalence of LinkedIn resources and blogs to help candidates build resumes, job seekers still preferred to reach out to people they knew – family, friends, and coworkers – for help building theirs.

The Keys to Landing the Job

Job seekers may have ideas about how to best represent themselves on their resumes and in their correspondences, but what hiring managers are looking for can paint a very different picture. While job seekers believed that tailoring their resume to the job posting was the biggest factor in landing them a job, this strategy didn’t even crack the top five elements that hiring managers were looking for. Many hiring managers look for skills and keywords in each resume that match the job description. It seemed to be the little things that pushed a resume to the top of the pile and led to a successful application – in fact, the simple use of a professional-looking email signature in all correspondences was the number one way to get positive attention from the hiring managers we surveyed.

Positive Application Attention

Job seekers stayed very focused on the resume and application process, whereas hiring managers were more interested in matters of transparency. Keeping social media accounts open and accessible to hiring managers was the third-best way to get positive attention, just below increasing visibility on LinkedIn. Even though hiring managers found limiting resumes to one page and following up after applying to be important factors, these strategies weren’t quite as important as job seekers thought they would be.

The Power of Words

The language used in a resume can be just as important as the overall structure of that resume. Career experts have claimed that using action verbs in your resume will help you get noticed by hiring managers, so we compiled a list from Harvard Law School’s job search toolkit to see which words were the most attractive to hiring managers. Hiring managers preferred words like “communicated,” “managed” and “prepared” in resumes, to words like “connected, “created” and “reduced.” Similarly, the word “developed” was the most popular technical word, compared to words like “coded” or “programmed,” as the development of something would encompass all of these words.

Power Keywords for Your Resume

How you describe yourself to a potential employer is extremely important as well. Some job seekers use informal descriptions like “ninja” or “hacker” to describe themselves, but hiring professionals were much less likely to offer those applicants high salaries. Applicants describing themselves as “senior,” “professional” or “leader” were the most likely to be offered a higher salary based on title alone. The skillsets implied in these titles are important as well: Hiring managers reported they would offer a self-proclaimed “hacker” almost $8,000 more per year than a “ninja” based on their potential tech skills alone.

Standing Out

Standing out in a group of hundreds of potential applicants is never an easy task, but some strategies certainly work better than others. The hiring managers and job seekers we surveyed had differing opinions on what the best strategies were. Even though less honest strategies may get you noticed, they probably won’t be effective in getting you hired. Moreover, a one-page resume isn’t quite as important as what’s in the resume itself. Instead, professional communication, an interest in opening yourself up to the job and reaching out to hiring managers directly can produce a better result than using a viral TikTok hack. 

Creating a resume is a process nearly everyone must go through as they enter the job market or seek to make moves in their industry. The Interview Guys can help you do just that! They are experts in the industry and can help you not only land a job, but continue to grow and succeed within that job. The Interview Guys can help with job searches, resumes, career advice, interviews, and much more. If you’re looking to become the ultimate company asset, head on over to learn more.


The surveyed respondents were first asked to identify if they were likely to hire in their current roles.  If the respondent answered that they were moderately to extremely likely to hire individuals they were placed in the Hiring Managers group.  Otherwise they were placed in the Applicant group.

Of the 1025 surveyed respondents, 751 were identified as hiring managers ranging in age from 21 to 69. 35% of our respondents identified as female and 65% identified as male. The remaining 274 respondents were identified as job applicants ranging in age from 19 to 70. 50% of our respondents identified as female and 50% identified as male.

Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting. These limitations include telescoping, exaggeration and selective memory. We didn’t weight our data or statistically test our hypotheses.

Fair Use Statement

What did you do to get your resume noticed? Feel free to continue the conversation and share our insights on how to get noticed during the hiring process. We just ask that you do so for noncommercial use only and provide a link back to the original page so contributors can earn credit for their work.