I am currently at university and interact with Career Services on a regular basis. One of their recommendations was to place "buzzwords" on your resume in non-obvious locations so that you have the benefit of dropping these words without contorting the overall textual flow. One example of this would be to place words like "object-oriented programming", "user interface", etc. in small white text around the margin. These words, while not visible to a human reading the printed document, would be detected by an algorithm scanning the resumes for applicable terms. According to Career Services, this is a widespread practice that allows you to just get past whatever robotic filters big companies use and get your resume to a real person.
I have done this to some degree and have sent out resumes to several large companies. An interaction with one particular company, however, has scared me somewhat and led me to question this practice. A few weeks after submitting a resume to a large tech company I got a very angry email from a recruiter. This recruiter accused me of "hacking" to get past the filter because my resume (apparently) did "not match the template for an acceptable document." He mentioned specifically that the resume did not contain information about "web design," which was included among the invisible words. Just to be absolutely clear I have not done any hacking other than the inclusion of these invisible words and, additionally, I only included words which actually related to my previous experience. That is, I do mention web design in the document, I just don't otherwise have the words "web design" written in that specific order. That is, I wrote "I have designed a website which..."
This was something of a scary interaction and it's caused me to question the wisdom of using the "hidden buzzword" practice. My questions are:
Is it ethical to include such text in a resume?
How should one react if an employer discovers the use of such tactics?