Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova
Even the most well-written resumes are likely to get rejected if they don’t contain the right blend of keywords. Read on to learn more about some of the resume keywords employers are on the lookout for.
A resume is not just about your education and professional experience. It’s also an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and suitability for the job role you’re applying to. And this is where resume keywords come in.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at:
The importance of resume keywords
Which resume keywords are important
How to add keywords to your resume
A well-written resume consists of an active voice, a chronological sequence of events, and certain terminologies that align with the target job description. These ‘keywords’ allow the resume to make it past the applicant tracking system and help the job applicant move to the next round of the hiring process.
Resume keywords are certain expressions and phrases used in resumes that directly relate to job positions. When applying for a job, you can compare your previous job experience and skills with the job description to look for common words that can be added to your resume.
These keywords allow hiring managers to quickly parse through your resume and look for certain skills and action verbs that align with the job role they’re recruiting for.
There’s no easy answer to this question because it really depends on the job. For example, if a recruiter is hiring for a sales representative position, they would probably look for words like quotas, targets, business growth, leads, sales, B2B/B2C, customer-centric, etc. Here are a few types of keywords recruiters typically look for.
Some hiring managers are interested in individuals with experience in particular job titles. For example, if someone is looking to hire an experienced content strategist, they would probably look for the words content writer, content creator, editor, and/or freelance writer in your previous job titles.
Recruiters often look for certain keywords involving your software skills to determine whether you can work at their company or you’ll need some training first. For instance, a company in need of an IT consultant is likely to review your technical proficiency section to determine whether you’re familiar with Java, PHP, C+, coding, etc.
There are several professions with gatekeeper credentials. This means that if you want to land a job within this profession, you must have a degree and/or license to practice in this field. Examples include doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and financial analysts. A company looking to hire a litigator is likely to look for LLB, Juris Doctor, and similar keywords in your educational qualifications section.
In most cases, organizations look for keywords relating to your soft skills. After all, these skills are crucial for long-term success in any job role. Some of these soft skill-related keywords include leadership, team player, problem-solver, energetic, results-oriented, passionate, attention to detail, and self-motivated.
One of the best ways to look for keywords is to re-read the job description for the job role you’re applying to. Pay close attention to the skills and qualifications that are listed within the job description. If you see industry-related jargon repeated throughout the description, that’s a keyword for sure.
Adding keywords to your resume isn’t as simple as just throwing around a bunch of buzzwords here and there or stuffing every section with too many keywords. It’s all about making slight edits to the keywords already mentioned in your resume and aligning them with the job description to let the reader know that you’re the right person for the job. Here are some tips on optimizing your resume for keywords.
In some cases, the target company’s name and the job role for which they’re recruiting are crucial keywords. You can add these two in your resume’s summary statement on top of the document to indicate the position you’re applying for. Whether your resume goes through an ATS or lands directly in the hands of the hiring manager, this strategy is likely to make a good impression.
You can edit the job titles of your previous job roles to include specific keywords the recruiter is looking for. For example, if you’re applying for a communications specialist position and your previous job title was a communications executive, you can change executive to specialist to ensure your resume contains the right keyword.
Some ATS tools are capable of recognizing different phrases, but others are not. For instance, if the keyword in a job description is content writer and you wrote copywriter in your resume, there’s a chance that your resume might not pass through the filter.
Most ATS tools, as well as recruiters, focus on the job applicant’s education, licenses, and certifications. For this reason, it’s important to include information on your college education and any training courses you’ve completed. This type of information helps you stand out among other job applicants and increases your likelihood of getting hired.
Here’s a look at some of the most common keywords employers/hiring managers look for when hiring for different job roles.
Account management, accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, analysis, analyze data, annual budget, asset management, audit, auditing, banking, billing, budget management, budgeting, business administration, business cases, business issues, business management, business planning, business plans, business process, business requirements, business stakeholders, and consulting experience.
Beverage, billing, relationship building, client relationships, client service, consumers, customer experience, customer-facing, customer requirements, customer service, customer-facing, employee relations, and human resources.
.NET, algorithms, android, architecture, architectures, audio, AutoCAD, AWS, big data, business analysis, business continuity, C (programming language), C#, C++, CAD, certification, Cisco, cloud, compliance, computer applications, computer science, controls, CSS, data collection, database, information management, information security, information technology, networking, operating systems.
Performance management, photography, Photoshop, portfolio management, positioning, PR, process development, process improvement, process improvements, product management, product marketing, product quality, project delivery, project management, public relations, publications, publishing, quality assurance, R (programming language), recruit, regulatory compliance, relationship building, reporting, resource management, retention, sales management, standardization, startup, start-ups, statistical analysis, statistics, status reports, strategic direction, strategic initiatives, strategic planning, strategic plans, strategy, strong analytical skills, telecom, trade shows, TV, Twitter, value proposition, vendors, video, windows, workflows.
When writing a resume, make sure to review the job description carefully to identify certain keywords that are likely to get you noticed.
The general resume keyword rule is to strike a balance. You don’t want to include too few or too many keywords.
Your resume keywords must align with the job description. Pay close attention to the skills and qualifications of the job description to look for the right keywords.
Asad's writing expertise lies in the fields of HR and marketing—putting him in the unique position of understanding the job-search process: both from the side of the applicant, and the side of the hiring managers. With this valuable blend of perspectives, he’s able to help his clients position themselves as top candidates for their desired roles.