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The selection of resume keywords can be the deciding factor in securing your desired job opportunity. Discover essential resume keywords to include, along with expert advice, examples, and recommendations to optimize your resume effectively.

Recruiters and Applicant Tracking Systems often rely on scanning resumes for keywords rather than reading them thoroughly. Having the right resume keywords increases the likelihood of being deemed a relevant applicant for the job. To outperform this system, enhancing your resume keyword strategy is essential. But how do you ensure you’ve chosen the right keywords for your industry? Read on to discover what resume keywords are and how to leverage them to secure your desired job.

This guide on resume keywords will cover:

– Action verbs and resume keywords to include, as well as which resume buzzwords to avoid.
– Strategies for incorporating keywords in resumes, cover letters, and emails for maximum impact.
– Identifying effective keywords for resume skills, education, and experience sections.
– The most effective method for determining which keywords to incorporate into your resume to increase your chances of securing an interview.

 

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Resume Keywords: What’s the Big Deal?

Typical corporate job openings attract approximately 250 applicants, a volume too overwhelming for human review. Recruiters turn to Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to manage this load efficiently, as we’ll delve into shortly.

This screening software swiftly scans resumes for specific resume keywords, determining if candidates pass the ATS resume-scanning test. However, don’t celebrate prematurely. Hiring managers typically spend only about 7 seconds per resume, relying heavily on keywords to expedite their review process. Additionally, some recruiters employ resume keyword scanners to aid in this task.

So, what exactly is a resume keyword scanner? It’s a program designed to search for particular keywords in resumes, subsequently organizing the documents based on the results. These scanners prioritize resumes with the most relevant keywords, ensuring they are deemed suitable for the job opening.

Now, how many resume keywords should you include? The general guideline suggests 25-30 keywords. It’s essential to strike a balance and avoid overwhelming the ATS with excessive keyword usage.

Determine the Key Terms in a Resume That Hold Significance for the Employer

In high school, there was a girl I was fond of. I was aware of her passion for volleyball and her dislike for US Government, although these were widely known by others as well. Mentioning these details would have been as cliché as discussing the weather. So, how does one make a lasting impression? While matters of the heart remain elusive, employers offer guidance. Simply refer to the job posting:

The primary resume keywords are typically sourced from job postings.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize that resume keywords shouldn’t be used indiscriminately. Integrity is paramount; fabricating details will inevitably lead to failure and unemployment.

Where should you incorporate these resume keywords?

In the forthcoming sections, we’ll explore strategic placements for resume keywords across critical areas: the resume summary, objective statement, experience section, education, skills, and even within the cover letter and email.

One indispensable resume keyword? The company name.

Also, the correct job title. But that’s already understood!

Integrate it into the heading statement (and cover letter, which we’ll discuss shortly), encompassing the resume summary or resume objective:

CORRECT
Engaging customer service representative with over 2 years of experience in a dynamic call center environment. Recognized for achieving the highest company satisfaction rating based on surveys (99.36%). Eager to advance my career with the team at Carson Logistics.

INCORRECT
Friendly customer service representative for the past 2 years. With expertise in phone and email support systems, I seek opportunities with a reputable company for a fulfilling career.

The correct example is personalized and includes a crucial searchable keyword. The incorrect one appears generic and mass-produced. Utilizing it could lead to widespread rejection.

Pro Tip: Utilize a job description keyword finder for resumes like Jobscan, which offers a complimentary ATS scan for your resume. Additionally, they often provide examples of resume wording.

Identifying What Resume Keywords Are Important to the Industry

Well done on pinpointing some excellent resume keywords from the job posting!

Yet, relying solely on those may not suffice. It’s akin to confessing to the girl I fancy that I share every single one of her interests—suspicious and bordering on intrusive, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, let’s round out our profile by delving into industry research.

Where should we start? Conducting an exploration of areas-of-expertise resume keywords via Google can yield remarkable results:

Where To Put Keywords On Your Resume

So, we’ve covered resume keywords extensively, spanning from every section of your resume to your cover letter and email.

Now, let’s briefly revisit how to effectively utilize these keywords and where to place them:

Keywords for the Resume Heading Statement (Summary or Objective)
Personalize by incorporating the company’s name:

…Seeking a position with Acme Incorporated which utilizes…
Strengthen your profile by integrating relevant resume keywords from the job listing:

Engaging customer service representative with over 2 years of experience in a fast-paced call center environment
Keywords for the Resume Experience Section
Demonstrate familiarity with the tools specified in the job description by incorporating relevant keywords:

Utilize keywords from the job description to highlight proficiency with the tools they require

Resume Scanner Keywords & the ATS

Recruiters are facing an ever-growing influx of job applications, a trend expected to persist. How can they manage the deluge of candidates?

One solution is to delegate some tasks to technology—specifically, robots.

In this context, “robots” refers to the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), software utilized by hiring managers to streamline the process of sorting through resumes and pinpointing those containing specific resume keywords.

Here’s how the ATS operates:
1. The manager uploads resumes into the computer system.
2. The manager instructs the ATS on which keywords to search for.
3. The ATS scans resumes, seeking out the specified keywords.
4. Based on the presence of keywords, the ATS organizes and evaluates resumes.
5. Depending on the ATS-assigned score, the hiring manager decides whether to proceed with contacting the applicant for an interview.

Although ATS systems are improving, they still suffer from being outdated and prone to glitches. Many have yet to address variations in spelling effectively.

Don’t Forget to Use Keywords On Your Email & Cover Letter

Salutations,
While “To whom it may concern…” is a formal and accepted greeting, it can also come across as distant and impersonal, reminiscent of how common folk might have addressed the nobility in medieval times.

However, you aim for a warmer and more personal approach with the recruiter. How can you achieve that?

It’s simple. Employ the most effective resume keyword—their name. This personal touch is likely to garner more attention than the average six-second resume scan. It demonstrates that you’ve invested time in researching them and aren’t simply sending out mass applications.

Dangerous Instances of Resume Keywords You Need To Avoid

There are also certain risky keywords to be cautious of. Whether they create a negative impression or simply divulge too much information, here are the keywords you should steer clear of:

Buzzwords
For instance, phrases like “Results-oriented professional with unparalleled passion, dedication, and drive seeking to utilize industry-proven track record and go-getting attitude to land a lucrative career…” can be vague and confusing. While incorporating a few power keywords and resume buzzwords can enhance your resume, overloading it with every industry and corporate buzzword can diminish your prospects instead.

Bragging
Avoid labeling yourself as the best in any particular area or exceptional at certain tasks. Let your experience and qualifications speak for themselves. Excessive self-praise is generally off-putting.

Jargon
Using specialized terminology, especially if it’s not widely recognized, can be problematic. For example, at a previous job in the cell phone industry, we coined terms like “Nexi” (plural of Nexus). While “Nexus” is widely understood, “Nexi” may not be recognized by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or the hiring manager.

Overly Prestigious Past Positions
LinkedIn advises against using certain titles like Founder, Entrepreneur, CEO, & Owner, as they may raise questions about your fit for a particular role. Including these titles is advisable only if they accurately reflect a parallel position you held previously.

Resume Wording: Use Active Voice

Here are more than 750 resume keywords grouped into industry and trade categories. Click to navigate to your profession.

1. Accounting & Finance Resume Keywords

2. Creative & Cultural Resume Keywords

3. Education & Learning Resume Keywords

4. Engineering & Scientific Resume Keywords

5. Food Service & Hospitality Resume Keywords

6. Healthcare & Human Services Resume Keywords

7. Human Resources Resume Keywords

8. Information Technology Resume Keywords

9. Law Enforcement Resume Keywords

10. Legal Resume Keywords

11. Logistics & Purchasing Resume Keywords

12. Maintenance & Repair Resume Keywords

13. Management Resume Keywords

14. Manufacturing Industrial & Warehousing Resume Keywords

15. NGO & Non-Profit Resume Keywords

16. Office & Administrative Resume Keywords

17. Public Relations Resume Keywords

18. Real Estate & Construction Resume Keywords

19. Retail & Customer Service Resume Keywords

20. Sales & Marketing Resume Keywords

21. Travel & Transportation Resume Keywords

Accounting & Finance Resume Keywords
accounts payable, accounts receivable, assets, audit, bid/ask, bonds, branch operations, calculation, capital, collections, commercial banking, consumer, corporate tax, cost accounting, cost/benefit analysis, credit analysis, debt financing, deposit, E-Trade, Excel,FILO, financial analysis, financial planning, foreign exchange, global banking, international financing, investment, investor relations, job costing, letters of credit, leveraged buyout, loan, loss, numbers, operating budgets, portfolio, profits, recovery, return on equity, return on investment, revenue, risk management, securities, shareholder, spreadsheet, stock, trade, treasury, trust, turnaround

Creative & Cultural Resume Keywords
Adobe, art, awareness, Behance, bibliography, collection, color, commission, conference, creative, CSS, design, gallery, grant, ideation, Illustrator, InDesign, lecture, packaging, Photoshop, Pinterest, portfolio, presentation, preservation, print, residency, Sketch, typography, visual, web design, workshop

Education & Learning Resume Keywords
administration, advisor, classroom, coach, counsel, course, curriculum, education, discipline, field instruction, grant, holistic learning, inclusive, individualized education, instruction, integration, job placement, literacy, mentor, peer counseling, program development, recruitment, scholastic, student services, study, teaching, technology, training, tutoring

Engineering & Scientific Resume Keywords
3D modeling, analysis, business process, capital project, change order, computer-aided engineering, cross-functional team, development cycle, efficiency, documentation, engineering, environmental testing, experimental design, facilities engineering, field performance, guidelines, hydraulics, industrial engineering, justification, land survey, manufacturability, methods, process development, product design, product innovation, project costing, project planning, prototype, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, quality assurance, R&D, re-engineering, regulatory compliance, research and development, scale-up, scheduling, technical specification writing, tender documentation, turnkey, work methods

Food Service & Hospitality Resume Keywords
amenities, attention to detail, bartending, back of house, bussing, back-of-house, beverage, calculation, cash handling, catering, club management, communication, concierge, cooking, customer, detail-oriented, enthusiastic, fast-paced, flexible, front of house, food, food expediting, food knowledge, food preparation, food safety, friendly, front-of-house, guest, health, hospitality, inventory, menu, multitasking, occupancy, ordering, personable, people skills, point of sale, portion control, positive, preparation, register, reservation, safety, scheduling, team player, upbeat, vendor sourcing, waiting

Healthcare & Human Services Resume Keywords
acute care, administrator, advocate, ambulance, assisted living, behavior management, case management, casework, chronic care, clinic, continuity of care, counseling, electronic claims, emergency, fee billing, grant administration, inpatient, managed care, multi-hospital, outpatient, patient, peer review, physician, preventative medicine, provider, psychiatry, psychology, public health, rehabilitation, social services, substance abuse, testing, third party, treatment, vocational placement, wellness

Human Resources Resume Keywords
administration, affirmative action, applicants, assessments, benefits, candidates, career pathing, change management, claims, compensation, competency, disabilities, electronic applicant screening, employee empowerment, employee relations, equal opportunity, grievance proceedings, hiring, incentives, labor arbitration, labor contract, merit, negotiations, organizational needs, performance incentives, position classification, professional recruitment, salary, sourcing, staffing, succession planning, team building, union relations, wage, workforce

Information Technology Resume Keywords
AI, applications, architecture, artificial intelligence, benchmarking, capacity, cellular, communications, data, data recovery, database, desktop, disaster recovery, documents, end user, engineering, firewall, hardware, IaaS, information systems, imaging, implementation, java, javascript, LAN, local area network, machine learning, multi-user interface, network administration, NoSQL, operating system, project, real time, remote access, SaaS, security, server, SQL, startup, systems acquisition, systems configuration, WAN, wireless

Law Enforcement Resume Keywords
analysis, antiterrorism, appeal, armed security, arrest record, asset protection, corporate security, covert operations, crime, crime prevention, crisis communications, crisis management, detection, drugs, electronic surveillance, emergency preparedness, fraud, identity theft, interrogation, narcotics, safety training, surveillance, task force, theft, traffic enforcement, uniform patrol, victim

Legal Resume Keywords
acquisition, adjudication, administrative law, affidavit, antitrust, briefs, case law, clerk, copyright law, depositions, discovery, due diligence, intellectual property, joint venture, judicial affairs, juris doctor, landmark decision, legal advocacy, legal research, legislative review, licensing, limited partnership, litigation, mediation, memorandum, motion, negotiation, paralegal, patent law, probate law, settlement, trial law, unfair compensation, will preparation, witness protection

Logistics & Purchasing Resume Keywords
acquisition, asset management, bid, capital acquisition, commodities, competitive bidding, customs compliance, deadstock, demand planning, fixed-price contracts, fleet management, forecasting, international trade, inventory control, inventory planning, just-in-time, materials, offshore purchasing, outsourcing, procurement, purchasing, replenishment, requisitions, sourcing, subcontractor, supplier, supply chain, transportation, truck loading/unloading, vendor, warehouse

Maintenance & Repair Resume Keywords
carpentry, commercial electrician, electrical systems, excavation, finishing, HVAC, hydraulics, journeyman, maintenance, masonry, mechanics, painting, plumbing, repair, roofing, scheduling, superintendent, surveying, tools, troubleshooting, welding, wiring

Management Resume Keywords
assessment, assets, benchmark, budget, business development, change management, communication, company culture, consensus building, corporate, cost reduction, crisis, efficiency, entrepreneur, evaluation, executive, financial management, goal, growth, improvement, leadership, long-term planning, margin, market development, operations, performance, performance standards, planning, policy development, process improvement, productivity, profit & loss, recruitment, regulatory reporting, relationships, retention, revenue, startup, strategy, tactical planning, team building, turnaround, vendor, workflow, workforce

Manufacturing Industrial & Warehousing Resume Keywords
cargo, carrier, container, contract, dispatch operations, distribution, distribution management, driver leasing, equipment, export, fleet management, freight, forklift, health and safety, import, improvement, inbound/outbound, just-in-time, load analysis, logistics, manufacturing, materials, multi-site, occupational hazard, operations, order fulfillment, order processing, performance, port operations, receiving, regulatory compliance, route management, route planning and analysis, safety management, schedule, shipping, storage, terminal operation, traffic, transportation services, warehouse management, warehouse operations, workflow optimization, yield improvement

NGO & Non-Profit Resume Keywords
board, budget, campaign, community outreach, corporate giving, donations, endowment, foundation, funds, grant, grassroots, humanitarian, member services, non-governmental, not-for-profit, organizational leadership, organizational vision, policy development, press release, public relations, research foundation, retention, strategic planning, volunteer recruitment

Office & Administrative Resume Keywords
administrative processes, back-office operations, budget administration, business administration, clerical support, client communications, confidentiality

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