Resume Keywords

It is rightly said, “Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad”.

Words are the ones that portray us completely through our Resumes or Cover Letters when applying for a job. They form an image of ours in front of the recruiter/employer and help them select or reject us even before meeting us.

What is a Resume Keyword

Keyword is defined as a significant or a descriptive word. It is a word that is used as a reference point for other words of information.

Similarly resume keywords are important because they act as the highlighters on your resume. These are the words that help your resume to be noticed by the employers and increase your chances being selected. These words are not only important to the resume but the cover letter also.

Keywords are basically words or short phrases that relate to a particular job. These may include skills, abilities and qualities that the hiring manager wants to see in a person that he wants to recruit for this particular position.

Each recruiter spends no more than ten seconds in scanning a resume, and it is these keywords that a recruiter looks for in the first glance. The Keywords can make your resume and cover letter more impressive and can increase the chances of you being shortlisted for interviews.


If the selection of the resumes is not manual, i.e. an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) does it, then these keywords become even more important because the system selects or rejects the resume basis the keywords.

This ATS system is also sometimes referred to as the Talent Management Systems because they facilitate the task of the recruiters by filtering the candidates and helping in talent acquisition for the organization.

The main work of ATS or the Talent Management System is to find out which of the resumes are containing keywords and which are not. By including the keywords, one can make an opportunity for themselves for being interviewed.

But in case the ATS or the hiring manager doesn’t find any keywords in your resume, there is a possibility in which your application might be rejected, and you lose a job, because you missed some or all of the keywords.

By mentioning the keywords, a candidate precisely states that he/she is having the desired skills or qualifications required for a given position.

Different types of Resume Keywords

As already mentioned, resume keywords are the words or short phrases that include your skills, achievements, positions held, employers and relevant credentials that are required for the job.
Basically, keywords are the words that make your resume impressive, expressive and with the help of these keywords you can get a chance of being interviewed.


Here are some types of keywords that you can include in your resume:-

  • Soft Skills: Problem-solving, communications and team management.
  • Job Titles: Business development manager, Full tract managements
  • Location: City or state name, Zip codes, Geographical location.
  • Education: BBA, MBA
  • Company names: Big name companies are sometimes used to find the applicant for a job position.

The above are just examples and may vary from place to place and also from job profile to job profile. For example, in a job opening for a designer if you state that you have a bachelor’s in accounts, that is not going to help, infact might lead to rejection because of lack of words.

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How can you find “Keywords”?

Finding keywords that you can include in your resume is not that difficult as it may seem to be but will demand a slight amount of hardwork from your end. When you look for jobs postings that are similar to the ones that you are looking for, you need to deep dive into the information provided in the job postings itself.

The information included in the job posting such as responsibilities, education, skills required etc will provide you with the information regarding what the recruiters are looking out for. Picking up words from here and putting in your resume will definitely benefit you.

For example a job posting says that they are looking for a creative team player and then you use these to words in your resume, they will benefit you and might help you get shortlisted for the interview or might get you through the ATS also.

Apart from the job posting, visiting the company website will also help you in finding relevant keywords that you can include in your resume. Picking up words from the about us section on the company’s website can help you a lot.

You can also use the location-based keywords like by including the state, city and zip code this will help ATS for detecting your location. For remote areas location is really important.


Your skill plays a very important role to show your personality, so you can include your soft skills in your resume. Skills are a very important part of your resume so add more skills to your resume.

While including these keywords is always going to give you an upper hand, but don’t use these words uselessly or portray a fake personality through these as this may form a negative image of yours in front of the recruiter and might also piss him/her off.

So use these keywords cautiously and make sure that they don’t backfire. For example if you are stating in your resume that you are a team player or a person with leadership skills, then you must have examples to substantiate it. You don’t have to include the words for the sake of including them.

Highlighting these keywords by bolding them will help you additionally as they will attract attention at the first glance. If you feel that you want to use them more than once but don’t want to sound repetitive, you might use synonyms of those words.

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Tips for Using Keywords

  • Use as many keywords as possible: Use as many keywords as you can because as we already know they give you an additional advantage over otherwise.Try to use many as you can but don’t overdo it as the experienced recruiter can figure that out too.

    You should use the maximum variation of keywords by adding synonyms and acronyms. You may add some abbreviations like B.A because it can be detected by the ATS.

  • Know the company well: Try to understand the company better by knowing it’s values and vision and mission, what sets it apart from its competitors. This will help you understand the unique component of the organization.

    While including the keywords related to the organization don’t pick up the vague ones that do not relate to the job at all but pick up the relatable ones. This will help to keep you on track and won’t overdo things!

    And as already mentioned, these keywords are important only as long as they are related to you so don’t pick up the words that don’t portray the real you.

    Another way to know the company better is to look up for pages or accounts of the company on social networking sites and also the employees holding similar positions that you are applying to.

    This will also help you find relevant words.

  • Use a mix of keywords: These keywords are an important ingredient to a good resume hence you must never overdo them! You can use keywords under different sections in your resume like soft skills, hard skills, certifications, achievements, education and any other relevant section.

    Instead of putting them all at once sprinkle them all across your resume so that they have a diverse nature and can catch the eye of the recruiter more easily.

These tips to find out the relevant keywords for your resume and the ways to further include them in your resume will definitely help you make a better and more company specific resume next time.

Doing this will increase your chances of being shortlisted for the interview round and then later for the job itself!

Written By :
Aditi Gera
Career Expert at CV Owl

Your CV or resume is your first impression for any company. With the help of CV Owl, you can get a well-structured CV and your time will be saved. Everything on your CV should be written in a formal manner and in a precise way. You have only 20 seconds to impress your recruiter with your CV, make the best out of it. Visit our series “The HR Talk” where we help you know everything about your job interview from the recruiters.

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