Resume Keywords: An Effective Approach

To make yourself stand out through your resume is quite a task today. It is undoubtedly more complicated and grueling than you think. The world is exceedingly competitive, and there is always someone better running the race with you.  

Unless you strategize how to be distinct from the lot, getting a job can be a painfully tough battle.  


That is where Resume Keywords come into the picture. Resume Keywords are golden words from your job role that tailor your resume to help you fit that particular job position precisely. These keywords highlight your abilities and expertise in a unique and relevant manner and make your resume as suitable to the job opening as possible.  

If your recruiter happens to use an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to shortlist potential candidates easily, then resume keywords are the exact keywords that he plugs into the ATS to clear the clutter and filter prospective candidates. 

But how will you know which keywords your recruiter has used to shortlist candidates?  

Fret not! Here is how you can find out Resume Keywords and judicially use them to attract your recruiter’s attention – 

  1. Thoroughly scan the job description and pick up essential words – 
It is less iterated how carefully reading the job description is essential before applying for any position. It is crucial to attentively read the JD and pick up chief words or keywords of paramount importance to use in your resume. When used in the resume, these words tailor it to the job role, making a close match that will indefinitely interest the recruiter. A well-articulated resume with essential words from the JD not only passes the ATS screening but also makes for a tight fit for the role, considerably increasing your chances of selection.  

  1. Research, examine, and identify words specific and vital to the industry – 
Researching about the company, visiting its website to examine the quality of its online presence, and identifying industry-specific keywords are uncompromisable actions if you wish to meet your recruiter’s expectations and stand out from the rest of the applicants. Try identifying keywords that fit your values as well as the company’s values to seem organic and not suspiciously all-achieving. A simple google search of industry resume keywords can give you an overwhelming number of industry-specific keywords to enhance your resume and can work wonders for you. 

  1. Learn and find out principal action verbs that can highlight your demonstrated actions –  
Action verbs express your previous accomplishments and are driving factors behind prospective candidate selections. Some action-verbs for a project management-related job role, for example, can be – Initiated, Developed, Executed, Supervised, etc. An ideal resume should have well-balanced keywords and action verbs.  

  1. Appropriately position and distribute all the keywords – 
Now that you have a pool of filtered, industry-specific keywords and a good number of action verbs to catch the recruiter’s attention, cut down and shortlist keywords that resonate with your personality furthermore. Once you have a reasonable number of keywords, you are good to distribute those words throughout your resume. Some critical sections to use the keywords in your resume are –  
  • Experience Section – Judiciously use action verbs and keywords in this section to make your experience count.  
  • Education Section – If you have a list of achievements, this is an excellent place to highlight your personality with the help of attention-grabbing keywords. 
  • Skills Section – Put your skill sets in the spotlight by calling attention to the section using appropriate keywords.  
  1. Garnish your resume with power-words or buzzwords –  
Every industry has its own set of power-words or buzzwords, usually skill-sets, unique to the industry. Garnishing your resume with a few of these words can give your resume an edge and an overall bright, eye-catching appearance.  

Remember, the key is not to overdo anything. Too much of anything can kill the uniqueness and make your resume cliched or less reliable and made-up. Keep your resume detail-oriented, optimized as well as concise, and crisp at the same time.  

An “all-knowing, hardworking perfectionist, with all the relevant abilities and a history of demonstrated expertise”, is a delusion. Don’t try to make your entire personality about the job role unnecessarily. Be you.   
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