Résumé Keywords and How to Use Them [Examples]

2017 November 27  | icon time-read8 min read

Did you ever wonder why you did not receive that interview call, even if you had the right career track and education? In most of the cases, the difference is being made by using the right keywords in your résumé and using them right. 

Not using the right keywords in your job application is one of the most common mistakes people are doing when writing a résumé.

Learning how to effectively use keywords and action words can be a beneficial skill that will improve the writing of all your documents and emails.


Why Should I Pay Attention to The Keywords I Include on My Résumé?


There are certain résumé keywords which, if used correctly, will highly increase your chances of being called for that interview, while other keywords will send your application directly to the “No” pile. 


Your résumé will often be screened by an ATS (applicant tracking system) that will search for relevant keywords within your job résumé application in order to find the best match between the job ad and the job applications. 


Not only do the ATS look for specific keywords in the application, but they are equally important when your résumé is being reviewed by a human who will try to assess as fast as possible if you are the missing piece in their company. 


Imagine yourself looking to buy a new Laptop, and not being able to easily find in the description the following critical details you need, such as Resolution, RAM, Processor, Storage, etc. If you do not easily find this information or it is not what you expected for your use, you will place it in the “No” pile and look for the next one. This is the same process recruiters are going through when looking for the best candidate. 

What Are the Keywords Recruiters Are Looking For?


The two main types of keywords that recruiters or employers look for when first screening your résumé are:

  • Job Keywords: these keywords explain what are your primary characteristics (hard skills and soft skills) and qualification for this particular job. 
  • Action Verbs: they show that you can accomplish and succeed in your position. 


An applicant that has a close match of keywords used in their job application with the ones used in the job ad will have a higher chance of getting hired. 


An important thing to remember from the beginning is NOT using keywords for the sake of having them in your application. They need to be used in context and reflect your skills/achievements. Sooner or later, the recruiter or employer will find out you have lied, and it will result in both you and the company losing precious time.

How and Which Keywords Should I Include in My Résumé?


You may ask “How should I know which résumé keywords to use? And which ones should I leave out of my application?” 


Firstly, you will need to write the keywords that are specific to your particular job/industry, for example: 

  • Marketing Manager keywords examples: Social Media, Email Marketing, Hubspot, Digital Marketing, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Storytelling, Verbal and Written Communication. 
  • Software Developer keywords examples: Design Patterns, Distributed Systems, Databases, SQL, NoSQL, Testing, Service Oriented Architecture, Machine Learning, SCRUM, UML, (Programming Languages: Java, Scala, Javascript, Golang, Elixir)
  • Multimedia Designer keywords examples: Visual Ideation, Typography, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign, Print Design, Web Design, HTML & CSS, Color Theory. 
  • Hotel Manager keywords examples: Interpersonal Skills, Leadership, Customer-Service, Organization, Problem-Solving, Verbal and Written Communication. 
  • Electrical Engineer keywords examples: Circuit Design, Physics, Critical Thinking, Instrumentation and Electrical Measurements, Active Learning.
  • Nurse keywords examples: Emotional Intelligence, Stamina, Critical Thinking, Adaptability, Flexibility, Effective Communication, Stress Management. 

When selecting and writing your keywords in your job application, make sure you are not using jargon and words that are too specific. In some cases, it can happen that the recruiters do not have extensive knowledge in your field. Therefore, your job application needs to be written so it can be easily understood by someone from outside your industry as well. 


After mentioning the job keywords specific to your job, make sure to start all your accomplishments/achievements with an action verb instead of only listing your tasks. The value of your résumé will highly increase by focusing on your achievements.

IDEAL

  • Managed a $3 million budget project and achieved scheduled goals. 
  • Developed and implemented sales, marketing plans and the department strategy for the next 4 years. 
  • Planned, supervised, and coordinated daily activity of 5 business development representatives. 

NOT IDEAL

  • Responsible for major projects. 
  • In charge of the sales and marketing plans. 
  • Responsible for supervising 5 business development representatives. 


Starting with an action verb whenever possible and using numbers/percentages will highly increase the value of your job application, because, firstly recruiters/ATS are searching for these keywords and secondly they are demonstrating exactly what value you created at your last job and if you can bring the value they currently need. 


Examples of Action Verbs to Use in Your Résumé and Cover Letter 


Résumé Action Verbs List:


A – L


Achieved, Advised, Acted, Accomplished, Adapted, Analyzed.

Built, Brainstormed, Boosted.

Communicated, Coordinated, Contributed, Created.

Developed, Discovered, Documented, Doubled, Directed, Distributed.

Formed, Focused, Financed, Formulated. 

Guided, Generated, Granted, Gathered. 

Hired, Helped. 

Improved, Innovated, Inspected, Invented, Illustrated, Interviewed, Installed. 

Judged, Joined. 

Lectured, Led, Located. 


M – W 


Managed, Motivated, Mastered, Minimized, Maximized, Moved. 

Negotiated, Navigated, Noticed. 

Observed, Oversaw, Organized. 

Participated, Placed, Planned, Passed, Processed, Provided, Proposed, Prioritized. 

Recovered, Recorded, Reduced, Replaced, Reviewed, Researched, Received, Rewarded, Redesigned. 

Saved, Stabilized, Supplied, Standardized, Selected, Sent, Sold, Signed, Strategized. 

Transformed, Tested, Targeted, Trained. 

Updated, Utilized, Upgraded. 

Verified, Validated, Visualized. 

Won, Worked, Wrote. 

How to Write a Professional Résumé Title Using Job Keywords


When writing the professional title in your résumé use the title mentioned in the ad. Only use the title if you have the experience that qualifies you for it. This is important in order to not create any confusion for the recruiter or employer.


Using general keywords such as “Marketing,” “Graduate,” “Engineering,” “Designer” should be avoided since they are too vague and can mean many different things. Try to be as specific as possible, as in the following examples of professional titles: 


Examples of Professional Résumé Titles Using Job Keywords

IDEAL

  • Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing Student Assistant, Vice-President of Marketing 
  • Global Business Graduate, MBA Graduate, Biochemistry Graduate, Finance and Investment Graduate
  • Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Aerospace Engineering.
  • Fashion Designer, Web Designer, Creative Director, Motion Graphic Designer, UI/UX Designer

NOT IDEAL

  • Marketing, Student Assistant, Manager. 
  • Global Business, MBA, Finance.
  • Engineer, Aerospace, Automotive.
  • UI/UX, Fashion, Designer, Director, Creative.


How To Write a Professional Summary Using Job Keywords and Action Verbs

A professional summary is one of the first things the recruiter or employer will read when reviewing your job résumé application and in most of the cases their decision is made already after reading it. 


Consider your professional summary as an elevator pitch where you have to convince the potential employer in less than 5-7 seconds why you are the perfect fit for their opening and what will be their advantages of hiring you. 


The first step is to identify your final goal, which in this case is to get the job you are applying for. Then you will need to summarize what you are doing and the USP (unique selling point) that makes you the perfect future employer. 


Examples of Professional Summaries Using Job Keywords and Action Words

IDEAL

  • Fifteen years of project management experience in software implementation and web portal launches. Demonstrated track of record of completing projects on time within the budget limits. 
  • An award-winning and confident fitness instructor, able to establish rapport quickly and conduct the training sessions with clarity and enthusiasm. 
  • More than eight years as a marketing executive medical industry. Involved in product testing, management, and rollout in the direct telemarketing channel of the new products. 
  • An independent and self-motivated business graduate with proven and tested negotiation, sales and digital marketing skills. 

NOT IDEAL

  • Manager working with various projects in the software industry which completed multiple projects. 
  • A confident instructor that can conduct training sessions with no problems. 
  • Experienced professional within product testing and marketing in the medical industry.
  • Self-motivated graduate with experience in multiple fields. 


How to Analyze and Use Keywords from a Job Ad in My Résumé [Example] 

The following examples are for a Marketing Manager position at Tesla as advertised on their website. We will assume that you are a Marketing Manager and have all the practical and educational knowledge to apply for this job. 

job ad for a digital marketer at tesla
Source:https://www.tesla.com/careers

The most important powerful words for your résumé that can be spotted when first reading this job ad and can be used as keywords or action words on your résumé or Cover Letter are: 


Marketing Manager -> As Your Professional Title

Collaborate -> Collaborated 

Marketing Team 

Develop -> Developed 

PR activities

Achieve -> Achieved 

Lead -> Led

Content Creation 

Project Management

Newsletter 

Customer Communication 

Manage -> Managed 

Implement -> Implemented 

Regional Marketing Events

Lead Generation -> Generated Leads 

Partnerships and Financial Deals 

Assist in the planning -> Assisted in the planning or Planned 

Effectively deliver results -> Successfully delivered positive results 

Support -> Supported 

Evaluate, track and report -> Evaluated, tracked and reported 

Global Brand Strategy 

Corporate Identity 

Managing and coaching others -> Managed and coached 


Starting from this list, some of the keywords are specific to this job and can be used solely, for example in the Skills/Expertise section in your résumé, e.g., PR, Project Management, Corporate Identity, Global Brand Strategy, Customer Communication, Content Creation. 


The other keywords can be used in the achievements/accomplishments section in different sections of your résumé, in order to prove your experience and why you are the perfect fit for this position.

Examples of Achievements/Accomplishments to Use In the Job Application Based on the Tesla Case

 

  • Collaborated with 4 partners from 5 different European countries to adapt our marketing strategies for different cultures and needs. 
  • Developed an email marketing campaign for our non-active members that resulted in 650 new generated leads. 
  • Led (or Managed and coached) a team of 4 digital marketers and 2 marketing researchers in the Baltics that over the last 2 years increased the brand presence with over 800%. 
  • Successfully delivered positive results over the last 6 quarters, with an increase in the efficiency of the marketing department of at least 7% in every quarter. 


To summarize, we created the following short checklist for you to make sure you are using the right keywords in your job résumé application in order to increase its value: 

DOs

  • Use the Job Ad as a starting point for collecting relevant keywords. 
  • Adapt the keywords for each specific job. 
  • Use the keywords in specific contexts.
  • Check your spellings multiple times, as ATS will not identify misspelled words and will decrease your credibility among the recruiters.

DON'Ts

  • Include all the keywords in one part of your résumé, but spread them across your application.
  • Use too many keywords.
  • Use job-related keywords that you do not posses. 

While you work on your résumé templates or CV samples, you can click on the “Examples and Tips” in the left-hand corner where we help you with professional tips and examples for each specific section. 

Andrei KurtuyCo-founder & CMO

Andrei is one of the 3 co-founders of Novorésumé and responsible for Communication, Research, and Marketing. Born an idealist and optimist, he believes we should always try to search for change and make everything around us more effective and simple. In his free time, he loves running, reading and drinking coffee.

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