How to Find Keywords for a Resume: 4 Effective Tips

How to Find Keywords for a Resume: 4 Effective Tips

Resume writing shouldn't be difficult, especially if you're creating it so recruiters can easily find you. However, adding relevant keywords is the best way to put your resume on the recruiter's list of potential candidates. Thus, you must learn to find keywords for your desired job and add them.

Here are some practical tips on how to find the right keywords to use in a resume.

Why Do Keywords Matter When Job Searching?

Like how search engines like Google use keywords to find the answers you need, recruiters use keywords to find the ideal candidates for an open position through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The keywords sent through the ATS match the resumes and the job descriptions for the posted positions.

This automated system filters out resumes that don't match job descriptions, and those that do are ranked and presented to the recruiter. According to Jobscan, 98.2% of Fortune500 companies use an ATS, so practical and relevant keywords for a resume are essential when making your resume.

You can also include these keywords in any job page online profile because recruiters also search through these websites.

4 Effective Tips on How to Find Keywords to Use in a Resume

It's important to remember that the ATS doesn't understand the keywords. Instead, they're only machines that see if your keywords match the recruiters' job descriptions, including the required skills. So here are tips on how to find keywords to use for your resume:

  • Use a keyword finder

    While looking at a job post, you can use a keyword finder. This tool allows you to paste the entire posting to see the commonly used keywords. You can then paste your resume and see if the exact keywords appear.

  • Look at many job descriptions

    Since the goal is to schedule interviews, you should send your resume to several companies. To maximize the chances of an ATS shortlisting you, look at the keywords for job descriptions. If they use different words or phrases, edit your resume before submitting it.

    Make sure to check the spelling they're using in the post because that is the term the ATS will look up. For instance, if they use "Photoshop CS6," put that exact term in your resume instead of just "Photoshop."

  • Check specific parts of the job posts

    The easiest way to hunt for keywords for a resume is to check certain parts of a job post. These are:

    • Required skills
    • Educational requirements
    • Relevant experience

    Having hard skills such as "Microsoft Office" or "copywriting" ranks you higher in an ATS than soft skills like "team player" or "leadership." The ATS will also display your educational requirements and work history, which the recruiter can filter through.

  • Check the location of the job

    Putting your address at the top of your resume makes it easy for the recruiter to see your proximity to the job. Location is vital for non-remote positions, and employers will most likely choose you for an interview the closer you are to the address. Also, make sure to put your city and state because these are the keywords for which the recruiters will search.

Use Keywords to Secure an Interview

Because most companies now use an ATS to sort through hundreds of candidates, using keywords for resumes increases the chances of securing an interview. Remember to examine the full job posting and then use a keyword density tool to find the words to tailor your application.

Ensure you don't overstuff your resume with keywords because it must still be readable to the recruiter. Remember all these tips, and you'll secure that interview in no time.

To see the commonly used keywords in job postings that recruiters use, check out

Written by Career Specialist Jun 20, 2023
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