How to Identify Keywords That Amplify Your Resume

How to Identify Keywords That Amplify Your Resume


If you’ve read resume advice articles and guides such as our Anatomy of a Resume post, you know that utilizing keywords in your resume is important. Not only does incorporating keywords help you stand out to recruiters, it can also help applicant tracking systems (ATS) match you to relevant jobs. How do you choose the best words to use and successfully incorporate them into your resume? Read on for tips from our team of recruiting experts.

1. Start With What You Know

When you’re creating a resume for the first time or updating a previous resume, it is a good idea to utilize your knowledge and experience to brainstorm keywords. Start by writing down the skills, programs and methods for which you have experience. Consider your day-to-day activities, large projects and overall skills you’ve built in both your education and experience. Have you taken any professional development courses or been certified in a relevant program? Identifying these ahead of time will give you a good starting point for incorporating keywords into your resume.

2. Utilize Job Descriptions

Another method to identify keywords to include in your resume is to utilize job descriptions. If you have access to a previous job description, you can use these to help with accurate wording that can be incorporated into your sections. We also recommend taking an in-depth look at the job description for the role you are interested in. By taking note of the words utilized in the company description, job responsibilities and experience requirements, you can formulate a list of keywords that describe why you may be a good fit for the opportunity. While this may require some extra work to customize your resume for each position you are applying for, it may be the additional step you need to get your resume in front of the hiring manager.

3. Incorporate Keywords Into Your Resume Effectively

Once you’ve identified the keywords you’d like to incorporate into your resume, the next step is effectively including them where you can. Some great areas to focus on are the skills and experience sections. In your skills section, list the programs, certifications and hard skills that you possess that are relevant to the job opportunity. In your professional experience section, utilize any wording that stood out in the job description and make sure to highlight any accomplishments that demonstrate your experience in areas mentioned in the posting. For example, if the job requirements section mentions “strong accounting experience,” you might use similar verbiage and mention that you supervised an accounting team and streamlined an accounting system process that led to an increase in productivity for the company.

By being intentional with your keyword usage on your resume, you can feel confident that you are putting your best foot forward in your application.