Keywords for Resumes: How to Target Resume Scanners

Not landing interviews? Keywords could be the solution. In this guide, learn how to utilize resume keyword optimization to stand out to employers and land your dream job.
November 4, 2020
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Let's talk about getting ghostedby your dream job. 

You scoured LinkedIn, found the perfect position, typed a cover letter, and fixed your resume. Heck, you even used Canva to make the design stand out. Yet, your eyes still skim over the third message this week, reciting some recycled pleasantries like: "Unfortunately, we've decided to pursue a different candidate at this time."

And that's if you even get a response. 

We get it; it happens to the best of us, but what if we told you it didn't have to?

The solution: keywords.

In the same way, you may now be utilizing AI to help you write papers on that one required reading you skimmed; employers are using technology to help them find the perfect fit.

Approximately 75 percent of employers and a staggering 98.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies have are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Recruiting Management Systems (RMS).

What does that looks like? That means hiring managers swipe through applications like you swipe through dating apps – spending only 7 seconds per each person. 

But don’t worry; we’re here to help you make the most out of those 7 seconds. 

Cracking the Code: Keywords for Resume Scanners

Think of them as cheat codes for your job hunt – these advanced programs are programmed to spot specific keywords in resumes, like digital treasure hunters. Like most technology, we can make them work towards our advantage. The key is knowing the formula. 

The Magic Number: 25-30 Keywords 

(Bare with us while we do some simple math)

25 keywords + optimize resume formatting = a job interview.

*Not sure how to create the perfect format? Check out our guide on writing an entry-level resume. 

Same as in math, there can be a few ways to get to your solution. There are two types of keywords you can use to help your resume stand out: job-related skills and action verbs. The former highlights your core competencies, while the latter showcases your past achievements. For the perfect resume, you’re going to want to sprinkle both throughout. 

So what does that look like? Here are some keywords you can sprinkle throughout your resume depending on your industry. 

Best Resume Keywords

Keywords for Finance & Accounting Resumes

  • Budgeting
  • Auditing
  • Financial Reports
  • Risk Analysis
  • Client Accounts
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Asset Management
  • Debt Financing
  • Budget Management
  • ROI Analysis
  • Taxation
  • Profit & Loss Analysis
  • Treasury Management
  • Financial Planning

Business & Management Keywords for Resume

  • Business Analysis
  • Market Insights
  • Strategic Planning
  • Budget Management
  • Negotiation
  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Team Building
  • Process Improvement
  • Financial Acumen
  • Risk Management
  • Decision-Making
  • Change Management
  • Customer Relationship Management

Data Science & Administration Keywords

  • Data Entry
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Schedule Management
  • Filing
  • HR Policy
  • Call Screening
  • Office Supply Inventory
  • Typing Speed
  • Calendar Management
  • Business Correspondence
  • Multitasking
  • Organizational Skills
  • Records Management
  • Data Analysis
  • Executive Support

Graphic Design & Creative Resume Keywords

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Graphic Design
  • Typography
  • Artistic Sensibility
  • Visual Composition
  • Creative Conceptualization
  • Color Theory
  • Branding
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Digital Art
  • Exhibit Design
  • Presentation Skills
  • Web Design
  • Print Production

Construction Management Resume Keywords

  • Power Tools
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • OSHA Certification
  • Troubleshooting
  • Machine Operation
  • Safety Protocols
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Project Management
  • Quality Control
  • Site Management
  • Occupational Safety
  • Construction Techniques
  • Materials Handling

Keywords for Engineering Resume

  • Technical Analysis
  • Prototyping
  • Quality Assurance
  • CAD Software
  • Project Management
  • Systems Integration
  • Process Optimization
  • Material Science
  • Mechanical Design
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Structural Analysis
  • Industrial Automation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Technical Documentation

Resume Keywords for Sales & Marketing

  • Market Research
  • Brand Management
  • Campaign Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Content Creation
  • Social Media Management
  • SEO Optimization
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Lead Generation
  • Sales Presentations
  • CRM Systems
  • Public Relations

Keywords for Customer Service Resume

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Complaint Resolution
  • Point of Sale (POS) Operation
  • Product Knowledge
  • Upselling
  • Inventory Management
  • Customer Engagement
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Service Excellence
  • Salesmanship
  • Retail Operations
  • Cash Handling
  • Merchandising
  • Visual Displays
  • Problem Solving

Resume Keywords for Education

  • Lesson Planning
  • Classroom Management
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Student Assessment
  • Curriculum Development
  • Child Development
  • Counseling
  • Peer Mentorship
  • Special Education
  • Inclusive Education
  • Tutoring
  • Behavior Management
  • Program Development
  • Educational Technology
  • Assessment Strategies

Keywords for Emergency Services Resume

  • First Aid/CPR
  • Emergency Response
  • Incident Management
  • Risk Assessment
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Crisis Communication
  • Fire Safety
  • Public Safety
  • Search and Rescue
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Incident Reporting
  • First Responder Training
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Hazmat Awareness
  • Tactical Operations

Food Service Resume Keywords

  • Menu Creation
  • Food Preparation
  • Culinary Arts
  • Food Safety
  • Kitchen Hygiene
  • Inventory Management
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Menu Presentation
  • Recipe Development
  • Food Presentation
  • Culinary Techniques
  • Service Excellence
  • Dietary Restriction Awareness
  • Time Management
  • Hygiene Standards

Computer Science & IT Resume Keywords

  • Systems Analysis
  • Programming Languages
  • Data Security
  • Network Administration
  • Software Development
  • IT Project Management
  • Cloud Computing
  • Database Management
  • Technical Troubleshooting
  • System Integration
  • Cybersecurity
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Data Analytics
  • Mobile App Development
  • User Interface Design

Resume Keywords for Law and Legal

  • Legal Research
  • Contract Drafting
  • Case Management
  • Litigation Support
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Intellectual Property
  • Legal Writing
  • Trial Preparation
  • Due Diligence
  • Legal Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Legal Documentation
  • Mediation
  • Courtroom Etiquette
  • Legal Terminology

These keywords could be the reason you land your next interview; make sure you're prepared with insider interview advice and other career tips and tricks by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

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