Resumes and Keyword Use: Guidelines

Unlocking _resume Keywords

It’s tough work standing out from the crowd. That task is made even harder when you’re competing against hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of other job applicants for the same position. So the question is: How can you get more visibility? Well, it all starts with a few keywords . Follow these tips to crack the modern-day job search and stand out in a giant database of other resumes.


Keywords: Your Resume’s Best Chance of Being Seen 

Here’s a breakdown of keyword searches: When a recruiter wants to see all the resumes in her database that belong to Associate Account Managers who live in the greater St. Louis area with a master’s degree in business management, she conducts a keyword search using those three terms. She brings up all the resumes that fit these three basic qualifications, and then moves on to the next step of her project, which may involve sending a job post to each of those people with an invitation to apply.

What about Hiring Managers?

Hiring managers can conduct the same kind of keyword searches, but they often do so with specific job requirements or credentials in mind, instead of broad ones. For example, if they need candidates who have three years of agency experience, or a master’s degree in animal management, or a license to practice in a specific field in a specific state, they’ll enter these terms and consider only the candidates who fit the search criteria.

So What?

If you look closely, the job posting will reveal some of the keywords that will probably be used in the search. Each of the specific requirements for the job, the way the company describes itself (as a “full service structural design firm” or a “Pacific rim restaurant with cross-cultural appeal”) can give clues as to the exact words and phrases that might be used in a keyword search.

Place these words and phrases strategically into your resume and cover letter. But be careful—a keyword search might land your resume on the desk of a hiring manager, but after that, human eyes and human minds will take over the decision making process. So don’t use keywords more than once or twice, or your resume will sound robotic and manipulative.

Keywords Are Only Part One… 

In addition to clever keyword use, your resume will also need smooth language, tight organization, and professional formatting. But don’t worry— LiveCareer is here to help. Visit the site and use the resume builder to get your application process off to a strong start.  

Ready to build a strong resume? Create My Resume


Resume Tips
Read more

The Worst Resume Grammar Mistakes


Need A Job-Search Game Plan? Our FREE ebook Can Help.

Resume Tips
Read more

What to Put in Your Resume
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST