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How to Make Your Resume Better With Keywords & Phrases

  1. Intro to a resume keyword
  2. What is a keyword for a resume?
  3. How Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) works
  4. What keywords to use for your resume
  5. Where to insert keywords on your resume
  6. Conclusion

Intro to a resume keyword

Have you ever wondered why you keep sending your resumes, but you do not get any response?

Many applicants do not realize that most employers search CVs by inserting specialized keywords into an Applicant Tracking System. For your resume to be noticed and selected by your employer, it should include keywords that correspond to the job you want.
What is a resume keyword? Keywords are words and phrases that are related to a particular industry or position. Resume keywords are an essential part of your resume.

Let’s go deep into what is considered to be good resume keywords and how to use them to make a compelling CV.

What is a keyword for a resume?

Usually, resume keywords are industry-specific skills, professional abbreviations, specific terminology, certificates, product names, computer programs, technical experience, level of knowledge, required personal qualities, company names, etc.

Let’s check an example. So, you are applying for a Multimedia Designer position. Your resume keywords are Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML & CSS, Web Design, etc. Action verbs are essential also: achieved, developed, improved, participated, built, etc.

There are a couple of types of resume keywords.

Job-specific skills – business, marketing, bookkeeping.
Software/hardware used – Photoshop, SQL, Linux.
Education – Ph.D., BS.

Certification – ITIL, CPR.

Job position – Web Developer, Designer, Project Manager.

Soft skills – stress-resistance, detail-orientation, conflict resolution.

Industry jargon – Partner Marketing, PPC (Pay-Per-Click), workflow.

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How Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) works

ATS can be either a desktop application or an online service (depending on the needs of the company).

Techniques and online resume optimization services are becoming more popular to help applicants get an interview invitation. The functionality of ATS is not limited to data collection and analysis. ATS is also used to automate the recruiting processes according to the selected workflow.

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ATS can be adjusted to search for the specific keywords, count the keywords frequency, put more value on particular keywords, detect keyword spamming.

What keywords to use for your resume

Think about what keywords are relevant to your profession, what keywords a recruiting team will search for when checking your resume.

To select the most effective keywords, start with reviewing the current open vacancies, which meet your job expectations. Usually, the most important ones are mentioned in the first paragraph. Pick the keywords, which appear in most of the job ads. You can search for the necessary keywords in the job titles and requirements for candidates.
LinkedIn’s skill section is also helpful. You can go to your LinkedIn profile, click «Add skill», and type a skill in the search box to see a drop-down menu showing related skills.

As an option, check the company website to get possible keywords. To show that you are a good fit for the applied position and the company itself, use keywords that the company uses to characterize itself.

Do not lie, use only the keywords applicable to your areas of expertise.

Where to insert keywords on your resume

1. Summary section

Some recruitment specialists consider a summary section to be the best place to include resume keywords. At the very beginning, you inform the employer about your compliance with the desired position and encourage more detailed consideration of your candidacy.


2. Experience history on your CV

ATS is searching not only for a skills section area, but context also. Make sure the relevant keywords are included in your work history block.


3. Skills section

Skills section is the most obvious place of your resume to include the keywords. It specifies your skills and abilities that are related to the position you are applying for.


4. Education and Training


Education and training section of your resume is another area to include the keyword ATS is searching for. Look at the example below.

Here are five quick tips to make your keywords more effective:

  • use synonyms/acronyms;
  • use location-based keywords;
  • spell out obvious skills;
  • use keyword analysis tools;
  • focus on hard skills, but do not forget to include soft skills as well.

Make sure your resume is both ATS and human-friendly.


Having a well-prepared resume is an excellent way to sell yourself. A recruiter doesn’t read every word of your resume; their gaze jumps to keywords that are related to the open position. A top-notch resume has phrases that add value to it. Properly selected keywords will help you get the desired job.

Martin Williams – Photographer & Web Designer Resume Template


Christian King – Project Manager Resume Template


Alex Schwartz – Fitness Instructor Resume Template


Ferguson – Resume Template


Graphic / Web Designer Resume Template


Kimberly Hardman – Realtor Resume Template


Creative & Professional – Resume Template


Maximilian Baumgartner – Graphic Designer Resume Template


Modern & Creative Resume Template


Resume/CV-Paul Hoffman Resume Template


TOP 10 Resume Templates 2018

Template NameTheme ProviderTemplate CategoryPrice
Martin Williams – Photographer & Web Designer Resume TemplateTemplateTuningPersonal Page Templates$19
Christian King – Project Manager Resume TemplateMotoCMSPersonal Page Templates$17
Alex Schwartz – Fitness Instructor Resume TemplateMotoCMSFitness Templates$17
Ferguson – Resume TemplateRongmistiryJob Portal Templates$18
Graphic / Web Designer Resume TemplateVoices_allDesigner Portfolio Templates$17
Kimberly Hardman – Realtor Resume TemplateTemplateTuningPersonal Page Templates$19
Creative & Professional – Resume TemplateTheme_CreationJob Portal Templates$17
Maximilian Baumgartner – Graphic Designer Resume TemplateTemplateTuningPersonal Page Templates$19
Modern & Creative Resume TemplateMonirPersonal Page Templates$12
Resume/CV-Paul Hoffman Resume TemplateTanvirJob Portal Templates$18

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