Resume keywords and where to find them

Resume Keywords are buzzwords related to a specific company/industry or a job profile that you put on your resume. Placing resume keywords help you getting screened through Application Tracking Systems and also come up in search results of various job listing portals such as Indeed, Naukri, etc.

There are two ways a recruiter goes about hiring the best candidates –

  1. Posting a job opening on their website and other job portals – inviting candidates to apply using resumes and CV
  2. Searching for profiles through various portals by filtering on Industry, Job Title, Area of expertise, Years of Experience, etc.

What recruiters put or type in the job portals are nothing but keywords they are looking for in your profile.

Now you know how the recruiters are finding you. So, the best thing you can do to make you see them is to use these keywords while you are editing your resume or CV.

How to find resume keywords related to the job opening, profile and the industry?

Let’s say you are applying for a post of Strategy and Planning Associate in a data analytics consultancy firm that overlooks clients in the hospitality, pharma, and e-commerce industry.

Wait, those are nothing but resume keywords!

You got the answer, the best possible way to find keywords related to any job opening is to read out the job description ALOUD!

Let’s see what are the findings when you read them aloud:

Job Title & Company

That’s the first place to find keywords – the job title – Strategy & Planning, District Sales Manager, Business Analyst, ServiceNow Developer, Project Manager, Software Developer, Accounting Associate, Legal & Finance Consultant, Operations Associate, etc.

This way, you’d know what the company is looking for, now let’s say you are a software developer at XYZ Company. The name of the company also becomes a keyword in a way!

If you are currently employed at Google, chances are, Microsoft recruiters might be searching for candidates for an opening using the keyword Google as the previous or current employer.

Industry and Profile Related Buzzwords

Job Titles and the company names come in naturally in your resume. However, it is the industry and profile related buzzwords that will set you apart from other candidates.

If you are applying for a role of a Center Manager in a Logistics Company, the recruiters are probably looking for keywords like Vendor Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Stock Units, etc. in your resume.

The best way to find these resume keywords is to read at least five job descriptions from various companies and resumes of experienced employees.

Perform a Google Search by typing “[Job Profile] Job Description”, and you will find many documents to refer and find related keywords.

Degree, College, Major, etc.

If an HR or any hiring manager is searching job portals for an App Developer, it is very likely that he/she would filter by minimum qualification of (say) Bachelor of Technology. They may also filter by major or college.
Therefore, if you put something like Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science Engineering (CSE) in your resume, you will fulfil the criteria of coming up in the search results or maybe screening the ATS successfully.

Again, this would come naturally in your resume as you put your educational qualifications in the document.

Note: Something to note here is the use of other words or acronyms through which recruiters might be looking, or application systems might be screening. Using Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A or MBA) in your resume is a better practice than writing in just one form. It will ensure that the machine reads and understands your resume better.

Software or Technical Terms, Hard Skills and Soft Skills

A recruiter looking for a UX Designer may be searching for job profiles that have words like CorelDRAW, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, CAD, etc.

Therefore, using these terms or any technical expertise you have is a must!

Adding to these terms will be the expertise you developed during your professional experience in terms of hard or soft skills. Using the hard or soft skill keywords related to the job opening might increase the chances of your selection.

For a graphic designer – typography, sketching, digital printing, visual communication, team player, initiative etc. can be useful hard and soft skill keywords.


Using Resume Keywords is extremely important to help you get through the selection process – especially when a company uses a machine to screen resumes.

Even if they don’t, the hiring managers pay utmost attention to the keywords you have used in the resume.

However, what is utmost important is that you use the keywords that are genuine to your own personality, the area of expertise and skills. Using the keywords just for the sake of using them may get you through the screening round.

But, it will only take minutes for an interviewer to understand whether you actually know stuff or you have only written the keywords to get you to the interview round.

Therefore, use the keywords in your resume as much as you can but make sure to write only the things you can later explain in the interview.

As far as how many resume keywords to use in a resume are concerned – Experts say a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25 keywords are enough to get you through the next round. Using the number of keywords in a resume depends upon how long the resume is.