In today's highly competitive job market, employers are flooded with resumes from the moment a job opening is posted. Their first task is to separate the impressive resumes from the not-so-impressive ones. You know by reading Randstad’s tips on writing a good resume and resume blunders to avoid that you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the person reading your resume. One of the best ways for you to stick out is by adding resume keywords.

what are resume keywords?

Resume keywords are the same as any other keywords — significant words that stand out from the rest of the document. Generally, these words should jump out to employers as they skim over your resume. Because that's what most employers or hiring managers do: They quickly look over each resume before deciding whether the applicant is worth the time it takes to conduct an interview.

how do you use resume keywords?

You use keywords in a resume just as you would anywhere else. And, believe it or not, there is an actual process to deciding which resume keywords to use and how.

figure out which resume keywords work best

Essential resume keywords change from one job to the next. Manufacturers won't use the same keywords that accountants use because the jobs are so different. For example, a warehouse worker might use terms like “assembly line,” “quality control” and “accident prevention.” An accountant would include terms like “budgets,” “payroll” and “taxes.” In general, most keywords are nouns, although they can also be actionable phrases.

If you’re uncertain which keywords would work best for your resume, take a look at the job description for the position for which you are applying. Use the same keywords the company uses in its job posting. For example, we've circled some of the keywords in this portion of a Randstad job posting:


include resume keywords organically

The next step is to include resume keywords so they stand out but also fit in, which isn't as difficult as it sounds. You simply write phrases that include the keywords and make sense in the overall context of the resume. As a general guideline, the keywords should be easily recognizable, even with a quick scan of your resume. But they should also flow with the rest of the text because (hopefully) the employer will read your whole resume at some point.


We've highlighted how those keywords might look in the resume for the manufacturer mentioned above:


use resume keywords online to get noticed in search results

Nearly everything is digital these days, and your resume should be too. If you really want to improve your chances of finding a job quickly, try posting your resume online with keywords included. You can include it in your LinkedIn profile and similar sites. When employers look for candidates by keyword on these sites (and they will!), your resume will pop up in the search results.


If you're on the hunt for the perfect job, try using keywords to push your resume to the top of the “to be interviewed” stack. Keywords are arguably one of the best ways to get your resume noticed, and they’re generally very easy to incorporate once you know how they work. If you’re crafting a resume from scratch, consider outlining keywords first. If you’re tweaking a resume you already have on hand, just add them in where necessary and try to streamline the resume as much as possible. Remember: your goal is to get noticed, and resume keywords will help you do just that.

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