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Using Keywords on your Resume to Land a Job

Last updated February 21, 2024

Many companies, especially larger corporations, use AI technology to filter the resumes they receive based on the keywords they included in their job description. The closer the wording of your resume matches the keywords a company put in a job description, the better chance you will have of standing out. We'll show you how to use keywords on your resume to land a job!

What's a job keyword? 

Keywords are words that employers use in their job description to find the strongest candidates for the job. A majority of keywords in a job descrption can typically be found in the “Qualifications and Skills Required” section.

When reviewing a job description, be sure to note which keywords apply to you and your experience. For example, if a job posting requires strong communication skills, attention to detail, or Microsoft Office proficiency– and you have all of those skills– be sure to add them to your resume. Honesty is the best policy, so only add accurate skills and qualifications to your resume.

Every job you apply for will have its own unique set of required skills and qualifications. Because of this, it's best to have a standard resume that you can tailor to each company and position you apply for.

Which keywords should I use?

The keywords you’ll want to include in your resume are determined largely by the job you're applying for. For example, the skills and qualifications desired for a cashier position will likely be much different than those for a lab assistant position. Be sure to read each job posting thoroughly to have an understanding of what an employer is looking for and how you might compare to other candidates. 

There are some universal job skills that will be an asset at every single job you have, regardless of the company or industry. Some of these skills include: 

  • Strong communicator 
  • Able to work on a team 
  • Detail-oriented
  • Adaptable
  • Flexible 

If some or all of these keywords apply to you, be sure to list them on your resume. 

Sample keyword use 

Imagine you're applying for a cashier position and the job description lists the following as required skills:

Cashiers must be:

  • Good with customers.
  • Able to handle complaints and resolve conflict.
  • Able to conduct basic calculations such as addition, subtraction, division, and percentages.

Based on the desired qualifications listed, you can add keywords to your resume such as customer service, positive attitude, conflict resolution, and register/POS (point-of-sale) transactions. Again– only add these to your resume if they accurately reflect your skills and job experience. 

Need support in finding and applying to jobs? Sign up for our free first job resources and text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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