How to Use Action and Descriptive Keywords in Your Resume

Are you using the correct keywords in your resume to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS) to move your resume to a human for review? Using action, nouns, and descriptive keywords in your resume will increase job search success.

Find out why incorporating keywords in your resume is critical to land an interview!

When a company has 100 or more resumes submitted for a single position within two days of placing an advertisement for a job, the chances are they will not plow through all of them laboriously.

Modern technology allows the filtering of all resumes via applicant tracking system software. Received by a few specified job titles and industry-related keywords that the company or interviewer selects to screen applicants. If your resume contains keywords relevant to the position you are seeking and the industry you wish to work in, your resume could make it to the human eye.

It sounds harsh, but unfortunately, this is the process that many companies use.

Scan Job Advertisements to Locate Keywords to Use in Your Resume

Let’s discuss how you can ensure you include relevant keywords related to that desired position to get your resume selected. One of the best places to identify the keywords to incorporate in your resume is the job advertisement. You should pay close attention to the job description detailed in the announcement and make a note of the main criteria.

You can also check out similar job descriptions or postings or use Google’s keyword tools to find words.  If the company has a website, spend some time reviewing the content and jotting down what is relevant. In particular, please pay attention to their goals and philosophy. If the site includes its mission statement, read it carefully and make a note of essential points.

How to Use Keywords in Your Resume

The biggest mistake you can make is copying and pasting chunks of text from job postings or descriptions directly into your resume. Of course, you need to show how your skills relate to those detailed in the job description, but be careful not to use the language of the advertisement verbatim.

Not only will this hint at a distinct lack of imagination, but it will leave the prospective employer wondering whether what you included in your resume is accurate. The trick is to weave the industry-specific keywords into your resume in a natural way.

If you end up with a list of 50 words after doing your initial research to identify keywords, don’t be tempted to try and shoehorn them all in. This strategy can easily backfire, and it’s unlikely to impress the company’s hiring committee. When writing your resume, be selective about the words you include. Your resume should read naturally while adding the group of most important keywords.

Incorporate Action Words to Add Pizzazz

Use action terms or keywords in your resume when describing your work experiences and accomplishments. Start your phrases in the past tense for previous positions—list job accomplishments in a bulleted format. Action words will make your achievement statements dramatic and engaging.

What Are “Power” Verbs and Keywords?

Power verbs are what bring a resume to life. A power verb reveals an impressive ability or character trait in a single word and keeps your resume from being lifeless and repetitive. Use them liberally throughout your resume. Here are some examples

• Achieved
• Acquired
• Administered
• Advocated
• Analyzed
• Assessed
• Attained
• Authored
• Chaired
• Coached
• Communicated
• Completed
• Composed
• Conceived
• Conducted
• Coordinated
• Created
• Delegated
• Demonstrated
• Designed
• Developed
• Devised
• Directed
• Drafted
• Encouraged
• Enriched
• Established
• Evaluated
• Exceeded
• Executed
• Expanded
• Expedited
• Facilitated
• Formulated
• Founded
• Generated
• Guided
• Handled
• Helped
• Implemented
• Improved
• Increased
• Influenced
• Initiated
• Installed
• Instructed
• Interacted
• Interviewed
• Introduced
• Judged
• Led
• Maintained
• Managed
• Mentored
• Moderated
• Molded
• Motivated
• Negotiated
• Operated
• Organized
• Originated
• Perfected
• Performed
• Persuaded
• Pioneered
• Planned
• Prepared
• Presented
• Presided
• Produced
• Promoted
• Proposed
• Recommended
• Reorganized
• Researched
• Resolved
• Revamped
• Revitalized
• Scheduled
• Selected
• Solicited
• Solved
• Spearheaded
• Supervised
• Supported
• Taught
• Tested
• Trained
• Tutored
• Updated
• Utilized
• Wrote

Showcase your competence in a particular field or industry by using noun-based keywords in your resume that highlight your competencies and expertise. Examples include personnel management, cost analysis, business administration, directional drilling, quality control, and internal audits.

As you can see, there are different types of terms to make your resume come alive.

What keywords have you used in your resume to attract recruiters? Comment and share below!

Need additional assistance? Reach out to Candace to learn more!