By reading through resume examples, job seekers can get an accurate sense of how they compare with others in the field. Do they have sought-after credentials? Do they know the latest tools? Do they have enough accomplishments to climb another step up the ladder? While it’s common to search through resume examples to answer these questions and more, job seekers should not forget that targeted resumes are the name of the game. Resume keywords are a big factor in standing out from a sea of applicants. For help tailoring your resume, it’s best to turn not to resume examples but to job listings–they are the ultimate source of resume keywords.

The word cloud above was generated using the text from a dozen finance industry job postings. The larger the word, the more often it appeared.

Finance industry jobs are highly sought after by many in large part because of the prestige and the paychecks. If you’re looking for a job in finance, you’ll be facing a lot of competition. Having the right resume keywords is one way to differentiate yourself.

Finance resume keywords

If you want a job in finance, include these resume keywords wherever applicable:

  • Analysis
  • Asset
  • CFA
  • Client
  • Compliance
  • Equity
  • Excel
  • Financial
  • Insurance
  • Investment
  • Licenses
  • Management
  • Models
  • Performance
  • Portfolio
  • Recommendations
  • Reports
  • Research
  • Review
  • Valuation

Resume skills

As you can see from this list, finance jobs require talent and experience with data and analysis. Many finance jobs also require candidates to pass specific exams and possess certain credentials. In order to sit for some of these exams, you must have an industry sponsor. If you are interested in working in the finance industry, you’ll have to thoroughly research what’s considered necessary for the roles that interest you.

Math and Microsoft Excel skills are also, obviously, at the top of the priorities list. And don’t forget the people skills necessary to work with clients and make persuasive presentations. (While you’re studying for your exams, you might also want to join Toastmasters.)


Using resume keywords properly requires finesse. Stuffing your resume text full of words you think might be applicable won’t work, and neither will copying and pasting sections from the job listing itself. The key is to tailor your resume for each individual job listing. This isn’t a time-consuming process once you’re familiar with resume keywords, and provided you’re working from something like a career management document. Creating a new resume from scratch each time isn’t necessary, and isn’t even advisable.

To quickly find out whether your resume is targeted well, try Jobscan. All you have to do is paste in the text of your resume and the job description, and Jobscan will provide instant feedback about things you’ve done well and things you can do better. Resume examples can be a great source of inspiration, but they are no match for individualized feedback.

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Trista Winnie

Trista Winnie has been writing and editing professionally for nearly a decade, primarily covering the job search, investing, engineering, and health.

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