What Are Resume Keywords?
Job listings include the hard skills and competencies an applicant needs in order to be a great hire. These abilities become keywords used by recruiters and hiring managers to quickly identify top candidates whether they’re skimming with their eyes or using software to filter applicants based on the resume keywords.
“The first thing I’m looking for is the hard skills that match the job description,” a corporate recruiter told Jobscan.
Recruiters don’t carefully read resumes line by line. They take a cursory glance and only dig deeper if past job titles or resume keywords pique their interest. Having the right keywords is even more critical when technology enters the mix. Most companies (including 98% of Fortune 500) use software known as applicant tracking systems that can scan the content of a resume to make it searchable. Some systems even automatically filter and rank applicants. This means that a highly qualified applicant could slip through the cracks or get wrongly rejected if their resume isn’t optimized with the right keywords.
Top 500 Resume Keywords for 2018
Below is a list of the hard skills and keywords that appear most frequently in Jobscan‘s database of real job descriptions. These are the top resume keywords recruiters and hiring managers are looking for when vetting applicants.
These examples demonstrate the types of keywords to include in your resume. To boost your chances of getting past an applicant tracking system and landing a job interview, be sure to to tailor your resume keywords to the specific job for which you’re applying.
This list of keywords includes variations of the same words and phrases, for example Microsoft Office (124), MS Office (137), and Microsoft Office Suite (324). This isn’t a mistake. The levels of sophistication vary between applicant tracking systems, but most cannot differentiate between synonyms, abbreviations, or similar skills. Rank higher in the applicant tracking system or a recruiter’s search results by matching your resume keywords to exactly what’s in the job description.
BONUS: Top 50 Soft Skills for Executive Job Seekers
Many of the hard skills above are also found on executive job descriptions, such as operations, business development, finance, and strategy. At the executive level, a greater emphasis is placed on the soft skills that are developed and proven over the course of a career. Below are the top soft skills found in current C-suite job descriptions.
These soft skills are harder to define and can be difficult to use on a resume. Executives should sprinkle some of these top soft skills into their resume where applicable, but might use them to greater effect when writing their LinkedIn profile. On a resume, it’s more important to provide measurable results and experience that illustrates these highly coveted skills.
For example, you don’t necessarily need to match the job description by including the term entrepreneurial (7) on your resume, but you should absolutely highlight any work you’ve done with startups. Alternatively, include details of a pet project you nurtured, a department you grew, or relevant training you completed.