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Cheatsheet: Keywords


  • Study every keyword which you use in your resume – to ensure that you are not caught off guard in the interview.
  • Do NOT use any keywords unless you can relate your experience or skills to those keywords in some way.
  • Using keywords effectively will not only help you with ‘resume robots’, it will also help you tremendously in getting noticed by the hiring manager and recruitment officers.
  • Avoid Overuse: Make sure that keywords which are industry jargon etc do not make your resume un-understandable by ordinary people.

Use the following table for some ideas on the key words you can use:

where to look


job description of the job you are applying for

Study carefully the specific job advertisement for which you are applying. Note the uncommon special words & acronyms which appear in that job posting.

Every company and department has its ‘own language’ and your resume would get more attention if it uses words from that ‘language’.

Where to use these keywords:

  • Use these keywords right at the top – in the skills or accomlishments section.
  • You can also check if you can use the job description in the advertisement to refine your Professional Objective.

general job descriptions


  • Sales Rep, Account Manager, Sales Manager: account planning, business development, customer relations, budgeting, financial reporting, territory planning, sales forecasting
  • Information Technology Manager (VP IT, CIO, Director of Development etc): unify communications, business intelligence, social media strategy, business process management, data security, modernization
  • Procurement Officer, CFO etc:capital asset management, risk management, reporting, corporate governance, taxation, strategy
  • Business Leaders, General Manager,CEO, President:corporate and governance, global strategy, marketing, business growth

your target organisation

Visit the company’s website – review their “About Us” page and other pages – note down some keywords which seem their favorite words they use for referring to their solutions, business and industry.


The location names (city, state, zipcode etc) of the place where you want the job must appear in your resume.

For example – Recruiters typically do searches like “DBA” AND “Austin” to find resumes of DBAs in Austin.

acronyms, technical terms & job specific buzzwords

Acronyms and buzzwords but make sure you understand what they mean!

industry terminology

Identify & use industry jargon & functional descriptors- IT (DR, HA etc), Oil & Gas (upstream, downstream etc), Finance (10Q, EBITDA etc), Auto (Big Three, USDM etc)

Toolkit: NY Department Of Labor Website: Use these industry keywords in your Skills Highlights, Acomplishments and Experiences sections.

degrees, certifications, licenses, university/college names

words related to computer/internet proficiency, software/hardware

from your organization’s HR documents

The human resources documents (eg. quarterly business reviews, appraisals etc) in your company may have listed competencies, skills or management principles. Borrow keywords & functional descriptors from these.