What You Need To Know About Resume Keywords

Take a step extra and increase your chances of getting hired!


Tie your shoelaces, peel a banana, and brush your teeth (badly!). These are all things that you can do in six to seven seconds. It’s not a long period of time by any stretch of the imagination. According to Indeed, recruiters only spend six to seven seconds glancing at your carefully crafted resume.

And that’s if your resume happens to fall into the hands of an actual person. After all, more and more companies are using an automated applicant tracking systems (ATS), also known as talent management systems, to screen candidates for job openings. 

It’s happening at every level. In 2021, a leaked internal paper at Amazon showed that the tech giant has been working to replace some of its recruiters with AI technology to predict which job applicants will be successful. 

The technology works in part by finding similarities between the resumes of current, well-performing Amazon employees and those of job applicants applying for similar jobs. Essentially, it’s all about keywords. 


Resume keywords

In 2023, resume keywords are now critical if you want to get noticed by employers and include terms or short phrases that relate to particular requirements for a job. These are usually the skills and qualities that a hiring manager looks for in a candidate. 

Sometimes hiring managers will simply throw out applications that do not include all-important keywords, especially for popular roles that have garnered lots of attention. The closer a match, the better your chances are of being selected for an interview.

Here are a few ways to use keywords to your advantage

Match the job spec

The first place that you should look for keywords is in the job posting. Pay particular attention to any term listed under “responsibilities” or “ duties.” Sometimes it helps to list these words out on a separate sheet of paper, so you know what you need to focus on. 

Look, too, at the company’s website. If this business describes itself as being “reliable” or “traditional,” take note. This could be the type of language that you should use when you describe yourself. 


Make it obvious

Essentially, keywords reveal, at a glance, that you are a good fit for the job––you match the required skill set they are looking for. You’ll want to show that you are ticking all their boxes. For example, keywords for a developer role could include Java, APIs, Oracle, etc.

While it is crucial to add keywords that focus on hard skills, don’t forget about soft skills. Increasingly, employers are taking note of key soft skills such as negotiation, communication, and leadership abilities. 

Stanford Research Institute International has found that almost 75% of an employee’s success comes from soft skills, while only 25% of their success comes from technical skills. You can also make more of your soft skills in your cover letter.

Use them liberally 

Once you know what your keyword list is, take some time to spread it throughout your application. You can include them in both your cover letter and resume too. 

Don’t forget about synonyms, either. For example, there are lots of different ways to say you are creative. You could say you’re inventive, innovative, original, artistic, etc. Make sure you include variations of prominent keywords, as you can’t be sure which one an employer is looking for. 


Get hired

Ready to go ahead and apply for a new role? The Fossbytes Job Board is filled with opportunities, such as the three roles below.

Senior UX Designer, Lucid Software, Salt Lake City

Lucid Software is hiring for a Senior UX Designer in Salt Lake City. The company offers a leading visual collaboration suite that helps teams see and build the future from idea to reality. The company enjoyed a period of rapid growth thanks to the rise in remote working during Covid-19, and in 2021 it was valued at $3 billion. Responsibilities for this role include working closely with scrum teams to plan new features and improvements to the product, designing experiences, interactions, and features that improve product value, and understanding customer problems. The right candidate will have over five years’ of experience in UX. Find out more about this role here.

QA Specialist, Genentech, Santa Clara

Do you have at least three years of experience working in quality assurance? Are you highly motivated, well-organized, and flexible in problem-solving? If so, you should check out this QA Specialist role at biotech company Genentech in Santa Clara. You will support continuous improvement, provide input to develop personal performance goals, and collaborate with management to establish and meet targets and timelines. Apply online today.

Senior Lead Cloud Software Engineer, Coupa Software, San Mateo

Coupa Software is a global technology platform for business spend management. The Senior Lead Cloud Software Engineer role is based at the company’s headquarters in San Mateo. In December, it was announced that Coupa had been acquired by Thoma Bravo for an estimated $8 billion. Your duties will include participating in design reviews, providing support and leadership to the engineering organization, and serving as technical lead and mentor on a variety of different cloud engineering projects and initiatives. You will need to have a degree in a relevant field plus ten years of professional experience. Get all the details here.

Start searching for your next role on the Fossbytes Job Board today 

By Pippa Hardy

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