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How to Find Career-Related Keywords for Your Resume

Include keywords in your resume to sell your qualifications to recruiters and prospective employers. How can you find keywords for your occupation or career field? Use a highlighter to mark keywords from these resources.

  • Online and printed help-wanted ads: Highlight the job skills, competencies, experience, education, and other nouns that employers ask for.

  • Job descriptions: Ask employers for them, check at libraries for books or software with job descriptions, or search online. To find them online, just enter such terms as “job descriptions” or “job descriptions trainer” or “job descriptions electrical engineer” on an online search engine.

  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook and Dictionary of Occupational Titles (both published by the U.S. Department of Labor): Both books are at schools and libraries; the Handbook is also available online.

  • Trade magazine news stories: Text about your career field or occupation should be ripe with keywords.

  • Online or printed annual reports of companies in your field: The company descriptions of key personnel and departmental achievements should offer strong keyword clues.

  • Programs for industry conferences and events: Speaker topics address current industry issues, a rich source of keywords.

  • Internet search engines: Plug in a targeted company’s name and search the site that comes up. Look closely at the careers portal and read current press releases.

    You can also use Internet search engines to scout out industry-specific directories, glossaries, and dictionaries.

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