The Teal Blog

How To Find the Best Keywords To Use in Your Resume, Job Search, and Other Career Materials

Published on
November 12, 2020

People are always talking about the importance of adding keywords to your resume when you apply for a job but has anyone ever stopped to understand why we should care about keywords or even spend the time learning about which ones to use. Keywords are not only important for your resume but also should be used to optimize your LinkedIn profile, and be a part of your networking and interview conversations. Keywords can also provide you with insight into furthering your professional development.

So what are keywords?

Keywords are the specific skills, knowledge, and expertise that are found in job descriptions to help both candidates and recruiters determine if they are a fit for a particular role. Keywords can include both soft and hard skills. Here’s an overview of soft and hard skills and why they are important.

Here is an example of keywords in a job description:

The keywords you choose are going to change for each job posting and company. Even if you are applying to the same job title, the companies may be looking for something slightly different. 

If you aren’t clear on what roles you are targeting or you have multiple interests, create a job search plan to guide you. 

Where Should You Use Keywords:

Resume + Cover Letter: 

When you submit a resume and cover letter online for a job, usually it is going through an applicant tracking system (ATS) that scans it for keywords that match the job description. If your resume includes the correct keywords, then the system will push your resume forward to be seen by the recruiter or hiring manager.

The more keywords that you include in your application materials from the job description, the more likely your chances will be to get an interview. You’ll want to find the balance between including the most relevant keywords and building your resume for the human eye. 

Make sure to add your accomplishments that show proof of how you have put the skills (keywords) to use. The more quantitative you can be, the better. 


Your LinkedIn profile has many places where you can include keywords that are important for your function, industry, and career path. Areas to consider include, 

  • Your headline, 
  • The “about” section, 
  • Your experience, 
  • The list of skills. 

 Recruiters use keywords to search for candidates on LinkedIn   which is why it’s  essential to include the keywords and phrases from the various roles you are targeting.

To make sure your profile is fully optimized, follow our LinkedIn Guide.


When you’re presenting your best self in an interview, you’ll want to make sure you are making yourself memorable to the interviewer and showing how you are the right fit for the role . One strategy is to use the keywords and phrases you found from the job description and add them to your talk track. As you describe your skills and experience using the right keywords, you’ll help the interviewer connect the dots between you and the role. 


The purpose of networking is to build meaningful relationships with people who may share a similar career path, interests, or skillsets. Networking can help us make a job or career transition, help us grow in our career, and build lifelong connections. Use the keywords that are relevant to your function or industry to ask questions and share your experience with others. It will help you build your personal brand as an expert in the field while building trust. 

Professional Development: 

When we want to learn new skills, move into a new type of role, or just grow in our field, knowing what skills are needed will help you reach that next step.  Keywords from job descriptions can give us an insider view to what skills or experience is crucial for that next step. For example, I’ve looked at job descriptions in my field to learn about the skills and new technologies in instructional design. That has led me to look up some of these tools and learn how to use them.

How Do You Find the Right Keywords?

When looking for the right keywords to use, start with action verbs since they usually provide insight into the soft skills needed for a role. For example, if you look at the responsibilities section of this job description, you notice they used action verbs like manage, oversee, and lead, which all show that the role is looking for someone with leadership experience. 

Next, you want to look out for hard skills like technology tools, functional skills, and anything that is teachable and measurable like UX design, Python, content management, financial reporting, etc. These can usually be found in either the qualifications or expertise sections of a job description. 

How to add keywords into your resume and other job related places

The keywords and phrases that you find throughout each job posting will help you build your achievements in a way that is relevant and specific to the job you are targeting.

Do these 5 steps to find and use the right keywords for each job posting

  1. Save the job posting in a place where you can edit and highlight keywords
  2. Scan through the job posting 2-3 times highlighting the keywords and phrases
  3. Segment the skills into two buckets. Soft Skills and Hard Skills
  4. Look for repeat keywords. They’ll be the more important skills for the role
  5. Frame your accomplishments to include the keywords that you have found for each posting

Since each job will be looking for something different, you’ll want to take these 5 steps for every job posting. It’s very time consuming, although it’s a necessary step to present the best version of yourself.

Save time with Teal’s Job Tracker

If you’re hoping to save time, you can use our free job tracker tool. It allows you to pull in job postings from all of the most popular job posting sites through our chrome extension. Once you’ve pulled in a job posting, the job tracker will scan through and highlight keywords for you while segmenting them into soft and hard skills.

You can sign up and start using the job tracker for free at anytime.

Knowing the right keywords will help you in your career whether it is for a job search, career transition, or to develop yourself in your current role. It takes both time and practice to be able to identify keywords but luckily there are tools like the Teal Job Tracker to make it easier!

About the Author

Satya Chheda
Satya is Teal's Director of Career Growth and has over 10+ years of experience in the career development field. She oversees instructional design and content strategy for Teal's career programs for job seekers, career transitioners, and professionals seeking career growth. She also wears additional hats as a coach, project manager, and community manager. Satya has her M.A. in Counseling and is a Board Certified Coach.
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