The Most Valuable Words You Can Put On Your Resume

As a modern job seeker, your initial contact with potential employers is often going to be electronic. So, when you’re crafting a resume that you’re planning to post online, one of your primary objectives should be making it discoverable. You want to think like a job recruiter. Have you ever thought about what they are searching for as they endlessly parse resumes?

The key to getting discovered online is using the right keywords. Your resume should be full of descriptive terms that make you valuable as a potential employee. The best words are those that you can verify with your training and experience (see this post for an example of how to write a descriptive resume).

One great place to get ideas for keywords is looking at job descriptions that you are interested in. Take the words and phrases they use and place them in your list of skills, if they apply. For example, an administrative assistant job description listing the functions of the job might go something like this: “Answering phones, customer service, scheduling appointments using Microsoft Outlook, coordinating administrative functions of the office.” Recruiters will be looking for words in your skill set and experience like:

  • phones
  • customer service
  • scheduling
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • administrative

There are several keywords that Abbey Placements recruiters consistently use as we’re looking to fill positions. We took an informal survey in our office, and here are the most frequent searches we do. Note that we do a high volume of manufacturing placements:

  1. CNC
  2. forklift
  3. assembly
  4. inspection
  5. machine operator
  6. electronics
  7. manufacturing
  8. machine
  9. shipping
  10. inventory

Whenever possible, list “hard” skills like these, which are typically gained through experience and training. If you lack experience and training, list “soft” skills that indicate what types of job you might be good at. For example, people who are “detail oriented” might make good inspectors and people who are “mechanically inclined” might make good machine operators.

The bottom line is, if you list the qualifications a recruiter is looking for on your resume, they’ll find you. You just have to put yourself out there clearly and completely.