Don’t Sabotage Your Resume – Use Keywords Not Buzzwords

Are resume keywords and buzzwords the same? No. Knowing the differences can be a deciding factor of a successful resume or LinkedIn profile versus being lost in the shuffle.

I was conducting a resume review recently with a career transition client and we got on the topic of resume buzzwords versus keywords. In her mind the terms were interchangeable. I had to point out that there are major differences.

First, let’s define the terms per the Webster’s Online Dictionary:

Buzzword - “a word or phrase that becomes very popular for a period of time”

Keyword – “a word used to facilitate an online search for information”

Buzzwords are most commonly catch phrases that are popular at the time but do not really say much about the person. What does “out of the box thinker” or “disruptive innovator” really say? Yes, we have a general idea about what they mean but there are many more practical ways to describe your skills.

A recent LinkedIn article listed the following top 10 most overused buzzwords found on their site:

  1. Responsible
  2. Strategic
  3. Creative
  4. Effective
  5. Patient
  6. Expert
  7. Organizational
  8. Driven
  9. Innovative
  10. Analytical

 Again, none of these terms do a good job at describing what someone can do well for any organization that is interested in hiring them. You are an “expert” – says who? You are effective – compared to what?

This is where we need to leave buzzwords behind and think about how to use keywords to describe our skills. Think about it this way. Hiring managers are searching LinkedIn looking for “BTB marketing managers with inbound, digital and integrated marketing experience” not someone who is a “creative out of the box thinker who brings disruptive strategies that ignite massive sales growth”.

 Our advice to our career coaching clients is to focus on the keywords that someone would use to find you during an online search.

The following keywords have ranked higher in the applicant tracking system or a recruiter’s search results by matching your resume keywords to exactly what’s in the job description.

  1. design
  2. operations
  3. technical
  4. training
  5. sales
  6. marketing
  7. reporting
  8. compliance
  9. strategy
  10. research
  11. analytical
  12. engineering
  13. policies
  14. budget
  15. finance
  16. project management
  17. health
  18. customer service
  19. documentation
  20. content
  21. presentation
  22. brand
  23. presentations
  24. safety
  25. certification

All these keywords will help make your resume more effective and bring more views to your LinkedIn profile. Remember, forget the buzzwords – think keywords from now on.

If you are looking for support in shaping your career or transitioning to a new job, or if you simply need resume and LinkedIn profile professional branding assistance, our consultants and technology will help you move forward with clarity, focus and success. To learn more about Don’t Dread Monday Career Coaching Click Here.