How to Use Resume Keywords to Beat the ATS + 120 Examples

Learn which resume keywords to include to conquer the ATS with our expert guide. Plus, access 120 real-world examples to boost your job application success.
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Astley Cervania
Updated
March 3, 2023

Did you know almost all companies use applicant tracking systems to find the right candidate?

In the modern workforce today, nearly every recruiter and hiring manager will be using a recruiting software to scan your resume. 

That’s exactly why it’s important you’re using the right ATS resume keywords.

ATS keywords are a determining factor for whether or not you get hired. With hundreds of other candidates making an application to the same job opening as you, the hiring managers have no time to waste on unseasoned applicants who don’t match their expectations. 

What Are ATS Resume Keywords?

ATS resume keywords are specific words and phrases that are strategically included in a resume to increase the likelihood that the document will be recognized and ranked favorably by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These keywords help the software match the applicant's qualifications with the job requirements, improving the chances of the resume advancing in the hiring process.

But how do you beat the applicant tracking system?

To beat the ATS, tailor your resume by strategically including relevant keywords from the job description, using a standard file format, and ensuring a clean, readable layout. When you're optimizing your resume with keywords you have to think about type of keyword and how and where you’ve used them.

For example, depending on your job title you will need:

  • Keywords for resume skills
  • Resume keywords for management
  • Resume keywords for marketing

How to Find (and Use) Resume Keywords

Finding and using resume keywords is like playing a strategic game to boost your chances in the job hunt. It's all about making sure your resume gets past the initial hurdle, the ATS. We'll delve into the techniques for finding the most relevant keywords, whether they're nestled in the job posting, lurking in your industry's lexicon, or hidden in the profiles of successful professionals.

1. Analyze The Job Description

Begin your search for resume keywords by carefully examining the job posting. The qualifications, skills, and specific requirements mentioned in the posting are your primary source of keywords. Highlight and make a list of these terms, ensuring they align with your qualifications.

When analyzing the job description, consider the specific words or phrases they’re using that they want to see from you. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Have they mentioned a particular skill or responsibility they’re looking for in candidates? 
  • Is there work experience from an ideal work position that’s been mentioned?

Find out the skills and duties they expect from their ideal candidate. Whether that’s social media or digital marketing skills, these are ATS keywords to use that you shouldn’t forget to include. When doing so, not only will you match the employers expectations but you’ll position yourself as the perfect candidate.

ats-keyword-targeting
Rezi's ATS Keyword Targeting

2. Use The Job-Related Keywords

Make it easy for the applicant tracking system to detect your ATS keywords by using the keywords that are job-related and aligned with the context of your job position. Don’t forget to include your job title in your resume, particularly in the work experience section. 

Important resume sections for your ATS keywords include:

3. Focus On The Industry-Related Keywords

Next, you want to include the keywords that are industry-related and aligned with the context of the entire field as a whole. 

Job-related keywords are important for meeting the ATS keywords requirements. 

Unfortunately, at the same time, it doesn’t mean it’s enough. When a job posting is competitive, you need more than just mentioning resume keywords for an interview with your prospective employers.

The purpose behind these are to create the perception you’re an expert.

You want the employer to perceive and acknowledge you as a valuable asset who’s beneficial to have on the team. 

4. Implement Your ATS Keywords Naturally In The Right Resume Sections

Once you've identified relevant keywords, it's time to incorporate them into your resume. Carefully integrate them into your professional summary, skills section, and job descriptions. Use them naturally within your accomplishments and responsibilities, as excessive keyword stuffing can be a red flag for both ATS and human reviewers.

Keep in mind that your resume should not only cater to the ATS but also be reader-friendly for hiring managers. Strike a balance between keyword optimization and readability, ensuring that your resume effectively communicates your qualifications and accomplishments.

5. Consider Power Words & Resume Action Verbs

These aren’t the same as ATS keywords. 

Although they’re not an essential requirement to beat the applicant tracking systems, it’s vital if you want to stand out because it makes your resume more compelling. When used properly, it amplifies your achievements, skills and capabilities. 

Power words: words used to make the description of your responsibilities and duties more impactful.

Resume action verbs: using action words is a technique to keep your employers engaged by making your resume more appealing.

By using a simple power word or action verb, it adds depth to the level of your skills and expertise. To put simply, you can view them as ways to intensify your application by adding more spice to your resume.

6. Proofread & Edit Your Resume Accordingly

Have you used numbers, abbreviations or capital letters?

These all need to be checked. As simple as it sounds, you’d be surprised with how many applications have failed through the first few seconds because of small errors like this.

One grammar error removes all the credibility you might’ve shown on your resume. 

So, be sure everything is grammatically correct with no spelling mistakes. When editing your resume, check it against the job description to ensure your using ATS keywords and matching the needs of the job vacancy. 

If the job description uses the number 2 instead of the word two, this means you should be using the number 2 as well. 

The Top 20 ATS Keywords From 19,786 Resumes

What are good keywords for a resume?

We’ve gathered the top 20 ATS resume keywords using the data from 19,786 resumes:

ats-resume-keywords
Top Keywords

According to our infographic shown above, the top 20 ATS keywords are:

  • Microsoft
  • Office
  • Python
  • Management
  • Excel
  • English
  • HTML
  • Data 
  • CSS
  • Google
  • Fluent
  • SQL
  • Tableau
  • Analysis
  • Linux
  • Project
  • Javascript
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Word

ATS Keyword Examples For Different Industries

Aside from the top 20 resume keywords from 19,786 resumes, there are hundreds more ATS keywords for you to use. 

Keep in mind that these should be placed in the right resume sections. We’ll get into more detail on how to use ATS keywords in your resume later on this guide too, so be sure you’re paying attention!

For now, here are a few job-related ATS keywords examples.

Finance

  • Financial analysis
  • Budgeting
  • Cost reduction
  • Financial planning
  • Risk management
  • Investment analysis
  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Portfolio management
  • Tax planning

Law

  • Legal research
  • Contract negotiation
  • Litigation support
  • Case law
  • Intellectual property
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Environmental law
  • Corporate law
  • Legal compliance

Education

  • Curriculum development
  • Classroom management
  • Student assessment
  • Educational technology
  • Instructional design
  • Special education
  • E-Learning
  • Student engagement
  • Educational leadership
  • Lesson planning

Marketing

  • Digital marketing
  • Market analysis
  • Social media management
  • Content marketing
  • Brand development
  • Email marketing
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Marketing strategy
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Customer acquisition

Medical

  • Patient care
  • Medical coding
  • Healthcare administration
  • Clinical research
  • Medical billing
  • Nursing
  • Medical laboratory
  • Patient diagnosis
  • Surgical procedures
  • Healthcare compliance

Engineering

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Structural design
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Quality control
  • CAD (Computer-Aided Design)
  • Project management
  • Renewable energy
  • Manufacturing processes

General

  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership development
  • Team building
  • Technical skills
  • Multitasking
  • Organizational skills
  • Quality assurance
  • Performance optimization
  • Strategic planning
  • Sales strategy
  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Audit
  • Brand
  • Budget
  • Business development
  • Coding
  • Computer science
  • Content management
  • CRM
  • Customer service
  • Data analysis
  • Digital CX
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Forecasting
  • Human resources
  • Innovation
  • Internship
  • Java
  • KPIs
  • Marketing
  • Microsoft office
  • Oracle
  • Outsourcing
  • Research
  • Payroll
  • Product management
  • Project management
  • Recruitment
  • Risk control
  • Sales
  • Salesforce
  • Scheduling
  • Social media
  • Software development

Alternative ATS Resume Keywords and Phrases

Now, let’s transition to industry-related ATS keywords you can use for your ATS resume. 

If you’re not familiar with these terms, do your diligent research and understand its meaning. Using these ATS keywords without knowing its context is a signal to the hiring manager you lack experience and understanding in the field.

You may have already noticed, but some of these ATS keywords include resume action verbs. These are extremely useful when it comes to describing your skills or work experience too.

  • CAD
  • SaaS
  • Market research
  • Cash flow
  • Event planning
  • Segmentation
  • Video production
  • Consulting
  • Collaborative
  • UX
  • Cyber security
  • Database
  • Devops
  • Acquisition
  • Fundraise
  • Revenue
  • Real-time
  • Analysis
  • Networking
  • Strategy
  • Testing
  • Editorial
  • Talent acquisition
  • Internal audit
  • Case study
  • Leadership
  • Mortgage
  • SEO

ATS Keywords With Rezi

The ATS keyword research process doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s a straightforward process if you’re doing it with Rezi. 

First, get started for free using our resume builders at no cost:

Rezi Homepage

You’ll then be taken inside our app which looks like this:

Rezi dashboard

Then, simply click on “create new resume” and follow the steps from there.

You’ll first be asked to enter your name, job position and level of experience. You’ll then be taken into a dashboard:

Fill out the resume information

Filling in the details for each resume section has never been easier, especially with our A.I. resume writer feature. This gives you suggestions based on what’s worked for other candidates in your job position, so you can rest assured each step of building your resume is maximized for success.

More importantly, notice the last section labelled “finish up” because this is where the magic happens:

resume finish up tab

You have the Rezi score near the top to grade your resume application. Not just that, but you have the option to get feedback from experts by the “ask for Rezi expert review” option.

How about the ATS keywords? 

That’s the magic - where our A.I keyword targeting feature comes in

Simply enter your job title then copy and paste the job description into our resume builder. Here’s an example:

Add job description

Next, press “save job description”. 

Now, you have a whole list of ATS keywords generated so you can easily beat the applicant tracking system:

Save Job description

Can you believe it’s that easy to know all the ATS resume keywords the hiring manager wants to see?

Conclusion

Now, you know how to use ATS keywords for your resume application so you can secure your next job. 

For your resume to optimize ATS keywords in the best way, you just need to show that you have what the employers are looking for. Not only will you beat the applicant tracking system, but you’ll demonstrate a high level of expertise and understanding.

As long as you communicate that effectively, you’ll find yourself on the guest list for an interview.

Building a resume with Rezi is easy and simple. On top of that, you can get started at no cost.

If you haven’t already been actively following this step-by-step process, get started right now for free by clicking below.

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Rezi is an ai resume builder to help you to create a resume that os sure to check the boxes when it comes to applicant tracking systems : Rezi Review by Ashley