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How Important Are Keywords In Your Job Search?

Case Manager Job Description -

Keywords are the skills, abilities, credentials, and qualities that a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. They indicate to the hiring manager that you are qualified for the position.

Keywords play a significant role in your job search and your marketing documents including your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. They are used by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and recruiters to identify appropriate candidates for specific positions.

Where do you find keywords? They can be found in the specific job posting, in job descriptions, on the company website, and on the company LinkedIn page. Categories of keywords include industry, location, job title, industry-specific skills, certifications, tools, technology, company names, and job type.

Include keywords in the sentence structure of your marketing documents. Typically, hard skill keywords are used to search candidate applications and online profiles. If having a particular skill or credential is essential to the position, the hiring manager will start with those keywords to identify possible candidates. Soft skill keywords generally are considered secondary and are more important when it comes to determining the fit between yourself and the organizational culture.

I incorporate soft skill keywords more so in the cover letter and career profile section of the résumé, as well as in the LinkedIn summary. Soft skill keywords describe your qualities and your working style. The 10 main categories of soft skill keywords are attention to detail, communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, creativity, work ethic, interpersonal skills, time management, and leadership.

One of the tools that I use to help me visualize the keywords from the various sources is word clouds. There are a number of free software word cloud applications available online. One I use is All you have to do is copy and paste the job description into the text box and click visualize. The words are displayed by size according to how often they are repeated in the job description. The largest words are the ones repeated most often in the text. It provides a quick visual check as to what words are important to the employer.

If you are more creative and want to play around with various shapes, font styles, colours and other criteria you can check out This is the software I used to prepare the word cloud for a Case Manager role displayed above.

If you require any assistance in incorporating keywords into your marketing documents and LinkedIn profile, contact for help with harnessing the power of keywords!

Originally Posted April 2019

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