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Project Manager Resume Keywords You Should Be Using And Why

When you’re submitting a resume electronically it is usually run through a search engine before it even is viewed by human recruiter. These resume search engines are becoming more sophisticated and they pick up when you’ve stuffed every industry keyword under the sun into your resume. Read on to see how to use keywords that work for both machines and humans.

Why Focus On Keywords?

Some recruiters see 200 or more resumes a day for project manager roles. As the market is so competitive, recruiter’s use sophisticated software applications to scan resumes and look for desirable keywords. After resumes are scanned into the system they are searched and ranked. A hiring manager decides which keywords best identify the skills needed in a candidate for a particular position.

What Should I Do?

To create the perfect project managers resume use “Project Management Industry” terms. Recruiters and HR people search for the most obvious or common project management terms when seeking out candidates to forward to a hiring manager.

So how do you figure out what keywords people might be looking for?

Get keyword hints from the job listing itself. If you read the job listing carefully you will be able to get into the mind of employers who are literally spelling out what they want.

Use courses, industry journals, industry websites and training manuals and get to know the project manager “lingo”.

Don’t just stuff them in!

Resume search engines are becoming more sophisticated and therefore will know when you’ve stuffed every industry keyword under the sun into every corner of your resume. Make sure you resume reads naturally and contains industry keywords.

Here’s a sample of a low keyword” sentence:

15 years of successful experience and proven ability to meet objectives, work with clients and develop new business.

Here’s a sample of a ”keyword” rich sentence:

Project Management Professional with 15 years project and program management experience with international building, IT, government and petroleum industry experience.

Where can I put them?

Look for any opportunity to add keywords to other sections of your resume. Include keywords in job responsibilities, skills, training courses, career accomplishments, education, and the qualification section. Use different mixtures of keywords in different sections.

If you make your resume keyword rich you’ll stand a higher chance of getting the “call”.

How to avoid resume pain

As a Project Manager I know how rewarding a career in Project Management can be, I also know how much of a pain it is to keep your resume up to date. Apply for Project Manager jobs faster with my project manager resume template.



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  1. andre May 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    good tips Justin,
    nowadays it is quite hard to get attention of HR because of the huge amounts of cover letters and resumes they are getting every day, I am looking for a job now and I have been doing basic mistake: copy paste + same resume&cover letter sent to everybody! I am going to write individual cover letters and concentrate only on places I really want to work.
    My question is can you as a person with great ability to put words together help me fold my cover letter if you get a chance I would appreciate it very much!

    contact me on my email
    thanks again for a good article

    • Justin October 12, 2011 at 12:42 am #

      Hi Andre,
      Thanks for asking me to help out! unfortunately i’m bogged down in some priority work at the moment and can’t help you out! It’s all trial and error. Have a go at creating something and get your friends and family to read over it! Cheers,

  2. Ben Hastings December 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Because resumes are very often scanned and searched, I use a section at the bottom of my resume labeled “Keywords”. There I randomly list all the jargon that I believe that particular company has an interest in.

    This is how I was contacted for my current position for technical support, because my resume listed “Project Manager”, “Management”…

    I also named one of their products ( “Project Management Kit” ) in the keyword list to show I was familiar with their product line. During the interview they asked me why I mentioned their product on my resume. “I wanted to quickly show I knew a little about what Support Port does and that I am esspecially interested in that product line.”

    Consequently, here I am.

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