Keyword (Key Phrase)


The term keyword refers to a word or term that is highly-relevant to a specific job opening.  The ability to accurately identify keywords appearing on a job posting is critical to the success of a job hunter.


Also known as key phrases, keywords are specific words or phrases that describe an important feature of a job opening.  The choice, or use, of keywords plays a vital role in the identification of a prospective job as well as the interview selection process.

Job posting websites typically allow users to search their database using criteria such as geography and job function.  To further refine this search, the user can also provide key words or phrases that may appear on the posting.  For example, the user may be able to search for an accountant job (function) located in New York (geography).  To further refine their query, the user may decide to enter "CPA" so that only a list of jobs requiring this certification appears in the search results.

Human resources personnel and recruiters use keywords in the screening process to identify prospective interview candidates.  Electronic copies of job applications and resumes can be quickly scanned for key phrases or words, narrowing down the applicant pool to qualified individuals.  Successfully finding a job relies on being able to both identify keywords as well as incorporating them into documents viewed by employers such as cover letters, job applications and resumes.


This website has an entire article dedicated to identifying keywords, which includes a number of examples that demonstrate how to discover these terms on job postings.

Related Terms

job interview, job hunter, job club, resume posting, job search agent