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10 Great Executive Resume Keywords and How to Use Them

There are a lot of ways to enhance an executive resume, one of them being to add appropriate keywords throughout the document.  Keywords work wonders in improving any resume because they add depth while addressing key points that hiring managers in the field are looking for.

There are a number of great keywords that could make a difference in an executive resume.  The key is choosing the right ones for your circumstances, then utilizing them appropriately to have your resume make the greatest impact when applying for a new position.

Why Keywords Make a Difference

Although you’ve probably read over and over again that keywords have an incredibly positive impact on resumes at every professional level, you may be wondering exactly why keywords make a difference.  In short, a single keyword, if used correctly, can communicate multiple skills and qualifications.

For instance, if you use the keyword sales when applying for a job, an employer will assume you have experience, not just in business development but also sales closing, negotiations, and customer relations.

It’s also good to keep in mind that keywords function as the backbone of resume-scanning technology.  This technology scans your resume to determine if certain keywords are present.  If they’re not, you may be declined for a job because the technology assumes you’re not truly qualified.

10 Great Keywords and How to Incorporate Them

Enhancing your executive resume with specific keywords can be a tricky proposition, mainly because you don’t want to just choose popular keywords that don’t relate to the position for which you are applying.  You have to pay attention to keywords found in the job posting—as well as those that relate to the company—to decide which to add.

However, there are some keywords that work well at the executive level and often span multiple fields.  Although the following are not guaranteed to suit your resume, they could be considered good choices: 1) P&L responsibility, 2) new business development, 3) corporate administration, 4) organizational leadership, 5) crisis management, 6) multi-site operations, 7) consensus building and teaming, 8) joint ventures and alliances, 9) best practices and benchmarking, and 10) performance optimization.

Once you’ve chosen which keywords should be added to your executive resume, it’s good to incorporate several into your career summary at the beginning of the document since the scanning software will be immediately searching for these words.  Also, it’s good to add them to your job target/headline—and even consider creating a separate section titled Executive Qualifications (or similar) that allows you to group several together when listing your skills.

Both the resume-scanning technology and human eyes of a prospective employer want to see relevant keywords added to your executive resume.  The more you incorporate (without spamming, of course), the more detailed your resume will feel to recruiters and employers searching for their next great candidate.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Mary Drohan on January 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Good article – it would make sense to add these keywords to your LinkedIn profile as well.

  2. […] knowledge and skill set and how it relates to the specific job you are applying to. Below are ten that I suggest starting with as you write your resume. Of course, not all will be relevant to you or to your […]

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