Buzzwords vs. Keywords: Here’s the Difference
March 30, 2021
buzzwords vs. keywords

First things first, we have to define what each of these terms means before we can understand what the difference is.

Meriam-Webster defines a buzzword as “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen.”

Basically, buzzwords are simple words or phrases that sound fancy and important but do not actually hold as much value as they should. Clearly, buzzwords don’t exactly have the best connotations associated with them. Keywords, on the other hand, can be increasingly beneficial.

Meriam-Webster also defines keywords as “a significant word from a title or document used especially as an index to content.”

Can you already see the difference? Keywords can make have a huge impact on whether or not your resume lands you job interviews. Let me explain.

Why it’s important to know the difference

Now that we understand the key differences, you may start to see why buzzwords should be avoided. Generally, hiring managers seem to view buzzwords as “fluff.” In other words, they’re overused and not impressive. In fact, buzzwords are actually more likely to waste space on your resume, which is generally only one-page to begin with.

On the other side of the coin, keywords can actually increase your chances of hearing back from hiring managers. When looking at a job listing, keywords will start to jump out at you as being some of the most important parts of the job listing. When you tailor your resume to each job listing based on those keywords, you may find more success in your job search.

buzzwords vs. keywords

How to identify keywords

In order to know exactly what words or phrases to incorporate into your resume as keywords, you need to know how to properly identify them. Let’s provide an example.

If the job listing includes a bullet point such as the one below:

  • Lead creative teams in producing innovative, effective content; providing training, applying project management strategies, and encouraging collaboration and ownership of work when necessary

From this one bullet point, what keywords did you identify? You should’ve picked out words and phrases, including “lead creative teams” and “project management strategies.” While these are not the only possible keywords in this bullet point, these would certainly be phrases you want to include in your resume because these are skills and responsibilities that this job requires.

If you’re struggling to identify these keywords or worried you may miss some, try uploading the job listing to a word cloud. Word clouds read a document and take the most common words and place them into a graphic. They can be helpful in this sense as the most common words will appear the largest in the graphic, making it easy to identify what words need to be on your resume. Check out this resource to create your own.

Using keywords in your resume is important, and it can be sometimes a bit difficult to identify exactly which words to use or to catch yourself from using buzzwords. Luckily, BrandResumes is here to help. Contact our team for a free 15-minute consultation on how we can help provide you with a resume that’s sure to land you interviews. Good luck!


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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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