Editor’s Note: Updated February, 21 2014

I previously wrote about the death of the verb and the rise of the Noun, so I won’t explain that here. But if you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do so.

I’m often asked, “Well, if I need nouns, how do I know what nouns to use?” Here is a simple list of some great places to begin growing your Keyword list.

Use Your Brain

I’m not being cheeky by saying that. I think we often overlook our own common sense because the online tools are so convenient.

Sit down with a blank paper and come up with as many industry specific nouns as you can. Don’t judge what happens, now is the time to get as big a list as possible. Later, we’ll hone it down.

Use Related Job Descriptions

I always tell people that Job Boards are good for at least one thing…finding job descriptions to mine for keywords. Companies will often (not always) include the keywords they look for when screen resumes in the descriptions.

Visit three of your favorite job boards, like SimplyHired, Indeed or Monster. The location doesn’t matter, so just enter the job title you are aiming for. Copy three different job descriptions from three different job boards and copy them all into a word cloud generator (see next section).

Get Official About it!

The US Government publishes official job descriptions on a website called O*Net: onetonline.org. Here, you’ll find many different ways organizations have described what you do. Enter your job description at the top. Then drill in to the different jobs and related industries. Start collecting the variations on how people describe what you do.

Again, grab this copy and paste it into the word cloud generator.

WordCloudy with a Chance of Jobs

Word clouds show you visually which words in a body of text are used more frequently. This is handy when you want to quickly assess the most commonly used words in a body of text, for example a job posting. So now, paste those  job descriptions here: tagcrowd.com. Add some of these words to your list of keywords.

Make You Top 10

Now that you have a long list of words, and you probably have a sense of how popular those words, it’s time to cross off the ones that wont work and keep the ones that will. I like to have a top 10 list.

10 is an easy number to manage and to keep in mind while writing your profiles.

Good luck and please let me know how your keyword research is going in the comments below!