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El Paso Community College
Library Research Guides

Career Resources: Create a Keyword List

How to use the library to find resources on your career.

Finding Keywords

Once you have chosen your topic, write it down on a sheet of paper.

Look at your topic and begin breaking it down into words that describe the topic.  These are known as keywords.

Keywords are the words that you are going to use to search for books, articles, and websites on your topic. 

The background information that you read on the topic can help you think of keywords.

Example: Law Enforcement

  • Keywords you could use include: Law Enforcement.  Then you can get more specific and put Police, Border Patrol, Customs, FBI
  • Add other words to the list that detail what you need to know about this career
    • Career, Salary, Employment, Education, Training, Benefits
  • Look at all of these words and see if you can think of other words that mean the same thing (like a thesaurus) and put them on the list too.  Example:  Career---you could also use the word Occupation or Vocational Guidance.  Add the words occupation and vocational guidance to the list.

This is an example of a keyword list:

  • Law Enforcement
    • Police
    • Border Patrol
    • Customs
    • FBI
  • Career
    • Occupation
    • Vocational Guidance
  • Salary
    • Wages
  • Employment
  • Education
    • Study and Teaching
  • Training
    • Academy
  • Benefits

If you need help finding keywords to use, ask a librarian for help. 


In some cases, you may need to try singular and plural versions of the same word for example: Nurse, Nurses, Nursing.

You can search for all of these at the same time by putting the root part of the word and an *.

Example: Nurs* will search for all words that begin with those four letters: Nurse, Nurses, Nursing.

Try: Nurs* and Vocational Guidance



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