How can I use keywords effectively in my CV?
Identifying and using keywords in your CV is an important strategy to apply, and one which should be taken very seriously if you want to gain an interview. One of the most common mistakes a job seeker makes when writing their CV is to fail to recognise these important keywords. The frustrating part is that these keywords are easy to find, as most of them are on the job advert.
Tip – Each and every employer has their own needs and requirements. No matter how similar the roles are there will always be differences, and this will reflect in the job description and company jargon used.
But why are keywords so important and how do I spot them?
Use the job advert
The best place to start when it comes to finding keywords to use in your CV is the job advert. Almost all of the keywords you’ll need will be contained here, so this is a great place to begin.
Use your laptop or pen and paper to make a note of all the important keywords. This can be anything from the word ‘dynamic’ to a specific skill like, ‘Must be proficient in Microsoft Office’.
A unique word that the employer has used to describe something can be classed as a keyword. However, try to stay clear from using too many generic words like ‘dynamic’ or ‘fantastic communicator’ without actually providing the evidence that this is true.
Too many cliché statements like this can devalue your credentials, and the employer will find it hard to believe what you say is true without the appropriate evidence. Your skill section, achievements and overall performance indicators (stats, revenue, and profit) will help to do this.
Use industry jargon
Technical or industry jargon is a great way to show the employer you have the knowledge they require. If however you lack the experience and knowledge in this particular industry, you can still apply the right keywords to compensate for this.
Should you sit back and settle for what you know now?
If you are unfamiliar with a particular industry, it doesn’t mean to say you can’t put the effort in and do some research. If you can clearly see that your CV is lacking the right industry terms, then go online and find out more. There will be lots of information to be found from the company’s website, social media pages, and anything else you come across. This research will also benefit you if you make it to the interview stage.
Overall you want to try and customise your CV to the role and the company. Help the employer to see that you understand the industry and what will be required of you in the role.
If you conduct a good amount of research then you may be able to create the right keywords and phrases yourself, rather than only using the keywords from the job advert. You can customise every single sentence you write with the employer in mind.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive, having been admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.