How to effectively use keywords in your CV
Using the right keywords is essential if you want to ensure your CV stands out from the rest of the competition. You should never make it hard for the reader to see that you are the right person for the job, and instead use the correct jargon and keywords to illustrate your direction and how it is aligned with the prospective employer.
How do I find the right keywords?
Most of what you’ll ever need when searching for keywords and phrases is contained within the job advert. This is the first and most likely only place you’ll need to look in order to make your CV standout.
Often you’ll find not only a brief description of what the company is looking for, but you’ll also sometimes see an actual list of tasks and responsibilities. Bring up a word document alongside the advert and start to drag across all the important keywords as you read it.
Here are some example keywords and phrases from a job advert for a Bookkeeper. We’ve highlighted the words to focus on –
- Experience gained within Professional Practice Accountancy
- Maintaining purchase ledger for clients
- Trial balance for a range of clients
- Relevant qualifications may be an advantage
The above is just a few of the many keywords and phrases extracted from an advert, and you can clearly see how important this information now is to your CV if you were to be applying for this particular role.
It’s easy to assume that your already written CV contains this information and proves to the employer you are the right person for the job, however you are going to be making it too hard for them to pick out this information if you don’t highlight it and focus on what’s relevant to them, rather than what you think is important and relevant.
Always tailor your CV to the job advert
A generic CV is not going to make you stand out from the many hundreds of other applications you’ll be pitted against when applying for a job. Your CV should always be custom written to each and every role, no matter how similar they are. This always ensures you are keeping your CV fresh and up to date, but more importantly – relevant.