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how to make your CV standout with Keywords

How to Make Your CV Stand out Using Keywords

Making your CV stand out is not as difficult as everyone says it is. But with the onset of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and algorithms, recruiters no longer spend aeons poring over applications and thousands of cover letters.

The ball game has changed and in order for your application to stand out, you need more than a CV. It takes a few seconds for the recruiter to glance through your CV, so it must be optimized to position you as the golden candidate for that job.

What are Keywords?

Generally, a keyword is a concept or word of great significance. Relating this to your CV, a keyword would be a phrase or a description that lets you know what experience, skillset and proficiency a recruiter is looking out for in an applicant.

We’ll give some examples: Job ad for the post of a creative content writer reads:

“ We’re on the lookout for a creative content writer, well-versed in writing long pieces of fiction, and familiar with using FocusWriter and BookEditor. We will be on the lookout for a writer with an ability to create strong imagery and write pieces that we consider, “unable to put down”… and so on and so forth.”

Within this ad, there are certain words the recruiter uses to describe their ideal candidate. These will be the keywords that should litter your cover letter and CV. If you use every other description and skill set that a creative content writer should possess and don’t include the highlighted words above, then the recruiter will move on to someone else who met that requirement.

In case this is not yet clear enough, important CV keywords come from the job ad itself.

Remember when we talked about writing a cover letter? We mentioned that it was important for you to meet the exact requirements that the job ad asks you to have and if you cannot, move on. This is because you cannot continue offering the recruiter something they don’t want and keep trying your luck to see if you get the job. If you were a recruiter you would be focused on getting the exact match for what you want, wouldn’t you?

Identify What’s Important to the Employer

One CV Keyword you must use is The Right Company Name and the right job title that is mentioned in the title. You can run your CV Applications through software such as Jobscan to enable you to have a better idea of how keyword-ready your CV and cover letter are for your job.

A second keyword you should include in your CV is your educational qualification, especially the ones which are listed in the job ad.

Identify What’s Important to your Industry

Industry keywords are those buzzwords and phrases that are important within your industry or your niche. These are specific words that relate to the skills and experiences that workers are supposed to have in a particular industry or profession. Usually, an employer will include some of them in the job ad. This helps them find the job candidates they want to interview. But they do not always use everything.

Looking through search engines for keywords particular to your industry helps you to articulate your skills and competencies. For example, not everyone who is an administrator knows that conflict resolution, compliance and database management are keywords. More times than not, their jobs will have brought them into situations where they needed to resolve conflict, but they are not likely to include that in their CV. This is where searching out keywords for your specific industry helps.

Having looked at the kinds of keywords that can be used in making your CV stand out, here are some general tips that will help you to include keywords in a manner that will produce optimum results:

Finding Keywords

To find Keywords;

  • Look at the job ad and note the Keywords used.
  • Search online for industry Keywords that are important to the particular role advertised.
Keyword Usage
  • Use a wide variety of keywords that describes your competencies, experiences and eductional qualifications. This way you are increasing your chances at standing out among applicants. Also, if a scanner is employed to pick out resumes from a myriad of applications, yours has higher chance.
  • Including location-based Keywords like your city and state. These can be in sections that contain your biodata. It ensures that companies looking to hire within a certain location can find you. Keywords on your hardskills like technical training, experience and skills are bery important.
  • Ensure that your entire resume- from introduction, to your educational and professional background, to your skills and competencies-contain important keywords.

In all, ensure that you make adequate use of keywords when writing your resume in making your CV stand out. Don’t forget to download your copy of tips for writing an effective CV.

If you need a professional pair of eyes to look through your CV, just ask us. We’re here all week.

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