CV buzzwords are a tricky thing to master: litter your CV with too many and it looks contrived, don’t use any and your CV might be passed over.
When we talk about buzzwords, we mean two things: one is using positive verbs that showcase various skills and qualities, lending that proactive flavour to your CV.
The other is the words that recruitment consultants and recruiters for large companies will type into CV scanning software to find suitable people for their role.
What CV buzzwords should I use?
The first thing to remember is that CVs aren’t just a statement of fact; they’re also tools to sell yourself. You might spend ages agonising over the wording of your covering letter, but you should also be devoting equal time to the wording of your CV.
It’s all about using a selection of positive verbs to make your CV seem more proactive.
If you use passive statements to describe your duties, it might dissociate you from the task, whereas active statements will show that you were personally instrumental in completing it. By ‘positive verbs’ we mean words that you can use to demonstrate your personal contribution.
For example, you might use words such as ‘negotiated’, ‘supervised’, ‘advised’, ‘achieved’, ‘coordinated’, ‘developed’, ‘demonstrated’, ‘improved’, ‘instigated’, ‘designed’, ‘developed’, ‘established’ or ‘organised’. It’s all about using powerful verbs like these to stamp out the key points in your CV.
Above all, you need to make sure you use the buzzwords that the employer uses in the job description. Your CV is your evidence that you are qualified and suitable for the role, so if they say they are looking for an ‘organised’ and ‘efficient’ person, then you need to make sure you have used those words in your CV.
Optimising your CV…
There’s another reason for using CV buzzwords: if you post your CV online or send it to recruitment agencies, you need to make sure that your CV will appear when recruitment consultants type in certain keywords.
Large companies or recruitment agencies tend to use database searching systems that pick out the CVs which contain certain buzzwords or keywords. Therefore, sometimes it’s necessary to ‘optimise’ your CV to ensure that it comes up in a recruitment consultant’s CV search.
That means making sure you’ve got the keywords in your CV that someone might use to search for their ideal candidate. The keywords you use here should be industry-specific and relevant to the seniority level of the jobs that you are considering.
Some people, when posting their CVs on job boards and CV databases, include a list of buzzwords at the very bottom of their CV, but change the font colour to white, making the list ‘invisible’.
However, make sure you don’t do this when applying for jobs directly; if an eagled-eyed employer comes across it, it might look a bit strange, and it might be off-putting.
If buzzwords tell us anything, it’s that you should think carefully about how you phrase your skills and work experience in your CV. The wording of your CV can really make or break your chances of getting the job you want.
When your CV is ready, and crammed full of useful buzzwords, you should really apply for some jobs via our jobs board.