If you do some research, you will find that there is already a lot of information on the internet about using key words on your CV; however, you will find that these articles are mainly talking about using so-called ‘power words’, or ‘action words’ that help to paint a picture about your experience and skills.
This article is different, because it takes a completely different approach to the use of key words, as it ensures that your CV and LI profile are using the key words that employers and recruiters are specifically looking for. This takes ‘power words’ to a new dimension!
There are a few reasons why using specific key words on a CV or LinkedIn profile are important:
– You can highlight the key words so they stand out (using bold, italics, even colour)
– You will ensure that the employer knows the main reasons why they should hire you
– You will become ‘searchable’ on employer and recruitment databases
– You will be ‘found’ on LI and other job search websites
By highlighting keywords on your CV or LI profile, using tools such as bold, italics, colour etc.; you will ensure that the words you most want an employer to read will ‘leap’ off the page and not be missed.
An employer or recruiter usually scans through a CV or LI profile, looking for specific information. The information they are looking for is in fact the list key words that you are about to learn how to formulate.
How do I know this? Because I have worked in recruitment for many years, and when there is a job that needs to be filled, there is a list of specific skills, qualifications and attributes that an employer is seeking in their potential employee. If you match the list, you are bound to be shortlisted!
Main Reasons to Hire YOU
As mentioned above, the employer or recruiter has a checklist when looking for the ideal candidate, and you want to make sure that your CV or LI profile includes as many items on their list as you can.
Once you have highlighted these key words, you ensure that they won’t be missed, and you are therefore highlighting all the reasons why the employer or recruiter should at least interview you – because your list matches theirs!
You Become Searchable
Recruitment agencies and employers with recruitment systems usually start their search for suitable candidates to interview for their vacancies by first checking the database of CVs they already have on file.
These days CVs are kept electronically, which makes searching CVs for the right candidate much more effective for recruiters and employers…so long as the candidates have listed the right key words on their CV!
You remember the list of skills etc. that a recruiter has when they are looking to fill a role? Did you know that they use this list to search their database of CVs to find suitable candidates? This is just another reason why it is crucial to have the right keywords on your CV.
You Will be Found
By ensuring you have all the right key words on your LI profile, you also ensure that you will be found.
Recruiters and employers, as you know, use LI to find suitable candidates, not just the other way around. To do this, they have access to a search tool that enables them to seek out candidates who match their ‘list’. Therefore, if you have listed the right key words on your LI profile, your profile will come in searches around these key words. You will be found!
What Key Words to Use?
So, how do you know what key words you should be using?
There is actually a ‘cheat’ way of finding out, and it’s really quite simple. Below you will find the steps to finding the most effective key words to use on your CV/LI profile.
How to find the most suitable key words for you:
1 First, you should decide what your ideal job is – your dream job, the job title that you would most like to have
2 Second, you need to research job search websites to find jobs that are in this field, and save as many jobs as you can find that really interest you
3 Third, go through each job advert and take note of the types of skills and experience job is seeking, and write these down
4 Fourth, if there are any skills or experience on the list that you don’t have or cannot easily obtain, scratch them off the list. If you can easily obtain them, and they have been listed in many of the jobs that you have saved, you can take steps to obtain them so you can keep them on your list.
You now have a list of key words to add to your CV and your LI profile!
A well-rounded List
Your list should contain things like:
– Specialised software or IT skills for your profession
– Personality traits, such as positive attitude, hard-working, team-player or works well without supervision etc.
– Interpersonal skills, such as leadership skills, communication skills etc.
– Job-specific skills, such as ability to reach targets, project management, attention to detail etc.
– Qualifications, such as degree, diploma, certificate etc.
Where to Add the Key Words
Your keywords should be interspersed throughout your CV and LI profile; but I will approach these separately, since they are two different mediums of self-marketing.
Your CV should include at minimum an introduction, key skills, listing of qualifications/key training and employment history. I set out below how your key words should be placed in each of these sections.
Your introduction should highlight the main things that you want employers to know about you, even if they are vague. For example, you can state that you are ‘qualified’, without going into detail about what qualifications you have. You can say that you have ‘x’ amount of experience, without going into specifics about your experience.
Every CV that is effective has a list of ‘Key Skills’ that highlight all the things about you that match what the job or employer is looking for. Here you will place the majority of the items on your list, and you can even include your qualifications if they are absolutely necessary for the job you are applying for.
This is where you list out your qualifications and training, and in particular, those that are required for the jobs you are applying for. If you have qualifications and or training in an irrelevant field, you should list these separately.
Your employment history is where you demonstrate the key skills you have listed, by explaining how you use these skills in your workplace. For example, if you have listed that you have good leadership skills, it is in your employment history that you will explain how many people you manage as well as achievements that have been gained from your leadership skills; such as successful completion of projects to schedule.
Key Words for Your LI Profile
Your LI Profile is usually set out with Background/Summary, Experience, Skills & Endorsements and Education. I set out below how your key words should be placed in each of these sections.
This is quite a crucial section of your LinkedIn profile as it should give an employer or recruiter a clear picture of what your skills and experience are, and what you can offer them as an employee.
This is where you should highlight all of your key skills, including qualifications, as well as job-related, interpersonal skills and personality traits. If your IT skills are important to the job you are looking for, then you should also list these key words in this section.
This is where, like on your CV, you give more detail into your skills and experience, and you demonstrate your key skills listed in your Background/Summary. See the above section on Key Words for Your CV for more details.
Skills & Endorsements
LI have made it quite easy for you to ensure that your key skills are highlighted, and this is through their Skills & Endorsements tool. You simply need to select all of the skills that apply. It is important that you only list those that you do have experience with.
I wish you all the best in your job search, and may you find the job of your dreams!