The use of CV keywords has become an essential part of CV construction.
Several years ago part of a job search consisted of going to a library, examining reference data, listing suitable companies, recruitment agencies etc. and sending them all hard copy letters and CVs – sometimes this even worked! A well laid-out CV was the exception, a well written cover letter unusual, for a short while a computer generated CV, properly spell-checked etc. was a competitive advantage. No longer! If your CV is less than perfect, if the contents are less than eye catching, if the words are plain vanilla, it is likely to sink to the bottom of a very, very large pile – or simply never appear at all!
Whereas contacting numerous recruitment consultants used to be both labour intensive and expensive (decent paper/envelopes, copies, stamps) it is now just a matter of selection and button pushing. Consequently, these individuals are inundated with CVs, most of which will be entered onto a database which is then searched against specific requirements raised by their clients. These data banks may hold current CVs for, literally, thousands of job seekers.
The recruitment consultant can make no attempt to actually know individual CVs held within the database, there are simply too many. They will, instead, search for specific words relevant to the post in question – these are known as “keywords”. Alternatively they may use automated software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
In today’s Internet- driven world, many company websites have features that allow interested applicants to email their CV’s. These companies take advantage of technology by vetting applicants’ CV’s through an ATS or Applicant Tracking System.
It is of prime importance that as many as possible of these keywords are contained within your CV. Use the job advert to identify which keywords to include – job titles, key skills, key qualifications and so on.