Carefully choose the language to use to make your CV stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of the employer or recruiter and get you first on that shortlist of candidates to interview. In an increasingly competitive job seeker market, your CV needs to be easily found by potential employers on page 1 rather than page 10. Your CV needs to have impact and the following tips will help you achieve this.
Use powerful opening action verbs to describe each achievement or bullet for each of your roles and follow up with impressive results or outcomes to demonstrate what you delivered. For example, starting each bullet with:
Instigated Established Enhanced Increased
Transformed Rejuvenated Developed Motivated
Achieved Delivered Initiated Grew
Overhauled Introduced Inspired Awarded
And then capture/quantify the output, for example:
Transformed an ailing $5m project through overhauling project planning and resources, including all stakeholder engagement, which ensured an on time and within budget delivery
Overhauled finance processes and introduced new standard operating procedures which eradicated the risk of duplication and reduced errors and month-end reporting by 2 days
Established profitable new market including building and leading a high performing team of sales professionals which delivered 10% new revenue stream for Europe.
These are so much more powerful and specific to you and the value you added in your career than simply describing your job description and responsibilities rather than deliverables.
Use keywords that are ‘searchable’ ie used by recruiters to find your CV if you are registered on a job board database or if it is stored on a company applicant tracking system. For example, a marketing candidate might mention SEO (search engine optimization), direct marketing, digital marketing within their experience. Such buzz words may include:
- specific systems (such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Remedy)
- specialist/professional training or qualifications (such as MBA, PMP, ITIL, Six Sigma, CCNA, ACCA)
- languages and specialist technical skills to your profession (such as TCP/IP, industrial relations, accruals)
- sectors or markets you have worked in to demonstrate range or coverage (such as B2B, B2C, manufacturing, technology, financial services, multilingual, EMEA, national, regional)
- affiliations/memberships (such as Chartered Institute of Marketing, Member CIPD)
- awards (company awards, distinctions in academic qualifications)
- publications (published work or articles both on or offline to demonstrate your specialist knowledge or thought leadership)
If you are not sure which language to use to be relevant to your sector, have a search online and see what words are commonly mentioned when you input your job title and appear on relevant job descriptions or adverts and make sure to include these in your CV.
- Buzz words or statements that minimise your impact and take up valuable space on a CV like ‘I can work on my own and as part of a team’. Great if you can but use the earlier tips to demonstrate this through achievements and outputs that are specific to you rather than generic to many.
- Acronyms or language specific to your company internal ‘language’. Unless you are using your CV to apply for an internal vacancy, these buzzwords will be meaningless.
- Lengthy profiles full of superlatives. Your profile needs to be your powerful opener which grabs the reader’s attention and inspires them to read on.
Using these tips as a guide on what to do and what not to do on your CV will help your profile be much more impactful, specific, unique and relevant. Good luck!!