Do you have the right keywords in your CV?

Your CV has only a few seconds to impress – not only recruiters, but also sorting software! Many companies now use these tools to make a first selection from the “stack” of resumes received via the Internet.

The use of the right keywords is crucial: it must be adequate, precise and strategic. In order to understand, you have to put yourself in the “skin” of a robot, and in that of a recruiter. It is the latter who determines what the software will look for and how it will be written. Here are some tips that should help you seduce them.

The CV must match the job advertisement.

  • Read the title and description of the position to be filled and identify the key words: usually, the most important responsibilities are listed first.
  • The required skills should appear in your CV, under the same heading: if the offer requires Word skills, write that you are proficient in Word, do not rely on the search software to deduce it from your years of experience in office automation.
  • Use the current vocabulary of your field or sector of employment, and don’t hesitate to use other job offers or publications, forums, etc., to get the right terms and those used today.
  • Be sure to write keywords in the same way as in the description, avoid acronyms (an MBA does not contain the word “administration” for a robot), unless the sector commands it, and use synonyms, for example: project management, project direction, project realization.
  • Appropriate synonyms are essential for unsolicited applications. Consult offers in your field or sector and identify any combinations that describe your experience and skills.
  • The better the “lexical” match between the CV and the offer, the more likely your CV will be selected.
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Verbs and action words
Recruiters are looking for suitable candidates to perform tasks and duties. If they use a robot first, you must appear alive and active.

  • Look for the verbs in the offer and make sure they are in your CV: recruiters want to know if you are able to manage, plan, organize, evaluate, develop and not “do development” and so on.
  • Some offers seem to be written to facilitate the work of the recruiter and the selection software, take advantage of it.
  • Think and write in competency terms: answer the question “I am capable of…” and add what corresponds to the suspension points. For example, replace “functional English” with “converse, read and write in English”.
  • Avoid the classic words leadership, dynamism, teamwork and many others. Instead, use the words motivator, rallying, mobilizing and their variations in verb form if they are important skills for the offer.

The right keywords in the right places
The most important keywords should be placed in strategic locations. The software, and subsequently the recruiter, will interpret the position of the words in your CV.

  • Words used in the job title should ideally be in a good position in your CV (your professional title, for example), while less important words can be found in the text (job description, training).
  • Indicate at the beginning of your CV your field or sector of activity: you are an experienced programmer, but nowhere does the word “computer science” appear. Moreover, it is often the first keyword entered by a recruiter, which can define its importance in the selection process.
  • Add a “Skills” section to your CV. This can contain important keywords related to an offer, which you can easily adapt to another offer (yes, you have to adapt your CV to each job offer!).
  • Describe yourself in a few words and in a strategic and complete manner… recruiters may well keep your CV in their banks of candidates.
  • Specify your headings to include key words: for example, your teacher will benefit from writing “Teaching Experience” rather than “Professional Experience”.
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This work requires time, reflection and precision. It’s not just a matter of matching your resume to the ad of the day… it’s about getting an interview and hoping to be the “employee of the month”!

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