There is a lot of talk in Professional CV Writing of CV Buzz Words, also known as Keywords. The need for these came about originally with job applicants recognising that equipped with an interview buzz words list, they could potentially get a job just by sounding right for the job.
As a Professional recruiter, CV Writer and trained job interviewer, as I have said many times before, the hardest thing for an employer or recruiter to explain to a job seeker is what it is like on the far side of the job interview desk. But, do buzz words work? In the right context, if you have the basic skills and understanding for that job, then yes they do. But if you are a weak job applicant, and don’t have the basic skills for that job, then no. Either you will sound like the Duracell Bunny, and/or a good interviewer will find you out.
But if you have the skills to do the job, the right buzz words will help you. What are they, how do you find out what they are, and how do you use them?
Buzz words for CVs
In background, buzz words also known as keywords are according to dictionaries:
- An important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen
- A voguish word or phrase -called also buzz phrase
Hence, used in the first context, they are useless. You need to have the basic skills to make them work in the second context.
Buzz words for job applications
But the problem for job seekers and job applicants now, is that we have job applicant tracking systems, and they actively search for CV Buzz Words! Its why most technical job CV’s have keywords sections, specifically to allow their scanning systems to easily see and find them.
However, there is no point in keyword stuffing your CV or job application. A good Professional CV has to read right for both human beings and computers. Generally, that means that the biggest companies will use ATS systems, but for smaller companies keyword stuffing makes little sence.
How to you find keywords?
So, you are applying for a technical job, and you want to add some buzz words: how do you find out which to use? You have three main sources:
- The job advert itself: the actual job adverts will mention the key skills, qualifications and experiences that the job holder will require
- The local magazine display: specialist sector magazines are highly researched pieces of media, and better than books are the guide to the latest what’s new/great and hence in vogue in that market. A quick stroll to your local newspaper shop should provide a great guide on what’s in, trendy and hence a buzz word
- The internet: tap in the keywords for that job or market, and see what your favourite search engines provides
I prefer this method of researching trends over any of the published lists. These are words and phrases which are in vogue now. Hence much like fashion, words and phrases come into as well as out of style.
Buzz words for CV
Once you have your keywords, how do you use them? Remember, that who ever or what ever reads your Professional CV, its wording has to work being read by both human beings and computers.
The best way hence to insert buzz words into your Professional CV is to add them within the text. This means that they look natural and in context, and not placed. The downside of this method is that they may not be that easily found by a computer. You hence have two options, should you conclude that a computer (ATS) will be scanning your CV or job application:
- Highlight or bold the keywords and skills: I have never seen this done well, and it makes you look like you are shouting these words out. Remember, its your SQE that will get you employed, the buzz words just add to that
- Add a keywords section: place all the SQE words in a keywords section, just below your personal statement. This can look a little bit robotic, but its clear and makes a human-level reader difference as well
Buzz words for interview
Do buzz words work in an interview? Unless you place them in context and understand both what they do and what beneficial affect that they have within business, then no!
Plus, what buzz words that were in trend two weeks ago, may not be now. Further, they may not be the buzz words within that employer.
CV buzz words are not an essential thing to learn or understand when you are writing a Professional CV or applying for a job. But of you have the right skills for that job, and know or can find out what the keywords are, then they can confirm you as a candidate worth interviewing.