The Key Word CV

When to use it and how to adapt your current CV.

The Key Word CV is used when you upload a copy of your CV to a website, most often part of a Job Board. You can also use this style of CV if a recruiter asks you to send him a CV by email which will be loaded into his database.

In either event, you can be sure that the chances of a human being looking at the CV are fairly minimal.  Once the CV is absorbed by the database, the software runs a search on the file looking for key words. If the required number of “hits” are achieved, that is, if your CV contains words which match with the organisation’s requirements, it will be flagged up as a potential match to a job vacancy.   

If not, the file remains in the database waiting for the next set of keywords being matched.

You’ll see that the CV we carefully designed emphasised skills and relies on good strong actions words which are verbs.  The words used in searching the database are normally nouns.  Think of the way you look for websites using Google or other search engines, you type in nouns to the search box, don’t you?

If your CV doesn’t contain the nouns being looked for, or a sufficient number of them, it won’t be flagged as a match.

So how do we adapt our CV?

If we know the CV won’t be looked at until it is chosen by the software, we need to make sure there is a plentiful supply of nouns for the search engine to work on. We could go through each of our bullet point statements and add alternative nouns to those already there. This would spoil the look of the CV, are we worried about that?

Perhaps, perhaps not. If we want to retain the brilliance of design of our CV then this is not the way to go.

There is another way and that is to add a heading:-
to the CV.  Some people like to put this early on in the document, however probably the best way is to start a new page at the end of the CV with that heading and, under it, make a list of all the nouns relating to the particular Job Title you are targeting.  If you want this list to be alphabetical, most word processors will have a command to do this for you. There is no real need to unless you want to show that you can.

By doing this, you do not destroy the look of the CV, the final page would probably be ignored by the reader as they will already have got all the information they need from the earlier pages.

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