Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CVS / JAN. 24, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

buzz words

If you have been job seeking in the past few years then you have no doubt been guilty of firing off vast numbers of C.Vs that are almost identical (if not exactly the same!) to lots of different recruiters in a desperate attempt to secure a job interview. We know how hard the current market has made it for people to land a job, any job, and it can be a frustrating time to most. To make matters worse, without proper guidance, you could waste hours, even days of your life blasting out CVs that will never get you noticed.  

Most of our CVs include a number of buzz words in them which we think are likely to get us an interview and perhaps even a job. However, nearly everyone is using the same buzz words in their CVs and LinkedIn profiles so the potential to get noticed by your favourite employer gets smaller and smaller. The more common the key word, the harder it is to stand out. The key is to replace these buzz words with words that can be linked to specific accomplishments that you can back up on your CV or LinkedIn profile. Common buzz words include:

  • Strong
  • Exceptional
  • Good
  • Excellent
  • Outstanding
  • Effective
  • Driven
  • Motivated
  • Seasoned
  • Innovative
  • Team player
  • Goal Orientated
  • Self-starter
  • People-person
  • Strategic thinker

The problem here is that these buzz words praise you rather than talking about your achievements. While you may think that it is wise to list your experience, and it certainly is; it is more important to talk about what you have accomplished in the role. It is better to show the recruiter what you are capable of rather than provide characteristics you posses.

The following list includes some of the most useful ‘alternative’ keywords that you can use in your CV, which will not only get you noticed, but which will help you to include relevant examples of your accomplishments to date.

  • Reduced
  • Improved
  • Developed
  • Researched
  • Created
  • Increased
  • Accomplished
  • Won
  • Under budget

What you ideally want is to use these words so that they show what you accomplished while you were in a job role. For example, 'While I was head of sales for Acme Ltd I increased the number of buyers by 300%. I also reduced the overhead cost by 30%'.

Of course, these are not the only keywords to use as companies are also looking for job or industry specific keywords which will help your CV stand out a lot. Using the correct keywords for the specific job title that you are applying for is vital for it to be picked up by keyword scanning technology. The best place to start looking for what keywords to use is in the job specification.

Here is a list of the types of job specific keywords you should identify in a job ad…

  • Job Titles
  • Technical Terms
  • Software/Hardware Packages (i.e. Photoshop)
  • Job-specific Buzzwords (terms that are related to your industry of expertise)
  • Degrees or Certifications
  • University or College Names
  • Company Names (identify the company name and research its operations)
  • Service Types (is the employer selling products or services, are they online or offline?)
  • Product Names (identify any products mentioned and research it heavily)
  • Professional Organizations (i.e. ACA, CIMA)

If you follow these simple tips on how to make your CV or LinkedIn profile stand out from the rest then you should be one step closer to getting a job. You will realise that it is not about firing off one hundred CVs a day. Send only a few but tailor them to each specific job and you will get more replies.

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