Resume Keywords

Why you should be using strong action verbs on your cv or resume

Using positive resume keywords is one of the most important factors in making sure that your cv or resume has impact. But when working on cv or resume writing, many job seekers do not take advantage of the benefits of carefully choosing their words.

When jobs are advertised, the recruiter will often receive way more applications than they can look at closely, so the first sift through will be done quickly, making an assessment based on the initial impact of the application.

This is where using positive keywords can make all the difference.

For career changers, one of the main tips on writing a resume must be to use positive action verbs. This is because you may well be trying to focus the reader’s attention on your transferable skills to demonstrate your ability to move to a new career area.

CV power words like established, succeeded, presented, initiated all add weight and impact to your application.




Why are these keywords so important?



Firstly...

they just make the cv sound so much more positive and active and generate a stronger impression of you, the applicant. Remember that most resumes have about 30 seconds spent on the first reading, so you do not have long to grab the reader's attention.

The purpose of your resume is to draw the recruiter in and make them want to read your application carefully – and then like you enough to shortlist you for interview.

Using positive words means that your resume has an upbeat, dynamic feel to it which will be much more effective than a simple description of what you have done.

Try to avoid woolly generalisations like 'I worked in...', or 'I was responsible for...'

For example, look at the following:

Weak - I worked in the customer services team.

Better – Handled over 100 enquiries per day efficiently and politely maintaining customer goodwill when resolving complaints.

Weak - I was responsible for monthly statistical returns.

Better - Collated data from seven departments and produced succinct statistical summaries for the management team on a monthly basis.

Notice that in the improved versions, the writing becomes more 'telegram style', which means sentences do not all begin with 'I'. The positive action verb comes at the beginning of each sentence and so has much more impact.

It also shows a future employer that you have a good command of the English language if you can bring a bit of variety into the language you use on your resume.

Secondly...

you will find that resume keywords are used by recruiters who are scanning CVs and resumes submitted by email or via company websites.

This means that the first assessment of your CV is not even a pair of human eyes – it is done by a computer. The system will be set up to look for keywords which they have defined as important, so you need to use words that will please the computer.

How do you do know which words to use?

First of all, read the job description and person specification very carefully. You will probably find that there are key terms there that will give you clues.

For example, are they looking for someone who is proactive, good in a team, able to cope with pressure?

These are all hints which should lead you to a very careful choice of words as you describe your relevant experience. Make sure that you select resume keywords which will demonstrate that you have got the skills and qualities they have mentioned in the job description.


CV action words or keywords



Not sure what resume keywords to use? There are very many you could try, but make sure you pick ones that fit in with the company requirements. And make sure that they match the tone of your cv.

Here is a selection to get you thinking.

Acquainted

Administered

Analysed

Appraised

Assessed

Authorised

Built

Co-ordinated

Collated

Compiled

Consolidated

Contracted

Co-ordinated

Counselled

Decreased

Delegated

Designed

Developed

Diversified

Effected

Established

Explored

Formed

Generated

Implemented

Influenced

Instigated

Invented

Launched

Maintained

Minimised

Motivated

Operated

Persuaded

Positioned

Presented

Proposed

Realised

Researched

Represented

Revived

Standardised

Structured

Supervised

Activated

Advised

Anticipated

Approved

Attained

Balanced

Calculated

Coached

Commanded

Concluded

Consulted

Controlled

Corrected

Created

Decided

Delivered

Detected

Directed

Documented

Eliminated

Evaluated

Extracted

Founded

Handled

Improved

Initiated

Integrated

Investigated

Led

Managed

Modernised

Negotiated

Organised

Pioneered

Predicted

Prioritised

Published

Redesigned

Reorganised

Resolved

Shaped

Streamlined

Succeeded

Trained

Adapted

Amended

Applied

Arranged

Audited

Budgeted

Centralised

Collaborated

Communicated

Conducted

Constructed

Convinced

Corresponded

Customised

Defined

Demonstrated

Determined

Distributed

Edited

Enabled

Expanded

Facilitated

Gained

Identified

Increased

Installed

Introduced

Judged

Liaised

Merged

Monitored

Observed

Performed

Planned

Prepared

Promoted

Questioned

Reduced

Reported

Revised

Solved

Strengthened

Suggested

Won


Using a relevant selection of these resume keywords will go a long way in helping you to ensure that your application really ‘hits the spot’ with recruiters and will give you a much better chance of getting on to the next crucial stage of your career change or job search – the interview!



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