Talent Acquisition

8 Keywords to Look for in Every CV

When searching for the best candidate for a role, it’s essential to reflect on which keywords an applicant uses within their CV.

Paying close attention to certain keywords can help you easily identify a candidate’s marketable strengths and transferable experience.

Below are 8 keywords you should look for within a candidate’s CV.

1. Coached

When reviewing CVs – regardless of the position you’re recruiting for – look for candidates with the ability to not only support their own development but also their team’s.
The capability to coach others shows a level of expertise in their industry, as well as demonstrating leadership potential for the future.

Reflect on examples where a candidate has highlighted how they coached new starters or even facilitated training sessions. This could be coaching team members on how to use a new system or helping a colleague better understand a new way of working.

2. Exceeded

All employers are looking for candidates that can excel within a role. By searching for the word ‘exceeded’ within an applicant’s CV, you’ll be able to establish whether a candidate can go above and beyond within a role, rather than simply doing the bare minimum.

Whether it’s exceeding targets or exceeding client’s expectations, the best candidates will also be able to qualify their examples with facts and figures. For example, they might state that they “exceeded sales target by 25% within first 3 months”.

3. Achieved

When filtering applications, it’s important to focus on an applicant’s accomplishments throughout their career, educational experience or even through their hobbies and interests.

This will help you further establish whether a candidate has the right skills for the position you’re recruiting for and if they have the drive and determination to succeed.

They might have they have achieved a specific qualification related to the field with an exceptional grade, won an industry award or had notable success in a personal project or hobby.

4. Presented

Public speaking is a valuable strength, whether that’s speaking in front of a large group at a conference or lecture, or simply being able to present ideas to a group of colleagues.

This keyword can help you identify a candidate’s confidence to speak about their area of expertise, as well as their ability to eloquently communicate with their colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders.

For example, “Presented a performance update to management on a monthly basis.”

5. Influenced

The proficiency to influence is key in driving performance or increasing productivity. Look for candidates who can influence others; either to achieve a certain outcome, secure new business or maintain an existing client base.

Keep an eye out for candidates who have been able to use their influence to bring about positive changes within their prior employment. Has a candidate been able to persuade others to come around to their point of view, or used this strength to advise a client or stakeholder to embrace a change of direction?

This skill will become more essential within management or consultancy roles.

6. Maximized

When recruiting for a role in any industry, employers are looking for candidates who are able to be resourceful in the way they work to maximise results.

So, it’s vital to find candidates who are able to showcase this marketable strength within their CV. Look for examples where a candidate has been able to maximize profits by reducing costs or maximise performance by implementing new processes or ways of working.

Remember that the word maximized is not limited to company profits. A candidate could showcase their capacity to maximise through the training and development of themselves or other team members to attain better results.

7. Negotiated

Negotiation isn’t a skill reserved for salespeople – all industries can benefit from a candidate with strong negotiation skills. This could include a candidate who has experience of negotiating better rates from suppliers/contractors or negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement to a customer complaint or query.

Search for candidates who can provide examples of when they have been diplomatic in difficult situations or worked with clients or colleagues to reach the best outcome for all.

8. Saved

All employers are looking at better ways to save within their business, whether this is cost saving, reducing resources used or even being more productive in order to save time.

Search for applicants who have been able to show specific facts and figures relating to the way in which they have saved time or money for their previous employers, and how they could replicate these results within a new role.

For example, has a candidate introduced a new procedure which helped to reduce time on a project nor have they been able to save by making an agreement with a new supplier?

By highlighting the keywords that candidates have used in their CV, you’ll be able to better select the most capable person for the role.

By Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, and founder of CV writing service  StandOut CV. He also contributes to a number of leading career pages such as The Guardian, Business Insider and Huffington Post.