The Top 10 CV Buzzwords

Most recruiters and employers are looking for buzzwords in CVs that match techniques, standards, skills, and competencies that are listed in the job advert.

It could be that you have been applying for lots of roles, but are having little success. This is frustrating especially if you feel that you have the right professional criteria for the advertised vacancy.

However, recruiters and employers can receive hundreds of applications per job advertised so it can be impossible for them to trawl through every CV sent.

CV searching cartoon

How can you ensure that your CV is reviewed and not missed?

One key way to ensure your application stands out is to use buzzwords in the CV and cover letter.

So you would probably like a list of 10 buzzwords that you can pepper though your CV such as:

  • Driven
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Trustworthy
  • Energetic

While these words are very worthwhile including, these words are not primarily what the employer is initially looking for at first glance.

We cannot give you a top ten list as this must be personal to you.

To attract the attention of the reader immediately you need to use the right buzzwords that truthfully match the job advert. Most recruiters and employers are searching for CVs that match certain techniques, standards, skills, competencies, and experience.

For example, a job advert for a life science role might contain skills, standards, and techniques such as: HPLC, GC, GC-MS, FT-IR, PCR. ELISA, Cell Culture, qPCR, LCMS, ICP, DSC, AA or Viscosity.

Similarly, a regulatory affairs role might require experience with CTA/MAA or knowledge of regulatory strategy, labelling and artwork. Or, if you are applying for medical affairs roles, you may need to know about advisory boards, KOLs or ABPI.

The recruiter will search on job boards using these skills to bring up matching profiles. If they receive your application, while viewing your CV they will be looking for these buzzwords.

Make it easy for the recruiter or employer

  • If you have experience of the skills listed in the job ad, ensure that they are listed clearly on the CV and cover letter.
  • If you have work experience make sure that all your skills and techniques are listed for each of the jobs you have held.
  • If you have been at University, ensure that all project work, presentations, and skills you used in those assignments are also listed.

It can often happen that someone applies for an Adhesives Coating role, for example, but they do not list the word Adhesives in their CV. This means they will probably get missed when a recruiter is looking for a matching candidate.

This same principle can apply to all roles if, for example, it was a marketing role, then the job description might list techniques such as SEO and Content Marketing. If you have experience in these, be sure to list these in your CV.

Remember that recruiters and employers only have access to the information in front of them. Be clear and concise in your CV, do not make them have to work out what it is you are looking for.
Make your CV stand out by making it obvious that your CV matches a certain role by using clear buzzwords.

You may also like to read:

Being selective with your CV

The 30 second CV test

How to write a cover letter

Advice centre

Free resources

Job profiles

Research and knowledge