We’ve spoken before about how to write a fantastic CV – that’s great, but how do you make sure that your CV is even seen? You could have two-pages of pure professional gold, but if no one can find it, then there’s no point. This is vital for LinkedIn and if you’ve added your CV to a database. You need to make sure your CV is searchable and that’s achieved by optimisation. Here’s how to do it.
Use the right ‘keywords’
Here’s a marketing secret: all your favourite websites do lots of research into what prospective customers are searching for – they put these words and phrases into their copy and bingo! You find their website and probably buy something. That’s what you need to do with your CV. Research the terms that recruiters are searching for and incorporate them – in a natural way – in amongst your employment history, profile, etc.
The easiest way to do this, is to look at job advertisements and discern the language that is used. It may be that there are variations on the title of the job you’re searching for. For instance, ‘estate agent’ might be described as a ‘sales negotiator’ by some. In which case, you would need to write something along the lines of “in my current role as an estate agent, I have developed my sales negotiator skills…” That way, both terms are included.
Always, always look at the job ad and rewrite sentences to reflect the desirable qualities that are specified. If they’re looking for someone with a proactive attitude, say that you have a proactive attitude.
Check your spelling
Yes, we know we say this all the time, but it’s doubly important for CV optimisation. If you spell one of your keywords incorrectly, it doesn’t only look like a sloppy mistake, but it’s also unlikely to be picked up when recruiters carry out their searches.
To be fair, Google uses intelligent algorithms which will know if you write ‘managre’ you probably mean ‘manager’, but this isn’t the case with every single CV applicant tracking system software. Increase your chances of being discovered by reviewing your CV with a fine tooth comb. Then get someone else to read over it, too.
Keep formatting simple
There was a time when applicants thought they needed to use photos, images and unusual fonts to make their CV stand out. No. Just no. Make your CV easy for both people and tech tools to read by using a simple template, standard fonts (Arial, Calibri, even Times New Roman – if you must) and not including non-standard characters. It goes without saying that you should never, ever include any emoticons.
Anything outside of ‘normal’ will be difficult for algorithms to scan and could be detrimental, not helpful. If you’re stuck for inspiration, take a look at our free CV template.
Get good advice
There are tools available online which you can run your CV through to determine just how optimised it really is. For instance, www.jobscan.co allows you to paste your CV and the job advertisement, then compares the two and breaks down what it is you need to amend.
The other, thankfully human, option is to speak with your recruitment consultant when you register. Ask them for their thoughts on your CV and what you can be to make it searchable. Their insight and experience is invaluable, so make use of it – they want to help you.
Using the tips above to optimise your CV should ensure that recruiters and various robots can identify you as a contender for the role on hand. Have a go and watch those invitations to interview just roll in!