Keywords are vital for your CV

Without keywords your CV simply wouldn’t be found.

CV Keywords Image

CV writing tips

Most searches of CVs use Keywords.

Let me explain…….

Recruitment Agents will generally have a database in which to store your CV in.

Over the years an Agency will potentially accumulate thousands of CVs.

Imagine all these CVs in a big digital pot (or even an actual pot if you prefer, yes, imagine 10,000 CVs in a big pot and yours is in it)

The keywords are the hook in which your CV will be retrieved, to build the shortlist of potential candidates for the role the agent is searching on.

This is a system called Boolean Searching that will depend on the words YOU’VE used on YOUR CV.

How CVs Are Searched (Sometimes) 

If searching for say, a Design Engineer, that had used a CAD system called Solid Edge to Design Rolling Stock, the search string would be “Design Engineer” AND “Solid Edge” AND Rail OR “Rolling Stock”.

This would give a list of Design Engineers that had THOSE WORDS on their CV.

If you were a Design Engineer working in this sector, and your CV DIDN’T have these words on, YOU WOULD NOT BE RETURNED IN THOSE SEARCH RESULTS.

This is the importance of keywords. If you’d chosen to describe your self as the Chief Designer, or Head of Technical Drawing, or Mechanical Designer, using “the latest 3D CAD” to design a new Train YOU WOULD NOT BE RETURNED IN THOSE SEARCH RESULTS.

I’ve seen good candidates lose out on great opportunities because they didn’t understand this (this doesn’t affect us as much at Clemtech and I’ll tell you why in another Blog post).

This applies across the board regardless of the job you do.

To improve your chances of being found you should use common terms related to your area of expertise or chosen profession.

My Advice

So my advice is to use a variety of phrases to describe the same thing.

In the example above use variations of Mechanical Designer, Design Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, and if you’ve used CAD systems, list them all.

More keywords = more chances of getting found.

Thoughts, comments, further advice?……welcomed by completing the form below.

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5 thoughts on “Keywords are vital for your CV

  1. J Youds

    Hi Sean,

    Having noticed that my CV was not getting any bites I read you blog and noticed that it could defiantly be improved upon. I have now updated my CV ensuring that it is more to the point and has the correct keyword. So here’s hoping it will get me to that first interview!


    1. Sean Post author

      Hi John

      Thanks for your comment, it’s much appreciated.

      I was reading a CV of a VB (Vehicle Builder) recently that I came across by chance on one of the online CV Libraries.

      He’d worked for quite a few well known companies. His CV loosely described the work he’d done and he seemed like a skilled and capable individual.

      Nowhere on his CV did he mention the words “Vehicle Builder” “Coach Builder” “Mechanical Fitter” “Mech Fitter” “Trains” or “Rolling Stock

      He’d managed to describe what he’d done without ever needing to use these words. Great for someone reading it, but not very easy to find.

      Fortunately we use a database that gives me the opportunity to tag the candidate with the skills they have and the job that we would consider them for.

      Regularly reviewing and tweaking your CV is definitely a worthwhile exercise.

      Sean Durrant

  2. Melissa

    Excellent advice! I’ve known that most government agencies use key word searching to weed out people as they get so many applications. It would make sense then that most companies are now doing this. I’ll have to keep this in mind for the future!

  3. Ashley O'Brien


    A really interesting insight to how recruiters find us candidates. I think most people appreciate the need for specific key words such as ‘design engineer’, but I think many people (Including me in the past) have not realised the value of adding alternative phrases which mean the same thing, as you mention above, to be found in the most key word searches.

    I guess this shows why it is important to tailor your CV to the job you are applying for, trying to include all of the key words listed in the job spec in your CV (Providing they apply to the candidates profile of course).



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