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Recruitment director writes guide to buzzword and keywords

Jobseekers are constantly being told how important it is to include key words and phrases on their CVs for SEO purposes, in order to increase their chances of having their CV picked out of a pile of hundreds or even thousands.

However, Scott Simons, director of global recruitment services at Networkers International, has written an article giving advice on how job hunters can avoid what is known as & lsquo;buzzwords’ in their CV’s, saying that there is an important distinction to be made between buzzwords and keywords.

He says he was prompted to write the article because of the confusion that seems to surround the two terms.

He stated, “A recent survey revealed job seekers are harming their applications by not spending enough time on their CV’s before submission. One of the main highlights was the overuse of buzzwords.  Contradicting this survey though, are the hundreds of articles online that advise buzzwords and keywords can strengthen your application.”

Simons compiled a brief guide (as below) highlighting the differences between the two, and how they can affect a CV.

What is a buzzword?

These are essentially & lsquo;empty’ words. They sound impressive and exciting, but when you look a little closer, they don’t really mean anything.

What is a keyword?

This is a word or phrase an employer will look for in your CV to match against the job advert. These can be specific skills or experiences that are important for the role.

What kind of buzzwords should you avoid?

CV space is tight, so it can be tempting to use buzzwords to get across a lot of information quickly. However, as these examples show, you can come across very differently to prospective employers.


What you think you’re saying – I know an interest in the job is important.

What the employer reads – So you’re interested in working at my company&hellip just like everyone else that’s applying.


What you think you’re saying – No matter what job you give me, I’ll do my best to complete it to a high standard.

What the employer reads – I’d hope so. I don’t want to employ someone who is just going to sit back in their chair all day long.


What you think you’re saying – I can approach a problem with a different way of solving it.

What the employer reads – Yes, it’s very creative to state that you’re creative, on a CV that looks like every other one I’ve seen this morning.

People person:

What you think you’re saying – I’m easy to get along with.

What the employer reads – People person? That’s good, because I don’t think my team wants to work with someone who hates other people.

Good communicator:

What you think you’re saying – I can easily express my ideas and opinions effectively.

What the employer reads – I’d say being a good communicator is a basic requirement. I’m not interested in hiring someone who can’t talk to people.

If you find yourself using some (or even all!) of these buzzwords, try replacing them with examples that prove you can do those things. So instead of saying you’re a team player, describe the team you currently work in and your role within it. This way you avoid being clich&eacute and strengthen your CV in one quick step.

What kind of keywords should you use?

Although you should keep away from buzzwords at all costs, it is important to include keywords in your CV. As I mentioned above, these should reflect skills employers are looking for from their ideal employee. Following these steps should help:

Step 1 – Read the job advert carefully and identify exactly what the employer is looking for.

Step 2 – Pick out and create a list of keywords you need to include that reflect this.

Step 3 – Sprinkle them throughout your CV, using examples to back them up.

The key here is & lsquo;sprinkle’. Cramming your CV with keywords and phrases will have the exact opposite effect on your application, as the employer will assume you’ve just copied and pasted the job advert into your CV. If you follow these steps, you should avoid the recycle bin on your next application.


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