Keywords really do make the world go round. So what exactly are they? Remember the last time you queried something on a search engine? Well the words you used in that search were ‘keywords’. Are they relevant to a job search? Very much so, for without the correct ones you are virtually invisible to recruiters and hiring managers who often take just seconds before deciding to move a CV on to the next stage or relegate it to the reject pile. Here’s where things can get really sticky, with the increasing importance of applicant tracking systems, unless your CV contains the appropriate job related keywords; no matter how well qualified or experienced you just won’t pass the initial screen.

So, how do you ensure that you are using the right ones? Here are some top tips from our team of professional CV and LinkedIn writers:

Job descriptions

Check these on employers’ websites and job portals; make note of industry/role specific ones. If there are different versions of the same keyword, then do a search and see which one returns the most relevant results.

Target titles

Always focus on standard job titles, particularly if in your current or former roles your title was offbeat, which is often the case in the IT industry. Chief Ninja Warrior may sound quite cool, however, it is unlikely to be picked up by an applicant tracking system or even translated by a human being to mean ‘Head of Sales’ or the like.

Skills & experience 

Make sure that you include all the skills more relevant for the job, for example did you manage a team? Did you have P&L responsibilities? Have you presented at industry related conferences?


What software packages/technical skills does the role require? Do you need to have any industry specific qualifications like the CFA, ACCA etc.

Remember to also include all relevant professional certifications and memberships, as long as they haven’t expired.


It’s important for an overall job strategy that your CV and LinkedIn profile are in-sync with the same keywords, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your job search. It also signals consistency and attention to detail for recruiters; you may want to take a look at our recent LinkedIn blog post for more.

One last word, always remember to be truthful, don’t exaggerate or lie. Credibility and reputations are hard to repair.

Our team of professional interview coaches, CV and LinkedIn writers, led by award-winning financial services recruitment veteran Victoria McLean, are at the cutting edge of the latest developments in what is an increasingly complex hiring environment. Together they have over 100 years of experience across all sectors and roles, ranging from graduates to senior executives. To find out how they can give you the tools to help you stand out and navigate this recruitment market, give us a call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.com