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10 Must Have Key Words and Phrases to Include in Your CV & Cover Letter

Using key words and phrases on your CV and cover letter gives your personality a voice that distinguishes you from other candidates.

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Using key words and phrases on your CV and cover letter gives your personality a voice that distinguishes you from other candidates.

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Summary

  • Key words and phrases consist of doing words.

  • Key words and phrases should be strategically placed on your CV and cover letter.

  • Having key words and phrases sets you apart from other candidates.

When applying for jobs, there are a dozen of other candidates applying for the same position. The hiring company therefore has a cumbersome task of having to go through every candidate’s CV and cover letter to select who is suited for the job. Some do this manually while some employ the use of an Applicant Tracking System to deliberately screen for key words and phrases from the candidate’s CV and cover letter. 

It is highly recommended for candidates to tailor their CVs and cover letter with key words and phrases which are related to the job description, company’s profile and use words and phrases which speak of your personality, experiences and skills. 

Using key words and phrases on your CV and cover letter gives your personality a voice that distinguishes you from other candidates. One of the ways of tailoring your CV and cover letter with key words and phrases is by using action verbs. Action verbs are words which illustrate one’s responsibilities, achievement and skills. They not only spice your CV and cover letter but also boost your confidence. 

As highlighted below, the following are some key words and phrases that you may use on your CV and cover letter to describe different aspects.

1. Key words and phrases to portray accomplishments. Some of the key words and phrases to be used in these regards, include:

  • Achieved 

  • Attained

  • Established

  • Founded

  • Spearheaded

  • Supervised 

2. Key words and phrases to showcase responsibilities. The following are some of the key words and phrases that you can use to highlight your responsibilities:

  • Accomplished

  • Analysed

  • Delivered

  • Created

  • Developed

  • Organized

  • Initiated

  • Volunteered

3. Key words and phrases to highlight your communication skills:

  • Documented

  • Conveyed

  • Briefed

  • Instructed

  • Performed

  • Trained

  • Collaborated

4. Key words and phrases for creative experiences:

  • Authored

  • Edited

  • Designed

  • Drafted

  • Published

  • Wrote.

  • Visualized

5. Key words and phrases for management and leadership:

  • Directed

  • Championed

  • Implemented

  • Reconciled

6. Key words for experience in finance:

  • Audited

  • Evaluated

  • Calculated

7. Key words and phrases for technical experience:

  • Automated 

  • Diagnosed

  • Installed

  • Programmed

  • Updated

8. Key words and phrases depending on company values

When applying for a job listing, your CV and cover letter must match the company values and the culture. You should therefore use key words and phrases that speak to the organization’s profile. For example, if the company thinks of itself as innovative, then definitely you should put innovation as your skill in your CV and cover letter. Checking out the company’s website and the social media platforms would give you a better edge on the choice of key words and phrases to use. 

9. Key words and phrases commonly tracked 

In every history of job descriptions, there are often popular qualities that an employer may be looking for in a candidate. These popular skills should be strategically placed for the hiring manager to notice when scrutinizing your cover letter and CV. More often employers are looking for candidates who have leadership skills, passionate and responsible. 

10. Examine and review skills and experiences of higher level positions

Examining and reviewing skills and experiences of higher level positions enables you to pick on specific key words and phrases that you may also use in your CV and cover letter. In this regard, the skills and experiences that you have and are listed on the higher level job positions as a requirement, you should add them to your CV and cover letter. This should give you a comparative advantage over other candidates who may not possess the same skills.

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya


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