Key skills, knowledge and expertise

When preparing your CV, it is essential to provide evidence of how you would apply and transfer your skills to various qualities through using specific sector/job title key words that employers are looking for.
Buzzwords are similar to keywords, and are used to make a CV stand out under Key Skills, Knowledge and Expertise. These buzzwords can also help to assist your CV if Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) are used.
Under this section, you can list your achievements and transferable skills along with evidence to back these up. List these, then write a short sentence of how you have used these skills within a career/life scenario.

Some examples of buzzwords and areas to include are:

• Teamwork (created, supported, guided, participated)
• Leadership (launched, managed, inspired, mentored, coached)
• Communication (presented, negotiated, liaised, articulate)
• Problem solving (implemented, investigated, initiated)
• Negotiation (improved, quality, resilience)
• Customer service (focused, handling complaints, positive outcome, influenced)
• Dedication (conscientious, ethical, efficient).

These are not exhaustive. Check the job specification to see if any more are listed, and always tailor. Other areas to include could be language skills, awards, personal achievements (if relevant to application), IT/technical skills. For example, “Company Salesperson of the Year 2012.” “Engineering Associate Award 2014.”
However, as is the case with most things, people can become over-enthused and try to include every buzzword/phrase possible. Words and phrases NOT to include are:

• Thinking outside the box
• Fun-loving
• Good sense of humour (it’s not a dating advertisement! – see above point also)
• Paving the way to success
• Dynamic self-starter
• Cutting edge
• Reliable (so you can turn up on time, so what?)
• Go-getter
• Hard worker
• Expert
• Innovator
• Fully conversant with MS Office – this is a vague statement. You may be more advanced in one particular section of MS Office than the other. If you want to add this in, a way to do this would be:

• “IT Skills – MS Word (advanced), PowerPoint (intermediate), Excel (basic).”

It’s argued that some keywords should not be included in a CV, for example, “A team player.” “Can work on own initiative.” Fair enough if this is all you write, but back it up with evidence in your career section. This could be reworded as “guided and supported teams throughout a complex project, within budget.” “Deputised for manager in his absence.”

The points you list here may be used in competency based questions should you get through to interview stage. These will be covered in later weeks. Competency based questions are questions whereby you are asked to provide real life examples and describe a situation where you demonstrated something in, like problem solving, using your initiative, or negotiating effectively. By putting pointers of these in your CV, the basis for these answers have already been provided.

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