CV's, e-CV's, Keywords, CV database mining and IT contractors.

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Keywords in your CV - The single most important thing you should do to your CV!

There was a time when a well laid-out CV that didn't have any spelling or grammatical errors plus a handful of achievements and a well written cover letter, was all that was needed to secure that vital first interview. Well, that's no longer the case!

More and more employers are using job boards and recruitment site CV database search facilities to find candidates. If your CV doesn't include 'scannable' keywords and industry buzz words for your particular industry, your CV might not be found, despite the fact that you might be the best person for the job/contract.

The use of CV keywords has now become an essential part of good CV construction, especially in the ultra competitive contractor industry. In our experience, talking to contractors, it is no longer good enough just to have keywords buried within your CV, you need to be far more overt in your use of them.

How many CV's have you seen that have a 'keywords section'? It's such a simple idea but having a separate keyword section on your CV ensures recruiters and potential employers can find your skills and experience easily when data mining CV's.

Maximising Scannability

Use jargon and acronyms specific to your industry that you think recruiters may search under.

Question is how do you know what keywords to use?

Search online for example job descriptions and vacancies in the type of jobs you're interested in; talk to people in the industry and visit websites of the companies you'd like to work for. A simple method is to just type a few keywords into Google like "Java, Oracle, SAP, Cisco, online marketing, project manager etc and see what associated words come up.

Use the "Properties" feature in MS Word to boost the keyword searchability. This feature, found under Word's File menu, enables you to insert keywords, comments and a link to your web-based CV if you have one.

You can use the "Comments" field to enter geographic and relocation preferences.

For web based CV's use meta titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords.

Finally, what have you called your CV? I hope it's not - 'cv.doc'!

Imagine how many CV's agencies and employers receive called 'cv.doc'. Use your name and date as part of the file name for your e-cv. for example: rachelrymerCV281107.doc or even rachelrymer_CV_281107_javaprogrammer.doc

If you are thinking of becoming a contractor / freelancer or have any questions about working through your own limited company please call our New business team on 01442 275789 or e-mail

Further information
Have you downloaded SJD's Contractor Guides yet? If not, find below links to the key guides:

You may also find that these case studies make interesting further reading:

Becoming a Contractor - Moving from permanent employment to contracting
Thinking of contracting - A collection of contractor thoughts