If you want to give your apprenticeship CV a little lift and boost its chances of being successful, making use of buzzwords might be just the ticket.
You don’t want to stuff your apprenticeship CV with buzzwords, though - moderation is key, and it's best to incorporate a light smattering of buzzwords with your own personal writing style.
So what do we mean when we talk about buzzwords? Well, we mean two things: one is using positive verbs that showcase various skills and qualities, lending that proactive flavour to your apprenticeship CV.
The other is the words that recruitment consultants and recruiters for large companies will type into CV scanning software to find suitable people for their role.
The second will be particularly relevant if you are speculatively applying for an apprenticeship at a big company.
What CV buzzwords should I use?
CVs aren’t just a list of your achievements; they should be designed to sell yourself to a future employer. Therefore, the words you use in your apprenticeship CV are very important, as is the writing style of the document.
You want to show your suitability for a job and you can do that, in part, by using positive verbs to lend your apprenticeship CV a proactive flavour.
In your CV when you talk about previous work experience or extracurricular activities, if you use passive statements to describe your duties, it might disconnect you from the task.
In contrast, if you use active statements, then it will show that you were personally instrumental in completing it.
This might sound a bit confusing, but bear with us. By ‘positive verbs’ we mean words that you can use to demonstrate your personal contribution.
For example, you might use words such as "negotiated", "supervised", "advised", "achieved", "coordinated", "developed", "demonstrated", "improved", "instigated", "designed", "developed", "established" or "organised".
You can use verbs like these to emphasise key points in your apprenticeship CV, and build up an image of yourself as an active, dedicated worker.
For example, you could say: "I organised an event for the netball team" rather than: "an event was organised for the netball team".
Next you should look at the buzzwords that the employer uses in the apprenticeship description.
If they say that they are looking for an “organised” and “efficient” apprentice, then you need to make sure you have used those words in your CV with examples to back them up.
Optimising your CV…
If you send your CV to an employer or apprenticeship agency, or post it online, you’ll need to make sure that it appears in search results.
Large companies or recruitment agencies tend to use database searching systems that pick out the CVs which contain certain buzzwords or keywords. Therefore, sometimes it’s necessary to ‘optimise’ your CV to ensure that it comes up in a CV search.
That means making sure you’ve got the keywords in your CV that someone might use to search for their ideal candidate.
If you’re looking for an apprenticeship, then you’ll certainly need to make sure you have mentioned the fact in your CV. Otherwise, the keywords you use in your apprenticeship CV should be industry-specific and relevant to the jobs that you are considering. An applicant for a finance apprenticeship might refer to "accountancy", "numbers", "calculation" and "banking". Someone looking for an apprenticeship with a media company is likely to focus on "creative", "digital" and "marketing".
To sum up: the words you use in your CV are important. Think carefully about how to present your skills and work experience in your apprenticeship CV. It can really make or break your chances of getting the apprenticeship you want.