School Leaver CV Buzz Words

  • Last updated 12 Aug 2016


If you want to enhance the potency of your school leaver CV, using the right buzzwords in the right places will significantly improve your chances of success.

It’s not a case of cramming your CV with pointless terms in a vain attempt to make yourself sound like some kind of vocational superhero. There is such a thing as trying too hard. However, a carefully selected buzzword here and there will work wonders.

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, giving your CV that “we’ve really got to interview this person” appeal.

The other is the words that recruiters for large companies will type into CV scanning software to find suitable people for their school leaver programmes.

What CV buzzwords should I use?

Your CV shouldn’t simply describe what you have already done; it should be used as a tool to persuade recruiters that you are worth interviewing. You really need to sell yourself.

Consequently, the words you use in your school leaver CV are very important. You need to demonstrate your suitability for a job and you can do that, in part, by using ‘positive verbs’.

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 school leaver CV.

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If you use passive statements to describe your duties when discussing previous work experience or extracurricular activities in your CV, 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.

Next you should look at the buzzwords that the employer uses in the school leaver programme job description. If they say that they are looking for an “organised” and “analytical” apprentice, then you need to make sure you’ve used those words in your CV and give examples to back them up.

Optimising your CV…

Some large companies use database searching systems that pick out the CVs which contain certain 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.

Even if a company doesn’t use software to scan their CVs, the recruiter who is assessing your application will have thousands of applications to sift through and will thus skim-read your CV, looking for specific keywords.

Consequently, you should use keywords in your school leaver CV that are industry-specific and relevant to the position that you are applying for. Use the job description as a guide.

All in all, you need to think carefully about how to present your skills and work experience in your school leaver CV. It can really make or break your chances of securing a place on a school leaver programme.

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