The Top 25 Words to Use on Your CV


Struggling to find the words to describe yourself and enhance your résumé? Then try out our CV buzzwords, key adjectives and examples, which will boost your chances of getting your dream job.

We also have a guide to writing a successful CV

Positive words to describe yourself:

1. Able

I am able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis.

2. Creative

I use a creative approach to problem solve.

3. Dependable

I am a dependable person who is great at time management.

4. Energetic

I am always energetic and eager to learn new skills.

5. Experience

I have experience working as part of a team and individually.

6. Flexible

I am flexible in my working hours, being able to work evenings and weekends.

7. Hardworking

I am hardworking and always the last to leave the office in the evening.

I have organised the staff functions for the last four years with great success.

8. Honest

I am honest and trustworthy when I am counting money after our church bake-sales.

9. Imaginative

I work with the team to provide imaginative solutions for our customers.

10. Innovative

I am always coming up with innovative ideas.

11. Motivated

I am motivated to go to the gym before work to get fit and healthy.

12. Organised

I have organised the staff functions for the last four years with great success.

13. Reliable

Co-workers rely on me to be on time.

14. Sense of humour

Even though I take my work seriously, I do have a good sense of humour.

Follow the link for: How do I Make My CV Really Special?

Positive words to describe your achievements:

15. Achieved

I achieved a pass grade for my Level 2 Exercise to Music Instructor course.

16. Competed

I competed at national competitions in cheerleading.

17. Delivered

I delivered all projects in a timely fashion.

18. Helped

helped out at the local care home during my spare time.

I made cost savings on projects by using local manufacturers.

19. Identified

In the role, I identified a need for a new system  and, with management backing, it has since been implemented.

20. Managed

Lucy has managed the team through several large projects.

21. On time

I am always on time for organised events, work-related or otherwise.

22. Participated

Alice participated in her local Race for Life 10k charity run.

23. Savings

I made cost savings on projects by using local manufacturers.

24. Supervised

During this time, I supervised swimming galas at her local pool.

25. Won

I won gold in my very first cross-fit competition.

Example Personal statement:

I am a talented, ambitious and hardworking individual, with broad skills and experience in digital and printed marketing, social media and leading projects.

Furthermore, I am adept at handling multiple tasks on a daily basis competently and at working well under pressure.

A key strength is communication; building strong relationships with people in order to deliver the best results.

Recently, I completed an Open degree, including Business and Design modules at the Open University and I am now fully employed by Clearly Presented as a Digital Media Manager.

Follow the link for: A Guide to Writing a Successful CV

15 More Words From our Experts

We asked expert customer service recruiters for their advice on which other words to use on a CV. These recruiters responded with the list below:

26. Articulate

I am an effective and articulate communicator with all levels of employees.

27. Confidence

I instil confidence in others and approach new challenges with an open mind.

28. Commercial

I have a strong commercial outlook…

29. Consistent

I have been able to deliver a consistent approach throughout a challenging period of development.

30. Driven

I am extremely driven, with a clear goal to succeed.

I used the advice passed on by my supervisors to mentor struggling individuals..

31. Enthused/Enthusiastic

I am always highly enthused about my work and tasks ahead.

32. Inspirational

I have been told that I am an inspirational coach and mentor.

33. Interactive

I understand the importance of being interactive and enjoy communicating with others for the benefit of the company.

34. Leader

I am a natural leader and developer of people.

35. Mentor

I used the advice passed on by my supervisors to mentor struggling individuals.

36. Personable

I am happy and extremely personable and excel in a positive work environment.

37. Safe Pair of Hands

I have been told that I provide a safe pair of hands in challenging times.

38. Self-Development

I am committed to learning and self-development so that I can consistently achieve better results.

39. Subject Matter Expert

I am seen as a subject matter expert within the field of workforce management and deployment.

40. Versatile

I have an extremely versatile skill set.

Follow the link for: How do I analyse CVs to best effect?

The Top Ten Words to Leave Off a CV

Whilst the words above can be great additions to a CV, our experts also have their bugbears about certain other words that candidates use.
Here is a list of our top ten words to avoid using on your résumé.

1. Seasoned

Using this will make you sound like you are a steak! Also, it is so dated. There are much better words to use!

2. Authoritative

Recruiters want a collaborator not a dictator, especially in the customer service field. So, replace a phrase such as “I was in an authoritative position…” with “I was in a position of leadership…”.

3. Think outside the box

Give examples of how you were made to think creatively and the benefits that such innovation brought to the company. To do this, it is important to avoid vague phrases such as “I think outside the box.”

4. Detail-orientated

There is a chance, no matter how excellent you believe your grammar to be, that you will make a mistake on your CV. Whilst many recruiters may overlook one minor error, pairing the mistake with the phrase “detail-orientated” could create problems.

5. Track record

If your CV is written correctly the recruiter will be able to see your track record, so don’t waste your limited space with needless phrases like this.

6. Hard-worker

It is much more convincing to show the recruiter that you are a hard-worker than to tell them. Recruiters will draw their own conclusions from the evidence that you present, so don’t try to confuse them by using vague phrases… it won’t work.

7. Results-driven

Are results your only driver? Don’t limit yourself by using such language. Demonstrate how you are driven by purpose, personal development and colleagues/teammates, as well as by achievement.

8. Go-to man

Not only is this too informal for a CV, it takes focus away from how your skills align with those in the job description. Don’t distract yourself by trying to do everyone else’s jobs – they they will be more experienced in these than you.

9. Passionate

This is so over-used. If you were not passionate about an aspect of the role, it is assumed that you would not be applying for the position. So, set yourself apart from the average candidate by trying something different, like noting how fulfilling the passion makes you feel.

10. Team-player

It is important to note that you enjoy a collaborative atmosphere, but the phrase “team-player” is contrived. Alternatively, refer to a success story of when you worked alongside someone else to bring great benefits to the workplace.

Follow the link for: Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Job

What Else Should You Be Wary Of?

The advice above can help to shape a CV, but doing any of the following can seriously damage your chances of acquiring the customer service job that you crave.

Writing in Third Person

CVs should never be written in third person. Use first person and choose the present or past tense to showcase the most important and relevant information to your employment goals.

So, for example, do not say “James Bell is…”, but instead state “I am…”.

Removing Personal Information

Things to include: your address, postcode, mobile number and email address! So many people are not including this information, making it very difficult for agencies and organisations to know where candidates are looking for work and also to register the CVs on their systems.

It also makes it impossible to find candidates again when searching in specific locations.

Including a Headshot/Photograph

This is just a waste of space, especially as you should already be struggling to cut your CV down into two pages.

Also, don’t save your CV as an Infographic. These may look good, but they can’t be used by agencies and often won’t upload to company career sites – send your CV as a PDF or Word document and keep the formatting simple!

Expanding Margins and Cutting White Space

No one wants to read a CV that is formatted with a tiny font and no white space! White space allows the eye to rest between reading and absorbing the content, and it acts as a cue to important information the employer should read with care.

At the same time, a CV with too much white space will look like you have no relevant experience or skills to offer the employer. Find a happy medium – keep the CV readable and clean, while filling the space.

Including Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes

In this day and age there should be NO excuses, but it still happens, and more often than you would expect. These kinds of mistakes can get even the most qualified candidate’s CV thrown into the “no” pile.

Remember, the CV is an excellent way to demonstrate to potential employers or recruiters what type of employee you are, your attitude to work and, most importantly, your attention to detail!

After you have reviewed your CV carefully, have a friend – or two – review it again for you!

Heavily Detailing Secondary Experiences

It is very easy to keep adding a new job to your existing CV, but does your previous role still hold any relevance? Or, looking back, should your previous role actually be enhanced to support more of your present role?

I am responsible for the leadership, coaching and development of 100 FTE. In the past year we have seen an uplift of 5% on service level performance against the previous 5 years.

As your career progresses, your older jobs may not be as relevant as they once were.  Your CV is your opportunity to showcase your career and you need to highlight what is most important, taking space from less important detail that you may now be able to remove.

Listing Your Duties from a Previous Job

Everyone needs to see and understand what you do, but what is it that sets you apart from the crowd?

In addition to listing some, if not all, of your duties and responsibilities, try and include some achievements, tangibles, or context around the role. This could involve something like the following:

You may write: I am responsible for 100 + FTE.

You could write: I am responsible for the leadership, coaching and development of 100 FTE. In the past year we have seen an uplift of 5% on service level performance against the previous 5 years.

With thanks to:

Francesca Randle at Cactus
Michelle Ansell at Douglas Jackson

Do you agree with our lists? Which other words would you have included or perhaps excluded?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Visit our jobs page to find your next opportunity.

Published On: 23rd May 2017 - Last modified: 11th Dec 2017
Read more about - Skills , , , , ,


20 Comments
  1. These phrases are positive and dynamic .

    Jeffrey Bradshaw 15 Apr at 11:43 am
  2. I’m re-writing my CV at the moment and find this really useful.

    Ricky Zielinski 16 Apr at 9:10 am
  3. I’m currently re-writing my CV. Trying to find words to describe my transferable skills, i’ve used ”HIGHLY motivated and EXTREMELY punctual” but struggling to find more.

    Nick Doonan 17 Jul at 9:49 am
  4. Dear Sirs:

    This is a wonderful an important material to increase the knowledge in these kind of topics.

    I apprecite your special help.
    Thanks
    MM

    Myriam 6 Sep at 2:12 pm
  5. Thank you for posting this wonderful tool. I have included many of these words in my resumes and applications, and i think that they put me over the other applicants with the same qualifications.
    Well done,
    KC

    KC 12 Nov at 11:35 pm
  6. Amazing I’m using this for my interview. Aamazing

    Henna 11 Jun at 5:06 pm
  7. what a load of rubbish. why cant you just be yourself why do we all have to conform to the same surely its all about what you have to say soon we be like a communist state…….

    Anonymous 26 Jun at 4:31 am
  8. Brilliant help. Thank you. I knew that my daughter was good at and what her personal traits are but I just couldn’t think of the right words. Well done!

    kimfoulstone 14 Sep at 6:53 pm
  9. i am always trustworthy

    roberthilton 16 Sep at 5:54 pm
  10. This is very good

    Thank you

    Anonymous 18 Sep at 2:59 pm
  11. You should also do negative words so that we can understand what not to use in our CV

    Anonymous 18 Sep at 3:00 pm
  12. Used correctly and appropriately, the above words can work wonders.

    However, there is a risk that they are over-used or (worse) used as ‘filler’, where the CV ends up being a mish-mash of buzz-words.

    Use these key ‘postivifiers’ succinctly rather than sporadically thrown in, and you will see far more companies return to you offering an interview.

    Sean McIver 19 Sep at 2:15 pm
  13. You are a life saver!

    JD 5 Apr at 10:53 pm
  14. awarded is a good word to use

    ang 17 Oct at 9:55 am
  15. Yeahhhh, conform to not being conformist.
    Cv are hard as employers usually only look at the cv for about 4/6 seconds.
    Getting a job now is more about who you know, rather than what you know.. Etc.. If your face fits and are incapable of the job then you are fine.
    Keeping at it people 🙂
    Something always comes along.

    bob 14 Mar at 2:24 pm
  16. This is amazing, I used this via email and it worked wonders. Thank you.

    kei quintana 16 Mar at 9:36 am
  17. DO NOT use any of these words.

    DO NOT say ‘I am creative/energetic/hardworking/dependable’. What have you done that shows you are creative, energetic hardworking/dependable?, use your achievements to highlight your skills and let the employer judge for themselves!

    These so called ‘buzz-words’ are found on every cv, use creative ways of writing to give the same impression…

    BE CLEVER

    anon 4 Jul at 1:54 am
  18. Having read all the praise and criticism I can say that you’re all right and also wrong. In fact its both…

    Yes, use these words to ensure you have said what needs to be said however, that alone will not win you an interview. To say ‘don’t use these words’ is also pretty stupid as you’ll end up with the CV that doesn’t say ‘honest’ etc so, at least bring yourself in line with everyone else at that stage!

    To win an interview you need to write basic information SUPPORTED with substantial evidence of competence. For example, a sales person stating only their title, dates and role responsibilities is nearly a total waste of time. Instead, support this with achievements: Target of X, won Y. Won X client, grew Y account by £20k, increased GP by 47%, etc

    Think about the key skills required to do the job well and focus on providing evidence that you can do them. e.g. Communication, Negotiation, Closing, etc – then add an example/result of having done it. Simple.

    If you’re in a job where success is harder to quantify than a sales role think about how your manager measures your performance. If he/she targets you on cost savings, lead times, quality, complaints, etc then that dictates your achievements. Remember that if you’re going for a job in the same sector with similar managers, speak their language to impress them.

    Also, think about the changes you have introduced that have had a positive impact on your employer’s business. Each one is an achievement, even if its not work related! (e.g. started social events, charity runs, etc)

    In short, its WHAT YOU DID, not just a regurgitated job description and dates.

    Good Luck.

    Kieran, ASG.

    Kieran Delaney 5 Jul at 2:33 pm
  19. Great article, thanks!

    Emma 4 May at 3:34 pm
  20. This is great. Thanks

    Yvonne Judy 26 Sep at 9:08 pm
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 
css.php