The Candidate Super Series: Words You Should Be Using in Your CV

MT Super Series Avatar 1@2x AUTHOR

Ryan Kaye

- April 4th, 2022
Candidate Hub

Words to Use in Your CV

Welcome to Part One of the Candidate Super Series, a 12-part blog series covering a range of topics, including everything from interview turn-offs to tips for remote-working parents and much more. Our first blog this month talks about words you should be using in your CV…

Occasionally, actions speak louder than words. Alas, though. This isn’t the case with your CV. Don’t forget – the goal of your CV is to score an interview rather than reveal your life story. As such, what words you use in yours need to demonstrate your skills intelligibly, legibly, and precisely if there’s any chance of you getting your foot in the door.

Are you tearing your hair out about what words to use in your CV? Fret not. We’ve compiled a list of verbs, adjectives, and CV buzzwords:

What not to do

Words to use in CV

Impractical achievements. No one’s a pro at everything. So, be honest about your abilities. Don’t forget – if you go too over the top on your experience and talents, you’ll only have to explain yourself during the interview.

Lengthy, inactive sentences. The last thing you want to do is bore the living daylights out of your reader. Write it in the present tense using action words in your CV, so it’s crisp, clear, and to the point.

Excessively technological lingo and info. Good phrases for a CV include talking about everything you know. However, ditch any fussy language. Your CV isn’t an instruction guide. It’s a sales document.

Personal unconnected accomplishments. Because you don’t know how the reader examining your CV will feel about your pastimes, it’s better to leave them out unless they apply to the position. And it’s better not to include any pastimes at all than including something like ‘mixing with loved ones’.

Words to avoid on CV

In terms of good phrases for your CV, nearly every recruiter has their own bugbears. We’ve listed a couple of the most common CV phraseology flaws:

CV adjectives to steer clear of

  • Multi-tasker
  • Motivated
  • Independent
  • Flexible
  • Detail-oriented
  • Strong work ethic
  • Self-motivated

A lot of the words above are cliché CV phrase examples. They’ve been used more times than we can count and don’t have any real value.

Of course, if any of the above words is a must-have aspect of the position you’re applying for, then go for it.

That said, we advise making them more significant by elaborating on the idea and using real situations that demonstrate the words.

As well as wanting to know you’re hungry for ambition, a hiring manager wants to see examples of it.

Good words to use on CV

As you probably know, it’s best to be as upbeat as you can when writing a standout CV and talking about yourself.

However, a few of the main CV action words you can use include:

  • Adaptable
  • Inventive
  • Hands-on
  • Trustworthy
  • Conscientious
  • Diligent
  • Accurate
  • Self-reliant

As we mentioned earlier, it’s always critical to reinforce and back up your attributes.

So, rather than simply scattering your CV with adjectives to talk about yourself, allude to prior duties and capabilities, together with your achievements (for instance, whether you hit any objectives or goals).

Here are a couple of pre-emptive verbs for your CV you can include: 

  • Chaired
  • Controlled
  • Founded
  • Initiated 
  • Administered
  • Produced
  • Orchestrated 
  • Completed
  • Planned
  • Introduced 
  • Pioneered
  • Managed
  • Represented
  • Achieved
  • Spearheaded

But, more importantly, it’s how you integrate these words.

Devise strong statements that exemplify your experience and skills in action, peppering it with phrases that demonstrate you’re confident and positive, not insubstantial phrases.

Examples of how to use them

Instead of saying:

Responsible for annual budgets and team meetings.


Executed, administered, and completed monthly documents, presentations, and reports for clients and board members using advanced software proficiencies. 

Instead of saying:

Produced financial reports for clients.


Pioneered and orchestrated quarterly financial reports summarising financial information to support management with making operational decisions and tactical plans. 

CV spelling errors could be the start of the end

Let me put this very clearly for you: there must not be a single spelling error in your final CV, right up to the very last word. If you’re an international candidate and find it challenging to create a grammatically-correct CV, we’d recommend that you seek a CV writing service.

Our CEO, Ryan Kaye, has come across many error-laden CVs – even at MD and CEO levels – riddled with spelling mistakes. And while our team makes them aware of these errors, recruiters shouldn’t be the ones left with the responsibility to make sure a candidate’s CV is error-free.

For example, a senior person sent us their CV, and the ‘key strengths’ section stated they had “high attention to detail”. However, during the interview, the employer said to the candidate, “How can you be with so many grammatical errors?”

Top tip: Misspelt CVs have never been well-received, whether they’re seen by HR or by line managers who are interviewing. So, make sure your CV reads immaculately.

A few final thoughts

Writing cv

And lastly, proofread your entire CV for duplication. Those action adjectives might begin to sound meaningless if you use them over and over. Use the CV verbs, adjectives, and action words we listed above, or simply type, “powerful words for CV finance” or “good words for CV banking”.

Perhaps the biggest tip for marketing your CV is using the exact job description.

The hiring manager has spent a lot of time listing the skill set they’re seeking in their ideal candidate, so avoid ignoring them. Select a couple of the main qualities they’ve emphasised, then showcase these on your CV.

If you’re really struggling to find power CV words, consider using a CV template.

Need more CV help?

So, now that you understand all about the power of active phrases and verbs, it’s time for those CV creation muscles to be flexed.

We’re teasing you.

It’s time to flex those CV-creating muscles.

At Market Talent, we know what action words and precise skills will have the most powerful effect on HR managers. When you register with us we’ll take a look at your CV for free and provide an unbiased evaluation, so you know where you stand.