Key Words to Use on Your CV

Key Words to Use on Your CV

Key words and phrases to use on your CV

Getting your CV right is massively important. Those few pages need to clearly and concisely demonstrate what skills, personal attributes, experience and qualifications you possess that make you an outstanding candidate for the job in question. Sometimes, your CV will be the only thing your recruitment consultant uses when deciding whether to put you forward for a particular vacancy, and it may also be the only evidence the employer has when deciding who to invite for interview.

So, what words and phrases can you use on your CV to boost your chances?

Your CV should always contain a number of ‘action’ verbs, to get the message across that you really have made a difference in your previous roles. Examples of action verbs you could use include:

  • Achieved
  • Formulated
  • Generated
  • Managed
  • Represented
  • Completed
  • Implemented
  • Improved

Examples of how you could get these verbs into your CV include:

“I managed a project team which successfully implemented changes to practices and procedures that greatly improved the efficiency of the department, and generated considerable cost savings.”

“I completed a review of our customer care practices, which achieved a significant increase in customer retention.”

“I represented the company at a number of trade shows and exhibitions, and generated considerable additional interest in our products and services.”

“I formulated a new employee training course that massively improved the ability of my colleagues to carry out their roles to the highest standards.”

Other adjectives you could use to describe yourself include:

  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Innovative
  • Pro-active

It’s best however to avoid describing yourself as accurate, reliable or hard-working, as no candidate is ever going to admit to being the opposite of any of these. These phrases can also be fairly meaningless, for example ‘hard-working’ could mean anything from that you are reasonably diligent to that you are a workaholic.

Also, consider changing the titles of your existing jobs on your CV, so that they match the job titles that are most recognised within your business sector. This is because some employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that search for particular keywords on your CV. For example, an employer might be seeking candidates who have been employed as a marketing manager in the past, so it may not help your prospects if you use the trendy job title that your past employer gave you when you carried out this role. An ATS is unlikely to recognise ‘creative guru’ or similar, but will most likely recognise ‘marketing manager’.

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