To Be or Not to Be: Which words to include or delete from your CV

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2020 by The CV WizardNo comments

As a London recruitment agency, we see countless CVs every day, with all of the applicants hoping to get noticed for office support jobs in London. Some words are overused, with clichés that have become meaningless. Other words are passive and don’t grab our attention. For those writing their CV who don’t have the benefit of reading dozens of examples a day, it can be a minefield!

Whether you’re after permanent or temporary office support work, there are some words you should ditch and some excellent alternatives.

Clarity first

Your CV shouldn’t exceed two pages of A4. You need to get to the point effectively. There are a couple of basic rules for choosing the right language:

  • Keep it simple and clear.
  • Don’t overuse the same verb; choose alternatives.
  • Understand the words you use.
  • Make them powerful.
  • Put a verb at the beginning of a sentence, e.g. “Implemented new processes to communicate with stakeholders.”

Overused words on CVs

Unfortunately, you’re not the first person to write a CV and many online CV writing guides quickly become dated. Someone will have used that example before you!

  • First of all, scrub out ‘curriculum vitae’. It states the obvious and wastes space.
  • Next, ditch ‘duties included’ or ‘responsible for’. The prospective employer doesn’t need a job description. Instead, use examples of what you’ve done and why it mattered.
  • Get rid of anything that should be expected. For example, it should be assumed that you’re a hard worker and punctual; it doesn’t need saying. Use the space for what truly matters.
  • Next, get rid of ‘Hobbies’; it makes you sound like you’re still at school. If you must include that section, call it ‘Personal Interests’ and keep it brief.
  • Finally, get rid of overused words like ‘empowered’, ‘dynamic’, and ‘motivated’. Be more original.

Great words to use on your CV

Okay, so now we’ve told you what to get rid of, what should you use instead? Here are some suggestions:

  • Words to show your success: Accomplish, deliver, exceed expectations, excel, fulfil, produce, advance.
  • Words to convey leadership: Inspire, enlist, coordinate, energise, encourage, chair, supervise, delegate, direct.
  • Words that demonstrate the value you add: Boost, accelerate, establish, implement, introduce, solve, upgrade, innovate.
  • Words that exhibit adaptability: Acquire, educate, develop, master.
  • Words to show you’re helpful: Collaborate, assist, support, facilitate, contribute, advise.
  • Words that reflect your enthusiasm: Dedication, passion, determination, aspiration, energy, fascination.
  • Words to use instead of ability: Strength, capability, aptitude, flair, forte, capacity.

A little insider knowledge

Another excellent pro-tip for working out what language and words to use on your CV is to read job adverts or descriptions. Even if you can’t find a specific one to apply for, looking at different ones for similar roles will help you identify what employers are looking for.

When the recruiting manager is scanning CVs, they’ll be drawn to the words that reflect their own. For example, if they say a role is customer-centric, how have you used that in your CV? By doing this, you can show that you’re already aligned with who they’re looking for and the culture of the organisation. Additionally, if they use recruitment software to help them manage applications, it will ensure that your CV is shortlisted.

Take the time to craft your CV and it will pay off when it gets noticed by employers.


Love Success is a leading London PA & office support recruitment agency.
Our expert recruiters can help you find permanent and temporary jobs in London.

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