The Top 25 Words to Describe Yourself on Your CV
Struggling to find the words to describe yourself and enhance your resumé? Then try out our CV buzzwords, key adjectives and examples, which will boost your chances of getting your dream job.
14. Sense of humour
21. On time
I am a talented, ambitious and hardworking individual, with broad skills and experience in digital and printed marketing, social media and leading projects.
37. Safe Pair of Hands
39. Subject Matter Expert
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 resumé.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Else Should You Be Wary Of?
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.
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.
Including a Headshot/Photograph
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!
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?
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
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 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.
Why Is This Question Asked?
No, it’s not to make you uncomfortable or to wax philosophical about how your early childhood turned you into the person you are today. Interviewers ask this question because they are looking for two key pieces of information.
First, they want to honestly know how you perceive yourself, as that can tell them a lot about your personality and character. Second, they’re figuring out how well you’ll fit into the company culture (which 84 percent of hiring managers think is essential) if you’re hired, as certain traits may align better.
Just remember, this is just one question the hiring manager could ask you in your interview! That’s why we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview.
Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!
FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our “Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet” that gives you ” word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you’ll face at your next interview .
While “how would you describe yourself” is one of the most popular forms of questions in this arena, it isn’t the only one you might encounter. Some common variations also make the rounds, including alternatives like:
While each of those questions is a bit different, they’re all focused on the same kind of answer. Since that’s the case, knowing how to describe yourself if asked “how would you describe yourself” can help you shine when answering any of these alternatives.