What words will give my CV a competitive edge? | Pertemps

When writing a CV, people can be so focused on the message they are trying to convey that often the words you use are overlooked. It’s important to go back to basics and work on your craft. When deciding who to interview, employers are looking for individuals that stand out from the pool of applications they receive.


 CV for job application


Out with the old

Recruiters have their own pet peeves when it comes to the words people use in their CVs.  Unless you have some extraordinary telepathic abilities, it can be tricky to know what these words are. However, there are some common pitfalls you can avoid and a little creative thinking can go a long way:

  • Move on from motivatedUnfortunately using the word ‘motivated’ certainly won’t come across to a recruiter that you are some who feels motivated enough to make their CV stand out. Try word such as inspired, ambitious.
  • It’s easy to be experienced - Let’s try some of these words and phrases instead:  responsible for, adaptable, professional, successful because of… Remember, it’s not enough to say you’re experienced - you must always back up with examples to prove how you have become a seasoned professional in your field.
  • Be careful with creative - This is quite possibly the most overused word a recruiter will see. You may have done something truly creative in your previous job, but instead of saying it, give examples to drive your point home. Include the word ‘created’ instead as it shows that you’ve produced something new and original.


Cut the clichés

 Employers have heard all the cliché jargon before. Most candidates who have used them will not have delivered. So, be original and truthful; after all, you are only going to have to prove yourself and your character in the interview. 

  • Avoid being indirect - Phrases such as ‘I think’, ‘I believe’ and ‘I know’ take up valuable space that could be filled with important information to impress a hiring employer. Using these phrases turn your language from being direct to insecure, leaving an air of doubt surrounding your abilities.
  • No corporate waffle - Employers want your personality and experience to shine through in your CV. Using corporate jargon won’t enhance your skills and experience and should be avoided. In many cases, it will appear unclear to the hiring manager what role you’re describing and why you want the job. You need to tailor and personalise your CV to each role.
  • Make your point – Don’t follow a CV template for ease. When you craft your CV, it’s worth noting the language used in the job description and researching the company’s values and mirror these words.


Using active adverbsUsing active adverbs


Use active verbs

Active verbs pack a punch that often make your CV easy to skim. It’s no secret that recruiters can receive 100s of CVs for one job role, so your CV has got to be intriguing and easily digestible. Not only do you need to use action verbs, but it’s important to choose ones that fit your industry and have meaning. If you’re in need of the basics, here’s some to get you going:

  • Led a project - launched, devised, initiated, pioneered, implemented, coordinated, orchestrated, oversaw
  • Accomplished something great - surpassed, exceeded, awarded
  • Changed or improved – customised, influenced, integrated, merged, modified
  • You increased customer satisfaction, efficiency etc- generated, improved, lifted, maximised

Final thoughts

The biggest secret for selling your CV? Don’t use the same CV for every job you apply for. The age old saying ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ rings true! The recruiter has outlined in the job description the skills they are seeking for the role for a reason! By sending out your generic CV, you don’t get the opportunity to highlight specific skills and you could even miss out on an interview.

If you’ve nailed the CV and now you’re in desperate need of some other job search preparation tips, we have plenty of reading to keep you busy!