Choosing the right words to let your CV shine

I cannot over-state the importance of choosing the right buzz words for your CV. A CV tends to be only two pages long, so every word counts – and preparing a good CV is the first, and a very important, step on getting the job that you want, writes Sabina Trench, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

The correct words in your CV – and, indeed, in your interview – can make all the difference. The words you use to express yourself say much more about you than you think. You are judged by the words you use. When you are looking for a job it is not only important to use the ‘right’ words– it is essential.

Tense up

All your previous jobs, tasks and duties should be written in the past tense.

For example, if you managed something in the past or handled cash transactions in a shop, make sure to put these tasks in the past tense, because straight away that makes them sound a lot stronger. When you use the past tense, it shows more competence about your skills and experience: they are seen as something you have acquired over a period of time.

Take a look over your current CV and ….

Powerful or buzz words

Everyone manages something during their work, but the most important thing is how you manage it. This is the moment where the buzz words can add their value. Expressions such as ‘successfully’ or ‘effectively manage’ can help to make a difference in writing a good CV.

One of the expressions we try to avoid on a CV is “responsible for”. People can be responsible for a lot of things, but this does not prove that they are good at them. The idea here is to paint the picture a little bit more beyond just stating the actions. That is where you move from a flat CV to a good one.

One thing I want to add in terms of buzz words such as effectively, successfully and motivated is to make sure to use them in a way that is adding value to what you are trying to describe.

Don’t use them automatically and just because you listened to a radio show that talked about the importance of using of –ly adverbs on a CV. Make sure to use buzz words effectively and only here and there when you need it. Don’t over-egg it because it can then lose impact.

Be clear

Remember that you need to back up anything that you write down on a CV. You are limited to a two-page document and you should keep these pages as clean as you possibly can, in terms of the words you use. Your CV should be a document which impacts the person who is going to read for the first time, so the avoidance of jargon words is crucial.

It is important to use a strong and precise vocabulary when writing your CV or cover letter. By choosing the right words, you strengthen and showcase your profile. The clearer your sentences, the more solid your CV, and the more you will inspire your recruiter’s or employer’s confidence through your concision.

Sli Nua Careers ( ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Castlebar ), Limerick, Sligo, Nava, Cork and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit



Page generated in 0.0554 seconds.