Adjectives to use on your CV for maximum impact

Updated 7 August 2023

Whenever you're writing a CV, it's important that you use adjectives that enable you to present yourself as the ideal candidate for any role. Choosing the right adjectives can be tricky, therefore some level of guidance and a systematic way of thinking is important to ensure that you're using the right one . In this article, we explain why using the right adjectives on you r CV is important, how you can use them and what the right adjectives are for different skills.

Related: How to write a CV employers will notice

Why are CV adjectives important?

Using the right adjectives is important because it allows you to present yourself as the ideal candidate that companies want to hire. They are powerful descriptors that allow you to talk about your skills and experiences in a thoughtful and creative manner, thereby impressing the managers who look at your CV.

Another major advantage is that employers can easily understand what areas you excel in. Using the right set of adjectives conveys to them that you are proficient with written communication and have an excellent command of the English language. Including this on your application can make you stand out by presenting yourself as a creative candidate and leaving a lasting impression in the minds of recruiters.

What are some CV adjectives that you can use?

The adjectives that you can use on your CV depend on two things. The first is your qualities that you are trying to convey, the second is qualities of the organisation itself. Tailoring your adjectives to what recruiters are looking for is a good way to ensure that your application is attractive. A list of some of the key adjectives, sorted by category, are :

Leadership adjectives

Leadership adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you have a strong desire to lead and motivate your team members. The words that describe these leadership skills include:

  • reliable

  • rousing

  • influential

  • decisive

  • accountable

  • determined

  • disciplined

  • inclusive

Finance adjectives

Financial adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you have a keen grasp of financial concepts. These words include:

  • trustworthy

  • honest

  • thorough

  • ardent

  • industrious

  • devoted

  • earnest

  • diligent

Technology adjectives

Technology adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you have a keen eye for technology and are updated with the latest technological developments. The adjectives that you can use include:

  • proficient

  • meticulous

  • cutting-edge

  • innovative

  • visionary

  • ground-breaking

  • revolutionary

  • sophisticated

  • unprecedented

Marketing adjectives

Marketing adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you know how to engage customers and sell the products of the company. The adjectives that you can use include:

  • creative

  • thoughtful

  • engaging

  • creative

  • dynamic

  • enthusiastic

  • energetic

  • amiable

  • charming

  • articulate

  • clear

  • compelling

Sales adjectives

Sales adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you're a proficient communicator and that you can talk to a diverse group of people. You want to show that you can convey the message that you or the company wants to send to customers. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • dynamic

  • diplomatic

  • determined

  • respectful

  • flexible

  • positive

  • personable

  • assertive

  • articulate

  • eloquent

  • tactful

  • persuasive

Customer service adjectives

Customer service adjectives on your CV demonstrate your communication skills and ability to resolve conflicts in a calm and composed manner. This is an essential skill in all customer service roles. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • sociable

  • patient

  • amicable

  • pleasant

  • proactive

  • thoughtful

  • clear

  • thorough

  • cordial

  • tireless

Manufacturing adjectives

Manufacturing adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you can strike a balance between the quality and quantity of your work. This shows you can focus on company standards being met while also meeting sales and production targets. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • industrious

  • focused

  • results-driven

  • productive

  • methodical

  • structured

  • purposeful

  • detailed

  • precise

  • thorough

Creative adjectives

Creative adjectives on your CV demonstrate your propensity to innovate and come up with new and unique ideas to solve seemingly complex problems. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • imaginative

  • novel

  • inventive

  • ingenious

  • unique

  • progressive

  • vivid

  • robust

Productivity adjectives

Productivity adjectives on your CV demonstrate to demonstrate your ability to exceed the expectations of your employer by managing your workload effectively. Use these CV adjectives to demonstrate that you can focus on the important parts of your job while also completing administrative tasks on time. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • economical

  • industrious

  • prolific

  • strong

  • competent

  • profitable

  • constructive

  • cost-effective

  • diligent

  • dedicated

Communication adjectives

Communication adjectives on your CV demonstrate that you can talk to all the members of your team and work together with them in a collaborative manner, engaging with each member of the team performing tasks that are well-suited to their strengths and skills. The adjectives that you can use for this purpose include:

  • tactful

  • mindful

  • supportive

  • assertive

  • persuasive

  • approachable

  • articulate

  • diplomatic

  • respectful.

Related: 139 action verbs to make your CV stand out

How to incorporate adjectives on your CV

The process of incorporating adjectives on your CV is quite simple and straightforward, yet it requires you to set a process and then follow it to ensure efficiency. The main steps involved in using effective adjectives on your CV are to identify the best adjective, confirm its meaning, combine it with an action word and then include all the details. Each of these topics has been discussed below in detail.

1. Choose the right word

First, identify the trait you wish to display, and then look at the list above to decide which word you think looks best in the context. Then, scan the job description to identify if any similar adjectives have been used by the company on the job description, or go through the company website to find instances of similar words being valued by the company.

Lastly, you can also look at the CVs of other industry professionals to get an idea of which words are suitable to be used on your CV and which ones you can use to make a good impression. Over time, you become more and more experienced when writing and editing your CV. You can then gain a better understanding of how you can choose the right adjective from a list of words in a natural and easy manner.

2. Confirm the meaning of the word

Once you've completed the search and identified the word that you think is best for the given situation, check the meaning of the word. The best way to do this is by using the Internet or a dictionary.

This is important because even words that sound like they have the same meaning can mean different things in context, so it's crucial for you to know the exact meaning of the word you're using. This helps you ensure that the word you end up using is appropriate for writing a job application, and fits in the context of the sentence that you have used it in. If you feel that the word is not appropriate based on its meaning and usage, then you go back to Step 1 and find another word that meets your criteria.

3. Combine the adjective with an action word

You can back up the adjectives that you mention on your CV with your work experiences to form full sentences. The best and easiest way to do this is to combine the adjectives that you have selected with an action word, and then use it to describe the work that you did at your previous work experiences.

This way, ensure that your CV fully mentions the work that you did as a part of your job while ensuring that the adjectives you have selected are also being conveyed to the management or whoever reads your CV. Occasionally, some people choose to bold a few important words on their CV. This allows a reader who is reading the document quickly can still easily read the key parts of their CV and get a brief idea about their work experience.

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

4. Include details wherever possible

Another key aspect to remember whenever introducing adjectives in your CV is that they're part of the process that gets you to interviews. Combine these adjectives with highly specific bullet points and try to use any numbers and statistics to back up your achievements wherever possible. Since most CVs contain the same kinds of information, your specific and detailed CV is a welcome change to the recruiter and help you stand out from all the other people who have applied for the same job.

Related articles

450 CV action words to make your job application stand out

Explore more articles

  • How to write a warehouse assistant cover letter (with samples)
  • How To Write a Marketing Cover Letter To Impress Employers
  • How To Write a Lawyer Cover Letter (With Examples)
  • What To Include in an Operations Manager CV (With Examples)
  • How to write an artistic CV (With template and example)
  • How to write a cabin crew CV (with template and examples)
  • 6 practices for CV screening (plus processes and tips)
  • How To Write a Marketing Manager CV (With Template and Example)
  • How to write a warehouse CV with no experience (with sample)
  • How to write an archivist CV (with template and example)
  • How to write a train driver CV (with template and example)
  • A guide to writing an accounting personal statement