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Career Advice

20 Must-Have Words to Include In Your CV According to a Career Expert

Posted by Andy Agouridis

Director of CareerHigher

Last Updated June 14, 2022

When it comes to your CV, words matter. You see, communicating that you are the right candidate for the job requires using powerful, specific, and relevant words. This is what will make your application resonate with recruiters and hiring managers. On the other hand, using generic, vague, and overused words can have the opposite effect, holding you back from landing your target job. However, have no fear as I am going to share with you all the keywords you can use to make your resume stand out based on my experience as a career strategist with CareerHigher and ex-recruiter.

Firstly, when it comes to CV writing, one size doesn’t fit all. The language you use should be aligned with your candidate background and target jobs. This way, the document will represent your experience, expertise, and achievements in a way that meets the expectations of your audience. The following list of keywords includes ideas for any kind of candidate, so feel free to select the ones that apply better to you. Also, don’t forget to use our CV writing guide and avoid common CV mistakes. Without further due, here are 20 must-have keywords for your CV:

  1. Numbers
  2. Value
  3. Earn
  4. Get promoted
  5. Achieve
  6. Outperform
  7. Improve
  8. Reduce
  9. Build
  10. Eliminate
  11. Launch
  12. Redesign
  13. Modernise
  14. Pioneer
  15. Lead
  16. Organise
  17. Enable
  18. Support
  19. Be committed
  20. Coach

Numbers

If you are looking to show the impact you have made in your career, don’t keep things vague. Everyone can claim that they are good at their job, but results never lie. Using numbers, figures, and percentages can be the best way to present your achievements objectively and is highly recommended.

Value

Hiring managers dream of employees who add value to the business. Your CV is the perfect tool to use to highlight how you have added value in your career to date, which can allow hiring managers to visualise you replicating this success for them. Focus on value relevant to the scope of the roles you are targeting for maximum impact.

Earn

This is an excellent and versatile word that you can use to showcase any type of award you may have. For extra clarity, link these awards to your professional experience. Examples may include being the employee of the month, making the highest number of sales or being recognised for other contributions.

Get promoted

Getting promoted means being a strong performer. In the eyes of a recruiter, someone with a track record of promotions is likely to make an excellent employee. Thus, I recommend outlining your promotions to enable your audience to see your personal growth and career progression. Also, don’t forget to be specific about the achievements that led you there.

Achieve

Results may be the most important element of a successful CV. And while there are many powerful verbs to articulate them, achieve may be the best. You can use it at the end of each bullet in your professional experience sections to show how your actions created specific value.

Outperform

Managers are looking for people who can meet expectations. Even more, they dream of employees who can exceed expectations. Outperform is an excellent word to demonstrate examples where you managed to go above and beyond. I recommend using this keyword in your professional experience section to highlight key achievements.

Improve

Continuous improvement is at the heart of every successful business. No matter what your role, department or industry may be, you are always expected to make things better. Improve is another word that you can use to communicate objective results to your audience, showing them that you are the right person for the job.

Reduce

Apart from getting better, businesses are also looking to reduce waste, problems, and costs. If any of these has been under your remit, don’t forget to include this in your CV. At the end of the day, every hiring manager is looking for employees who can find workable solutions.

Build

Creation is a central component of business growth. Some jobs are all about developing something new, like launching a product or penetrating a market. In other cases, creation may be more subtle, such as designing a process or developing a team. In any case, build is a great keyword to describe how you have created value with your work.

Eliminate

Eliminate is a strong verb that can make your CV compelling. Businesses always have issues that they want to get rid of. For example, health & safety incidents or product quality problems. Being able to provide solutions that completely eliminate business problems can make you stand out from other candidates.

Launch

Regardless of whether it is a new product, business or partnership, being responsible for a launch is no easy feat. Especially when you have led a successful launch, it’s imperative to highlight it in your CV, as any employer would appreciate this achievement. For maximum impact, make sure to mention how the launch benefited the business.

Redesign

Business transformation is a key trend that is not expected to slow down anytime soon, as it enables companies to leverage technology in pursuit of their goals. Typically, these projects include redesigning teams, processes, and systems. If you have been involved in any of the above, redesign is an excellent verb to communicate your experience.

Modernise

Business is changing faster than ever and those who adapt, win. Modernisation is a key part of the agenda for many companies, and employers are constantly on the lookout for people who can make this happen. I recommend using modernise to demonstrate your ability to drive a cutting-edge business.

Pioneer

Innovation and creativity are qualities that enabled many leading businesses to flourish. Apple, Google, and Amazon are only some of the companies that focused on pioneering new solutions and we all know how successful they’ve become. Include the word pioneer in your CV for all cases where you introduced a concept, process or product.

Lead

Leadership may be one of the most important skills in business. With every employer looking for leaders, it’s imperative to showcase your leadership capability. I suggest using lead to communicate any task or activity where you drove the business forward.

Organise

At work, organisation is key. Any team needs someone who is a strong organiser to keep things running smoothly. If this is you, organise is a highly recommended verb to use in your professional experience section.

Enable

While leadership is important, no team would get far without team members who enable a business to achieve its goals. If you are at the stage of your career where this is your role, make sure the hiring manager knows.

Support

If you are an early-career professional, supporting your team may be your main goal. Junior employees who can help drive the business forward are always well appreciated. Therefore, use this verb to list all the tasks and activities where you added value.

Be committed

Commitment is considered to be one of the most crucial qualities. No matter what your role is, being committed to your goals can make the difference between success and failure. Using the word committed throughout the hiring process is highly recommended and your CV is not an exception.

Coach

Self-development is an important skill. What is even better is contributing to the developers of others, too. If you are a strong coach or mentor who builds and develops teams, let prospective employers know. They would be delighted to hire someone who can help the team grow.

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