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Most people understand the language they should be using when writing a CV – keep it positive, aspirational and enthusiastic. But the thing is, while words like ‘independent’, ‘multi-tasker’, and ‘flexible’ are appropriately used to describe the ideal employee, they are often words that applicants should steer clear of using in a CV as they are overused clichés that add little meaning to demonstrate your abilities without evidence.
If they make up the integral part of the role or the requirements then, of course, it's inevitable that it’s featured in your CV. And when that happens, make sure you're illustrating how and what makes you an independent, flexible multitasker – don't just tell them that you are or are not something, ensure that you are giving enough details to prove it.
But enough about the words that you shouldn’t use, here are some of the words that you should be including instead in your CV. These are just a selection of a few common but overarching qualities employers tend to look for so, incorporating them into your CV will show your competency and suitability for a role.
The go-to rule to remember here is that you should only include words that accurately describe your personality and your abilities. Just like telling a lie, doing otherwise will only backfire. Here are eight of the most popular but essential words to include in your CV:
Responsibility is often mistakenly seen as an unnecessary quality to include in a CV when in fact, is one of the most crucial aspects that all employers look for. This will not only demonstrate to potential employers that you will take ownership of your actions but that you will also be a key team member capable of executing tasks effectively. By taking ownership of your actions and duties, you will be trusted to produce high-quality work and take pride in it.
Companies and enterprises of all sizes typically set a minimum set of requirements for all its employees to hit but, that doesn't mean that you should coast. In an ideal world of work, all workers and employees should be contributing consistently, going above and beyond their role. It's simple math: the more effort, the better the performance and results. So be sure to include and illustrate your proactivity if you are a proactive individual!
Just like proactiveness, adaptability is a trait that will pique the interest of any potential employers no matter the industry. By showing your ability to adapt and change depending on circumstances, you'll be communicating your effectiveness and willingness to learn and grow. Not to mention that this will also show your creativity and ability to think outside the box! To show you are adaptable keep an open mind when people come to you with challenges and try to offer a helping hand whenever possible – after all, two heads are better than one.
Confidence is never a negative quality so long as you don’t cross over the fine line into being cocky or arrogant. Instead of describing yourself as a confident individual in your personal statement, you can convey it by using a carefully curated set of words and tone. One great way to do so is by replacing weak words like ‘quite’ or ‘very’ with more compelling and specific words. Statements like ‘my role as a consultant had quite an impact on the overall performance of the team at X’ is far less persuasive and convincing than ‘my role as a consultant have resulted in a 23% increase in productivity over of six months at X.’
Employers won’t just assume that you are determined and willing to work hard, you have to convince them that you are and will be a key team player. Where a lot of people go wrong here is that they tend to write mundane, generic sentences that are along the lines of ‘I am a hard worker’ in their CV.
Anyone can write that they are hard-working but, what differentiates between telling and convincing is providing evidence to back up your statement. The best approach here is to select a few instances where you have executed a task effectively beyond what is expected and using it as a point of reference. Make sure to give multiple examples of this to avoid sounding like you are milking that one instance where you did well.
Don’t underestimate the power of reliability as it elicits trust and assurance of performance. Businesses benefit tremendously when an employee is consistently executing tasks because productivity equals better performance. Even if you have made a mistake or may miss a deadline, communicate well with the relevant people so that the issue can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
We all know that to do a job well, you have to be committed. And the only way to give 100% to your work, is to be 100% committed. So, of course, employers will always keep an eye out for individuals who can and are willing to commit. Similar to confidence, you can show how committed you are in your CV by highlighting your commitment towards projects, companies or even goals.
Companies are always looking forward and trying to move ahead to beat competing businesses. This means that they are looking for individuals who can think of fresh new ideas, so they can stay one step ahead of the rival companies. Consider illustrating previous innovations in past roles or present an innovative outlook throughout your CV. You can do this by using aspirational and ambitious language and tone of voice to show that you are always looking ahead and moving forward.
Your CV is the first instance that an employer will get to 'meet' you, so you'll need to let your personality shine through words. And words, like most things, can convey different messages but especially in CVs, using the right combination of diction, language and tone is gold. While there isn't an absolute right or wrong when it comes to choosing the words used in a CV, picking the terms related to your field or skills in a positive, assertive tone will help to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the role.