Top Adjectives to Use on a Cover Letter
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Characteristics of an Effective Application Letter
How to write a letter looking for work, how to demonstrate professionalism.
- How to Write a First-Class Cover Letter
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Jazz up your cover letter with catchy adjectives that will spotlight your best personal attributes. Undoubtedly, you have a long list of adjectives that describe you, but you should select the adjectives that match the job you’re seeking. If the job description is vague, then go with adjectives that employers commonly prefer. Adjectives such as team oriented, flexible, adaptable, hard working, creative and organized are among the top choices, according to a 2018 National Association of Colleges and Employers report.
Write down words that you and others would use to describe you. For instance, are you an upbeat, imaginative and resourceful person? If so, add the adjectives to your list and consider using them in your cover letter. Pursue jobs that sound like they were written with someone like you in mind. In your cover letter, insert at least three personal qualities that best describe you.
In addition to five years of experience in auto parts sales, I am an outgoing, ambitious and assertive individual, which makes me well-suited for a sales position at your fast-paced auto dealership.
Job Skill Qualifiers
Tailor your cover letter to the coveted position as best you can. Many human resources departments outright reject applications that don’t specifically talk about how the applicant meets the required qualifications. In other words, if the ad says attention to detail is required, you must mention something about that in your cover letter.
I am a detail-oriented secretary who carefully proofreads my emails, correspondence and reports.
Degree of Motivation
Employers know that most applicants who look qualified on paper could do the job. The tricky part is deciding which person would be a super star and add value to the organization. For instance, many jobs seek a dynamic, bold, confident and poised self-starter. Cover letters give valuable insight into the applicant’s values, priorities, character and drive.
My references will confirm that I am a determined, tenacious, and goal-driven real estate agent.
Add impact to your cover letter by using adjectives that make your best qualities pop out on the page. For instance, don’t just simply say you are a waitress. Describe yourself as a fast, friendly, customer-service oriented server. Most jobs require people skills, so employers check the cover letter for examples of how you get along with people and relate to others. Use adjectives that highlight your interpersonal qualities.
I continually strive to be an organized, efficient, poised, loyal and dedicated executive assistant.
Ethics and Integrity
If you are hoping to work in a job that involves handling confidential information, you should note any previous training and experience working in the area of data privacy, if any. Employers prefer applicants who understand the potentially damaging consequences of data breaches. Use adjectives in your cover letter that provide assurance of your commitment to following privacy rules and regulations.
I pride myself in being an ethical person. I only apply to jobs at companies that have an established reputation for honesty and integrity. I thoroughly understand the importance of storing sensitive data securely, out of respect for patient privacy.
- California State University, Sacramento: Career Handbook
- Kent State University: Adjectives & Adverbs Add Impact
- Aultman College: Adjective and Adverbs List
Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs from Minnesota State Mankato. Helping students succeed has been her passion while serving in many areas of student affairs and adjunct teaching. Currently she is a dean of students at a large, public university. Dr. Dpwd’s writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles.
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100 Resume Adjectives (and How to Use Them Right)
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You’re up against a lot of competition in your job search . While numbers can vary a lot depending on the company and position, a recruiter receives an average of 250 resumes for every job opening.
That’s where resume adjectives can help. Choosing the right adjectives can add some oomph to your otherwise cut-and-dried document.
But which ones should you choose and how can you use them effectively? Let’s break down 100 strong adjectives, as well as some do’s and don’ts, so you can use them right. Use this as your guide, and you’ll take your resume up a notch — and maybe even end up at the top of that recruiter’s stack.
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Resume adjectives to describe your analytical ability
Resume adjectives to describe your communication style
Resume adjectives to describe your collaboration skills
Resume adjectives to describe your work ethic
Resume adjectives to describe your adaptability
Resume adjectives to describe your creativity
Resume adjectives to describe your leadership style
Where should you use resume adjectives?
All of those words are great, but that doesn’t mean you can just plop them into random places on your resume. You need to be strategic about where you use them so that they add value, rather than distract from your qualifications.
Let’s dig into the details of a few different places where you can leverage resume adjectives.
1. Your career or professional summary
This is the blurb that you include at the very top of your document. Not every resume has one, but it can be an effective way to provide a little more context that won’t be captured in your bullet points. It’s also a great spot to include some adjectives to describe your skills and experiences.
Content marketing manager with 5+ years of experience creating and executing forward-thinking content strategies. Possesses an inquisitive eye for performance analytics and dynamic writing, editing, and SEO skills. Committed to providing energizing leadership for content teams.
2. Your job description bullet points
Think the bullet points under your previous jobs need to be straightforward and boring? Think again. You can incorporate some adjectives there to make those bullets more impressive and engaging to read.
Content Marketing Manager, January 2017 - July 2020
Company XYZ | New York, New York
- Strategized and created a groundbreaking content strategy, which resulted in an 85 percent increase in free trial conversions.
- Led and mentored a multifaceted content team of 14 writers, editors, graphic designers, and SEO specialists.
- Pursued and exceeded ambitious content goals, including boosting website traffic 50 percent within one year.
3. Your key skills section
Have you heard of “tailoring” your resume for each job you apply for? Your skills section is an easy place to do this, as you can swap in some different key terms you see listed in the job description. However, it’s also a spot where you can incorporate resume adjectives to elaborate on your competencies.
- Advanced knowledge of Google Analytics and Clearscope
- Thorough audience research
- Persuasive and respectful communication
See? Peppering some adjectives into your resume isn’t as tough as you might think it is.
Be aware that you can also incorporate them in your cover letter . Your resume needs to be as concise as possible, but your cover letter provides a little more wiggle room to use this type of descriptive language.
Using resume adjectives effectively: do’s and don’ts
You don’t just want to use resume adjectives — you want to use them well . Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you do that.
1. Do be honest
Honesty is always the best policy on your resume, and that applies to your adjectives too. You can’t pick one just because you think it sounds good. You need to be able to back it up. So, when you select an adjective, ask yourself if that honestly describes you. If you hesitate even a little bit, it’s best to choose another word.
2. Don’t overdo it
Everything is better in moderation. If you pack your resume full with dozens of adjectives, your document might seem like all fluff and no substance. Make sure you’re only using one at a time — there’s no need to string them all together.
3. Do use them as a complement
Adjectives are meant to emphasize and elaborate on the qualifications you bring to the table. Use them when you feel like you need to add more detail and impact to a statement. For example, you don’t just have knowledge of Google Analytics — you have expert knowledge.
4. Don’t use them as a replacement
With that said, adjectives don’t really carry much weight on their own. They can’t serve as a substitute for your experience, and you’re still better off highlighting results and quantifying achievements wherever you can. Remember, “ Strategized and created a content strategy, which resulted in an 85 percent increase in free trial conversions” is still more powerful than only saying “Strategized and created a groundbreaking content strategy.”
Resume adjectives can help you stand out (as long as you use them correctly)
Your resume is your golden ticket in the door when you’re job searching. But, when recruiters are receiving piles and piles of documents that look the same, how can you stand out?
Resume adjectives can take your resume from good to great. Use this guide to leverage those words, elevate yourself above the competition, and land an interview — and maybe even the job.
Adjectives are powerful, but they’re no replacement for cold, hard skills. GoSkills has courses to help you build some hard skills to impress your next employer, as well as soft skills courses and resources to help you stand out even more. Try a few today!
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Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.
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100 Powerful Resume Adjectives that Can Help Make Your Resume More Compelling
11 min read · Updated on November 15, 2022
When it comes to resumes, it's not just what you say; it's how you say it that determines its impact on the reader.
The resume creation process is notoriously challenging for many people. Too often, job candidates end up with resumes that are dry, dull, and anything but compelling. Even when you manage to meticulously organize all the right details into a coherent narrative, the end product can leave the reader unimpressed if the words you use fail to make your case. One of the most important things that you can do to create a compelling resume is to understand which adjectives you can use to powerfully sell your experiences, skills, and accomplishments.
In this post, we will explore 100 of the most powerful resume adjectives and offer some simple tips that can help you better determine where and how to use power adjectives in your resume.
For ease of reading, we have separated these adjectives into groupings that reflect their best uses within any resume setting:
describe communication abilities
illustrate your flexibility
describe your attitude about work
expand on your management skills
describe your analytical and problem-solving skills
illustrate your organizational abilities
describe your teamwork skills
describe your leadership abilities
highlight time management skills
demonstrate your creative thinking
10 Resume adjectives that can powerfully describe your communication abilities
Most job seekers claim to have good communication skills and will often refer to themselves as great communicators in their resumes or during interviews. All too often, however, they will use words and phrases that are stale or carry negative connotations. For example, you might consider yourself an aggressive negotiator who can effectively secure a deal through sheer force of will and sound reasoning. But what would a hiring manager think when they hear you use the word “aggressive” in that instance?
Instead of saying “aggressive”, you should use a softer but equally descriptive word like “assertive.” You should also avoid tired phrases like “easy to understand” and opt for words like “clear” or “coherent” instead. Instead of describing yourself as a “people person” use the word “personable.” With that in mind, here are 10 great resume adjectives you can use to describe your communication abilities:
10 Resume adjectives you can use to illustrate your flexibility
Instead of simply declaring that you are flexible in the workplace, you should try to use resume adjectives that illustrate that flexibility in a more creative way. The following adjectives can provide hiring managers with a more insightful understanding of your ability to deal with change and tell a much more compelling statement about the type of employee they would get if they decided to hire you.
10 Resume adjectives that describe your attitude about work
Are you a hard worker who will give your all to the company that hires you? You can say those words to a hiring manager, but what does that really mean to any prospective employer? The powerful adjectives listed below can better describe your overall attitude and work ethic in a more detailed and compelling way, painting a clearer picture of how you will approach your job.
10 Resume adjectives that expand on your management skills
Management candidates often use the same language to describe their styles and abilities: well-coordinated, focused on productivity and meeting goals, people-oriented, etc. A resume that includes those claims can easily get lost in the shuffle, along with a hundred other resumes that repeat those same words and phrases. To get noticed, you need to use powerful resume adjectives like the ones listed below to juice up your resume and stand out from the crowd.
10 Resume adjectives to use when describing your analytical and problem-solving skills
Analytical problem-solvers are a dime a dozen these days—at least they are if you only rely on how people describe themselves in resumes. Unfortunately, those buzzwords have become so overused that they have all but lost meaning. They are now almost nothing more than generalized descriptions of skills that should require much more elaboration. The good news is that you can provide that detailed look at your analytical and problem-solving skills by including some of these powerful resume adjectives.
10 Resume adjectives that illustrate your organizational abilities
Does your resume describe you as organized? What do you think a hiring manager thinks when they read the word “organized” in your resume summary or skills section? That's right; not much of anything at all. To really convey your organizational skills, you need to use adjectives that drill down to the habits and work styles that make you an organized employee. For example:
10 Resume adjectives that are useful for describing your teamwork skills
“Teamwork” might make the dream work, but it's not a great word to focus on in your resume. Why? Because it's another one of those words that get overused. More importantly, it really doesn't describe the qualities that make you a great team player. However, the adjectives we listed for you below will achieve that goal for you by illustrating the character traits and attitudes that help you function effectively in any group setting.
10 Resume adjectives you can use to describe your leadership abilities
Great leaders never trumpet their leadership abilities. After all, they don't need to boast about being good leaders; their actions and attitudes do the bragging for them. So, if you have great leadership skills, don't just say that in your resume. Instead, use some of the compelling adjectives below to make that case for you.
10 Resume adjectives that highlight time management skills
Companies want to know that potential employees can manage their time effectively. As a result, it is important to be able to convince any prospective employer that you have the time management skills needed to be as productive as they expect. To make that case, you need to do more than simply claim that you know how to manage your own time. You need to describe qualities that they can reasonably expect to help you achieve that efficiency and productivity. These resume adjectives are great options to help them reach that conclusion.
10 Powerful adjectives to demonstrate your creative thinking
Today's top companies are always in the market for creative thinkers to add to their teams. That probably explains why so many job seekers insist on describing themselves in those terms on their resumes. But like other tired phrases, those words can easily be dismissed by any hiring manager who wants to see some hint of evidence that you really are creative. One way to demonstrate that creativity is to get creative with the resume adjectives you use to describe your innovative approach to work. Try some of these resume adjectives to really highlight that creative thinking:
Adjectives you should never include in a resume
Throughout the sections above, we have pointed out why some of the most commonly used skill descriptors are too broad or stale to make for compelling descriptions in your resume. Obviously, those are not the only descriptive words that you should avoid when you are creating your resume. In fact, there are a whole host of commonly overused or inappropriate adjectives that people frequently choose for their resume descriptions.
For example, does your resume include words like “proactive” or “synergistic”? If so, nix them. Likewise, you can omit clever words like “seasoned” from your document, as well as overused words like “hard-working”. While they have long been trendy descriptors used by many thousands of job seekers, they are now considered more than a little cliché.
You should also avoid using words that sound subjective. For example, don't describe yourself as honest, smart, or loyal. If you are those things, the hiring manager will notice from your resume or interview. More importantly, those traits are often relative. You may think you are loyal, but your definition of loyalty and someone else's may be dramatically different. Stick to demonstrable facts that can be objectively verified.
There are also some words that can create negative emotions for those who read them. Yes, you might think of yourself as ambitious, but should you describe yourself in those terms? Not in a resume. The word competitive is another one that might sound innocent enough in casual conversation but might not sound so attractive to a hiring manager who reads your resume.
Finally, you should avoid using words that seem like you're stating the obvious. Never say that you are professional; it should be assumed and demonstrated. Other obvious words include qualified, responsible, and knowledgeable. If you think about it for a few minutes, you can probably produce your own list of adjectives that are just too obvious to be useful in any resume.
How to use resume adjectives properly
To make the best use of these adjectives and others like them, you need to know when and where to use them in your resume. There are three main areas where they can help you create a more compelling narrative:
your resume summary
your work experience section
your skills section
Why you need resume adjectives in your resume summary
Your resume summary is designed to be a condensed elevator pitch that captures the hiring manager's attention and brevity is vital to achieving that goal. The judicious use of powerful resume adjectives can help you create a compelling introduction in a brief way.
How resume adjectives can juice up your work experience
Good resume adjectives can enable you to effectively describe your achievements in the experience section of your resume. Be sure to select adjectives that highlight the skills and competencies you will need for the position you are seeking, to help the hiring manager quickly understand the value you can provide for their company.
Resume adjectives can add flavor to your skills
The skills section on any resume is even briefer than the resume summary, but that doesn't mean that adjectives can't enhance its effectiveness. Choose strong adjectives to couple with your skills to give that section a little more flavor and descriptiveness.
Tips to guide you as you incorporate powerful resume adjectives into your resume
Finally, we would be remiss if we failed to provide some tips that you can use to guide your usage of resume adjectives. After all, you don't want to simply start inserting adjectives in a random way. Fortunately, there are some helpful things that you can do to ensure that you make the best use of resume adjectives. For example:
Do not use too many adjectives. While it might seem that more is better than less, that is seldom the case when it comes to descriptive words. Too many resume adjectives will give the impression that you're trying too hard to make your case.
Adjectives can embellish your skills and experiences, but they cannot take their place. Use them for elaboration and emphasis only.
Always make sure that you can justify an adjective's use with real achievements and data. Overhyping your skills or experiences could work against you if the hiring manager sees no evidence to support your claims.
Carefully choose adjectives from this post or other sources, and make sure that they are relevant to your experience, skills, and the job description .
Link adjectives to powerful action verbs that help you tell a compelling story about your value as an employee.
When it comes to creating a compelling resume, you need to do as much as possible in a limited amount of space. To that end, the words you choose will ultimately determine your resume's effectiveness. Knowing which resume adjectives to use and when to use them can help ensure that you craft your career narrative in a way that maximizes your opportunity for success.
Wondering whether your resume is making adequate use of compelling and powerful adjectives? Take advantage of our free resume review opportunity to learn whether your resume has what it takes to make the right impression on prospective employers!
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The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right
Published: September 21, 2023
Fun isn’t something typically associated with writing a cover letter. But the cover letter examples below show that it’s possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process.
45% of job seekers don't include a cover letter when applying for a job. But this is a mistake, because your cover letter is a chance to tell the stories your resume only outlines. It's an opportunity for you to highlight your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.
Are you ready to showcase your unique skills and experience? Or are you looking for more tips and cover letter inspiration?
Keep reading for 20+ cover letter examples, then check out tips for cover letter formatting and what makes a cover letter great .
5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.
- Standard Cover Letter Template
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Template
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Cover Letter Examples
- Standard Cover Letter Example
- Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
- Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
- The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
- The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
- The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
- Short-and-Sweet Cover Letter Example
- The Short Story
- The Bare Bones Cover Letter
- The Breezy Follow-Up
- The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
- The Internship Cover Letter
- The Brutally Honest Cover Letter
- The Pivot Cover Letter
- The Graphic Design Cover Letter
- Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
- Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
- General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
- Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
- Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
- Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
- Director Cover Letter Example
- Editorial Cover Letter Example
- Promotion Cover Letter Example
- Law Cover Letter Example
Customizable Cover Letter Examples
In a hurry for a cover letter example you can download and customize? Check out the ones below from HubSpot’s cover letter template kit .
1. Standard Cover Letter Example
Download a Customizable Copy of This Cover Letter Example
This standard cover letter hits all the right notes: It includes a space to give a brief summary of your experience, as well as a space to delve in-depth into the specific responsibilities of your current role. You also have the chance to describe the challenges you’ve mastered in previous roles, showing that you’re capable of facing any problem that comes your way.
Why We Love It
We love this cover letter because it allows you to describe the high points of your career while still being professional, personalized, and succinct.
2. Data-Driven Cover Letter Sample
Numbers are worth a million words — or that’s how the saying should probably go (if only we could include pictures in cover letters). Citing data and statistics about your achievements at your current company is an assured way to capture a hiring manager’s attention. Most hiring managers don’t read the entire letter, so a bulleted summary of your achievements can be a powerful way to increase the effectiveness and scannability of your message.
We love this cover letter because it’s adaptable to any role. Even if you don’t work in a data-centric role, you can include any enumerable achievement. If you’re in a creative industry, for instance, you can include the number of creative assets you designed for your current company.
3. Entry-Level Cover Letter Example
Applying to your first job can be stress-inducing, to say the least. You can increase your chances of getting that first interview by including a cover letter that explains how your education can help you succeed in the role you applied for.
Look no further than this example from HubSpot. While other cover letter samples give experienced professionals the opportunity to share their experience at length, this one gives you the chance to describe your personal and professional attributes. You can then convey how you can use your knowledge to help your target company reach its goals.
We love this cover letter because it’s easy and simple to use for a student who has little experience in their target industry — including those who haven’t yet completed an internship.
Looking for more? Download the entire kit below.
5 Professional Cover Letter Templates
Fill out the form to access your templates., best cover letter examples.
What does a good cover letter look like in practice, and how can you make yours stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.
Note: Some of these cover letters include real company names and NSFW language that we've covered up.
1. The Cover Letter That Explains 'Why,' Not Just 'How'
You may already know how to talk about how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?
The Muse , a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.
Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.
Make sure your story is nonfiction and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.
If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.
Why This Is A Great Cover Letter
This example shows how effective personalization can be. The writer is passionate about the employer, drawing from her own childhood experience to communicate her enthusiasm.
Further reading: Sales Cover Letter Tips
2. The 'We're Meant for Each Other' Cover Letter
This cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we've even met the letter's author.
"Content Marketing Certified" shows the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here ). Our "records" indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer.
The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn't even know we had with the candidate.
The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.
(Yes, the applicant was hired).
This cover letter example does an excellent job of building rapport with the employer. Despite not getting hired for previous roles they applied for at HubSpot, the writer conveys exactly why they are right for this role.
Read more: Customer Service Cover Letter Tips
3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company's culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better , and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.
In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.
HubSpot's recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by linking her portfolio in her closing paragraph.
Featured Resource: 5 Free Cover Letter Templates
Download our collection of 5 professional cover letter templates to help you summarize your professional journey and land your dream job – whether it's at your first or fifth company.
Short Cover Letter Examples
4. the short-and-sweet cover letter.
In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, " The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received. " That letter has three complete sentences, as follows:
One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.
"The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me," writes Silverman. "Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on."
When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:
- Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under "reports to." Address your letter to that individual.
- Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.
The key to this standout cover letter is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you can create solutions for them.
Read here for more tips on how to land your dream job .
5. The Short Story
Basha Coleman began her cover letter with a short story. The goal of this short story is two-fold:
- Detail the experience she already has with the organization.
- Stand out to the hiring team.
You'll notice that her short story follows a typical narrative arc: It has a conflict/obstacle, a turning point, and a positive outcome, all created with a goal to emphasize a theme or point. In this case, Coleman is emphasizing her existing affinity with the brand and her triumphs within the program so that she can continue on her career path.
Like the second example in our list, this cover letter does an excellent job of conveying the applicant’s existing affinity for the brand. If you are applying to a company you love, don’t be shy about showing it and explaining why.
6. The Bare Bones Cover Letter
In today's job market, cover letters aren't always necessary. Even though many recruiters won't ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company.
This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.
This letter is organized and concise. The inclusion of bullet points to highlight key skills and help the recruiter skim the document is a nice touch.
Check out this post for more useful cover letter tips .
7. The Breezy Follow-Up
In this cover letter, Amanda Edens is following the instructions the hiring manager gave by forwarding an email with resume and writing samples attached.
Not only does Amanda include links to relevant writing samples that are live on the web, but she also closes with a strong final paragraph that:
- Summarizes the expertise she has relevant to the posting
- Emphasizes that she doesn't want to simply get a job but rather help the organization accomplish their goals
- The reader gets everything they need in an organized and thoughtful manner.
8. The Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
In this cover letter the candidate, Michelle, plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that.
It’s clear that she’s passionate about not only the music industry, but Epic as a whole. She’s done so much research on the company that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the hiring manager.
This example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.
In just three short paragraphs, the applicant uses their company research to drive home why they are the perfect fit for the role — emphasizing industry experience as well as software knowledge specific to the company. All of this communicates that she’d be able to start with very few hiccups while getting up to speed.
Further reading: 15 Cover Letter Templates
9. The Internship Cover Letter
Maybe you’re just getting started in your career and looking to land the right internship to gain experience in your field. In this case, you’ll need to highlight more of your educational background and transferable skills since you won’t have as much professional experience to highlight.
The cover letter above is a great example of how to emphasize your skills and accomplishments when applying to internships or entry-level positions. A few things the applicant does well:
- Highlights relevant extracurriculars and affinity networks. In this case, the applicant is applying for a business analyst position, so mentioning their involvement in a FinTech group makes sense.
- Previous internships in relevant fields: Our applicant points out that they’ve interned as a Business Analyst at another firm. Pointing out that they’ve done the role before will help make their case for fit.
- Highlight other useful skills: This applicant is fluent in both English and German. If an international company or an organization needs bilingual support, knowing multiple languages is an asset.
This cover letter example illustrates how you can leverage your education and background to get the gig even when you don’t have much working experience. Highlighting previous internships or experience in related fields can go a long way in convincing hiring managers you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
Further reading for recent graduates:
- How to Find a Job After College
- Writing a Cover Letter for an Internship
Creative Cover Letter Examples
10. the brutally honest cover letter.
Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example " the best cover letter " (which he received while he was with Squarespace):
As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.
"Remember that I'm reading these all day long," Hertzberg writes. "You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out."
The applicant did their research on the company’s culture and executed this cover letter flawlessly. It’s funny and shows off the applicant’s personality all while making it clear why they are a good fit for the role.
- How to Stand Out and Get Hired at Your Dream Company
- How to Find Your Dream Job
11. The Pivot Cover Letter
Making a career switch? Your cover letter can be an excellent opportunity for you to explain the reasoning behind your career change and how your transferable skills qualify you for the role.
Since the role she is applying for is more visual, it’s important to both show and tell why you’re a good fit.
This cover letter strikes the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity in design while putting the applicant's career change into context. The copy is clean, with a creative font choice that isn’t distracting from the content, but still demonstrates the applicant’s knack for design.
12. The Graphic Design Cover Letter
When applying for more creative roles, the design of your cover letter can say just as much as the words on the page. Take the graphic designer letter example below.
It’s got so much going for it:
- Pop of color
- Clean layout
- Interesting fonts
Besides the style elements, this example also doesn’t skimp on the key skills recruiters are looking for. Using metrics, the applicant proves their value and why they would be a great fit.
This cover letter thoroughly conveys the applicant’s skills and qualifications using a variety of visual elements and emphasizing their greatest achievements.
Pro tip: If you're applying for a graphic design job, share a link to your graphic design portfolio website , even if it's not an application requirement.
Job Cover Letter Examples
Next up, let’s go over some classic cover letter examples for jobs, especially if you’re applying to internships or only have a few years of experience. The below cover letters follow the golden rules and don’t deviate too much from the standard — which is ideal if you’re applying to positions in more traditional industries.
13. Consulting Internship Cover Letter Example
Many internship applicants are early on in their careers or are still in college. That means they’ve yet to gather enough experience to offer tangible proof of their ability to do the job. That means that a cover letter is the place where an internship applicant can shine.
This cover letter example highlights the applicant’s skills in a bullet-point format. That makes it easier for an overburdened hiring manager to get the essence of her points, quickly, if they’re only skimming cover letters. Not only that, but this applicant personalized the letter in every single sentence. She shares information about her prior conversations with some of the company’s employees and mentions the company’s name at every turn.
While she only has one prior consulting job, she deftly mentions the skills she developed in that role and ties them into her desired position at Quantcast Product Group.
This cover letter example does a fantastic job advertising the applicant’s soft skills in a highly scannable format — while still going heavy on the personalization. Don’t be shy to lightly play with formatting to get your point across and to imbue the letter with your passion for a company.
14. Nonprofit Referral Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example for a nonprofit job hits the ground running by right away inserting the name of one of the nonprofit’s Superintendents. That’s an excellent way to get a recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the slush pile, even if you’re only just out of school, as is the case for this applicant.
If you’ve received an internal recommendation for a position, you’d be wise to open your letter with that information. Don’t worry about it feeling too stilted or strange — remember, hiring managers only skim letters. Your goal is to make sure they get information about you that they otherwise won’t get from your resume.
With only three full paragraphs, this cover letter example is short, sweet, and to the point. No time is wasted, and it also goes over the critical basics, such as skills and experience.
This nonprofit cover letter includes a recommendation from an internal employee at the target organization, making it more likely to stand out from the slush pile. We also love that it doesn’t skimp on the basics, such as skills, enthusiasm, and experience.
15. General Email Inquiry Cover Letter Example
Even if a job opportunity isn’t available at an organization yet, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be. You can always send a general inquiry cover letter, like the one in this example.
This email cover letter for a political campaign internship is short and sweet, but includes the critical information the campaign coordinator needs to consider the applicant for any new positions that may open up.
The best part about this cover letter is that it can be easily customized from one political campaign employer to the next. While it does include a level of personalization, it’s brief and can be easily changed to address the specific political candidate.
When sending general inquiries like this one, it’s essential to make the personalization aspect as pain-free as possible for yourself. That may mean including only one sentence or two, knowing that a general inquiry might not be replied to.
This email cover letter example hits all the right notes while keeping it brief and to-the-point. While we don’t recommend choosing this format for a formal cover letter, it works if you’re sending a general inquiry to an employer over email. It’s also a good example to follow if you’re still in college or have very little experience.
Read more: How to Write a Letter of Interest
16. Post-Phone-Call Cover Letter Example
If you get a phone call from a potential employer and they invite you to send your resume, pat yourself on the back — that is such a win. In your cover letter, be sure to mention that right away, like this example does.
A hiring manager or an executive at a company likely has a lot of tasks on their plate, which means that they may forget about your call from one week to the next. That is totally okay, which is why this example starts with a reminder that the applicant and the letter recipient spoke back on January 31st. It also has a few more details about why they started speaking in the first place.
Aside from leveraging the phone call that’s already occurred, this cover letter also does an excellent job explaining why the applicant is an ideal choice for the job. It goes into detail about skills and previous experience with a high level of enthusiasm, and includes a promise to follow up at the end.
This cover letter example includes two things that will immediately draw the recipient’s attention: A phone call they’ve already had, and a mutual contact at their organization. The job and internship search can be grueling; never be afraid to use everything you have at your disposal to improve your standing over other applicants.
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
17. Mission-Driven Graduate Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example from a recent B.A. graduate wowed us from the first sentence. The applicant right away explains her attained degree and her specific career interests, then dives into the aspects of her experience that make her such a great candidate.
It's so personalized to the employer’s own mission that it’s difficult to stop reading it. Even if the hiring manager isn’t a science or health professional, they would be able to effectively gauge the applicant’s suitability for the role by the expertise she shows in her cover letter alone. The applicant explains at length why she’s excited to work for that specific hospital. The organization serves Aboriginal populations, which aligns with her own values and research interests.
In the last paragraph, she summarizes what she knows about the employer in one sentence, then describes how each of her experiences supports the employer’s mission. That is an exceedingly clever and meaningful way to align yourself with an organization at a deeper level.
If you’re applying to a mission-driven organization, don’t be shy about showing your excitement and expertise. You don’t need a lot of experience to show that your values align with those of your target organization. This cover letter example is especially good inspiration if you’re making a career change, have only just a few internships under your belt, or are graduating from college.
18. Short Recommendation Cover Letter Example
Referral or recommendation cover letters don’t need to be too long, and this is a great example of that. It immediately leverages a mutual connection at the company. The mutual connection recommended that the applicant contact the hiring manager for a role, which is a piece of information we always recommend you frontload in your letter.
This specific cover letter comes from an applicant with little experience, making it a good example to follow if you’re switching careers or just out of college. Instead of talking about their experience, the applicant uses anecdotal evidence to convey their enthusiasm for working at that company.
The writer also goes over their most salient skills, such as being able to speak multiple languages. They also explain how their degree directly applies to the target role. We love that the candidate highlights their leadership abilities and makes that an effective selling point for being hired.
This cover letter doesn’t go on for too long, which we love. It’s simple and sweet and provides all the information the hiring manager needs to look more closely at the applicant’s resume and make an interviewing decision.
19. Professor or Research Position Cover Letter Example
Academic or research position cover letters might require a little more information than the typical cover letter — and this is one such example. Why is it okay to go a little longer? Because the letter is not only a way to supplement the PhD candidate’s academic CV, but to provide a writing sample for the search committee.
We love this cover letter because it expresses the candidate’s enthusiasm for teaching and explains her instructional ethos, such as providing out-of-the-classroom opportunities, championing communication, and encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone. The applicant also suggests courses she may be able to teach at the target institution, and expresses her interest in developing new courses as needed.
She also suggests how she can enhance the college’s extracurricular programming by offering study abroad courses, which shows not just an interest in teaching but adding to the school’s overall culture.
While this letter goes for a little longer than recommended, it serves as a fantastic writing sample and explains the applicant’s research background at length. If you’re applying to academic or research roles, don’t be afraid to go into detail about what most excites you in terms of research interests.
20. Director Cover Letter Example
This cover letter example — for a Director of Catering position at a university — doesn’t waste any time. The applicant right away says that they’re a strong candidate for the role, then jumps right into three salient qualifications that make him a great fit.
We love how the applicant uses bullet points and bold text to guide an overburdened hiring manager through the cover letter — and to give them permission to scan it, if needed. If the hiring manager would like more information or actual examples of the skills, they merely need to read the rest of the bullet point paragraph.
As mentioned, light formatting can be beneficial to your cover letter, as it draws the recruiter’s eyes and prevents them from having to fish for the information they’re looking for.
This short, sweet cover letter includes the critical information a hiring manager or high-level executive needs to make an interview decision. We love the use of formatting that doesn’t stray too much from regular cover letter conventions, and we like that the applicant kept all other paragraphs extremely brief.
21. Editorial Cover Letter Example
Applying for an editorial or journalistic position? Like a cover letter example we shared earlier, you can take a more storytelling approach to capture the hiring manager’s attention. This cover letter example does that effectively by telling an anecdote that directly mentions the newspaper where they’d like to work.
This immediately draws the reader in and tells them that this application isn’t random at all; the applicant would like to work at the newspaper because they’ve read it every morning. Not only that, but they have a favorite reporter on the newspaper’s staff. The applicant then jumps into the specific reason they want to take an editorial position at the Baltimore Sun.
The cover letter includes all pertinent information, such as how previous positions have equipped the applicant to take on this job. It closes with enthusiasm after keeping the reader rapt every step of the way.
The applicant uses storytelling to — you guessed it — apply for a position that needs storytelling skills. If you’re applying for a data-driven position or a graphic design position, why not showcase those skills in the cover letter itself? We like that this letter doesn’t diverge too much from cover letter conventions while still differentiating itself.
22. Promotion Cover Letter Example
In this cover letter example, the applicant already works for the employer and wishes to apply for the next position to move up in their career. We like that the letter cites the applicant’s extensive knowledge of the organization, which will no doubt give them an advantage over external applicants.
Not only that, but the applicant also references their experience before they started working at the employer and uses that information to make their candidacy even more desirable.
Lastly, this letter includes a healthy level of enthusiasm for the university and the position — something that is never extra in a cover letter.
This cover letter example does an excellent job showing the candidate’s knowledge of their current organization while stating why they’re a natural fit for the promotion. Plus, the letter includes information on the applicant’s relevant activities outside of work — if you’re involved in any organizations that might help you do your job better, be sure to include them.
23. Law Cover Letter Example
This law cover letter example jumps right into personalization, a bold move that will serve you well if you’re genuinely interested in a company and want to stand out. The applicant cites the recipient’s recent article on bond litigation, then ties that into the role they’d like to get at the law firm.
The applicant then goes into his skills and the feedback he’s received from past managers. This is an excellent way to introduce your skills without sounding dry — or even unfounded. By citing positive feedback you’ve received, you’ll imply that others have praised you for having those skills, and that you’re not only "tooting your own horn." (In cover letters, it’s absolutely okay to toot your own horn — that’s what they’re for. But if you can cite others’ remarks, that also helps.)
At just two and a half paragraphs, this letter is exceedingly short but no less effective. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize your letter quickly while still conveying the essentials of a cover letter.
This short cover letter example keeps it brief while still creating high impact. The applicant personalizes the letter immediately, cites external feedback, and conveys enthusiasm. This letter proves you don’t need to write a novel about an employer to sway the hiring manager into giving you an interview.
Now that we've shown you some excellent examples, let's talk about how you can create the best cover letter for your dream job.
What is a good cover letter?
A cover letter is used to show your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you've had in previous positions. Good cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application.
What’s on a cover letter?
Before you start writing your cover letter, let's cover a few basic must-haves you'll want to include. If you’re looking for more detailed instructions, check out this guide to writing a cover letter .
Add a simple, but pleasant greeting to address the recruiter or hiring manager.
- Dear Sir or Madam Alternatives
- Cover Letter Greetings
Write a catchy introduction that explains why you’re interested in the role.
- How to Write an Introduction
- Tips for Writing a Good Introduction Sentence
This is the heart of your cover letter. It outlines your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for the role. You can highlight special skills, experiences, professional achievements, or education to help make your case.
- How to Write About Your Professional Background
- Professional Bio Examples
- LinkedIn Bio Examples
In this paragraph, add a call-to-action by expressing interest in an interview. Offer your contact information and sign off.
- Email Closing Line Examples
- Tips for Writing Conclusions
What does a cover letter look like?
Besides showing off your skills and qualifications, cover letters give you the opportunity to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample. It shows off your personality and your ability to convey ideas.
That's a lot of information to include on a single page, so it can help to have a clear structure to start with.
Check out our fillable cover letter templates to see how you should organize the content of your cover letter.
What makes a great cover letter?
A cover letter is personal, but it also needs to help you reach a goal and help the hiring team understand how you could perform that role with their company. This complexity can make cover letters really tough to write.
Because cover letters are difficult to write, many come off as boring, basic, or confusing for hiring managers to read. But the tips below about the qualities that make a cover letter great can help you take your cover letter from basic to bright.
Start with this quick video, then keep reading for more tips:
Begin with an introduction that's personal. It should capture the reader's attention and address your recipient by name. Then, add a compelling opening sentence that emphasizes your interest in the specific role.
Helpful Cover Letter Introduction:
"Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],
In an increasingly digitized world, where customer-centric strategies are vital for business success, I am thrilled to apply for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Introduction:
"To Whom it May Concern,
I am applying for the [Job Title] position at HubSpot. I have some experience in marketing and can help your clients grow their businesses."
Relevant Professional Experience
It can be tempting to use the same cover letter for every job. After all, it's about your experience, isn't it? But it's not enough to rephrase the work history in your resume.
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to fill a specific role, so you need to show how your experience translates to their unique needs.
So, the body of a great cover letter should showcase the specific professional experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Emphasize your accomplishments and skills that directly relate to what the job needs.
To speed up this part of the cover letter writing process, start by creating a list of your transferable skills . Drafting this list can help you quickly focus on the skills to highlight in your cover letter.
Then, use AI tools to summarize job descriptions and narrow in on where your experience and the needs of the role you're applying for overlap. This post is full of useful AI assistant tools if you're new to AI.
Helpful Cover Letter Experience:
"At [Company Name], I had the opportunity to assist a global ecommerce retailer in enhancing their online customer experience. By conducting in-depth market research and customer journey mapping, I identified pain points and areas of improvement in their website navigation and user interface."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Experience:
"I also worked with an ecommerce retailer to improve the customer experience. We did some surveys and training, and they were happy with the results."
To make your cover letter stand out, add specific examples that show how you've solved problems or gotten results in past roles.
Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible, using data to give the reader a clear understanding of your impact.
Helpful Cover Letter Example:
"I lead a team of five content writers while increasing website traffic by 18% year-over-year."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Example:
"I have a great track record of leadership and achieving fantastic results."
Research and Company Knowledge
Hiring teams aren't hiring anyone with the skills to do the job. They're hiring a person they'll work alongside at their specific company.
So, to show that you're not just looking for any job anywhere, share your knowledge of the company's industry, values, and culture in your cover letter. Spend some time on the company website and take notes on what makes this business interesting to you and why you would want to work there.
Then, explain how your skills align with the company's mission and goals and explain how you could add to their chances of success. This will showcase your interest in the company and help them see if you are a good cultural fit.
Helpful Cover Letter Research:
"I was particularly drawn to HubSpot not only for its industry-leading solutions but also for its exceptional company culture. HubSpot's commitment to employee development and fostering a collaborative environment is evident in its recognition as a top workplace consistently. I strongly believe that my passion for continuous learning, self-motivation, and dedication to contributing to a team will make me a valuable asset to HubSpot."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Research:
"I have been inspired by HubSpot's commitment to inbound marketing and its comprehensive suite of solutions. HubSpot's dedication to providing valuable content and fostering meaningful relationships aligns with my own values and aspirations."
Your cover letter needs to pack in a lot of important information. But it's also important that your cover letter is clear and concise.
To accomplish this, use professional but easy-to-understand language. Be sure to remove any grammar or spelling errors and avoid lengthy paragraphs and avoid jargon or overly technical language.
You may also want to use bullet points to make your letter easier to skim. Then, proofread your cover letter for clarity or ask a friend to proofread it for you.
- Guide to Becoming a Better Writer
- Tips for Simplifying Your Writing
Helpful Cover Letter Writing:
"In addition to my academic accomplishments, I gained valuable practical experience through internships at respected law firms.
Working alongside experienced attorneys, I assisted in providing legal support to clients. This hands-on experience helped me develop a deep understanding of client needs and enhanced my ability to effectively communicate complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Writing:
"Furthermore, as a complement to my academic accomplishments, I have garnered invaluable practical experience through internships at esteemed law firms.
Throughout these placements, I actively collaborated with seasoned attorneys to conduct due diligence and furnish clients with comprehensive legal support. Notably, these experiences fostered a profound comprehension of client necessities, whilst honing my legal acumen to articulately convey intricate legal principles within a lucid and concise framework, adhering to applicable precedents and statutes of limitations."
Genuine Interest and Enthusiasm
Find ways to convey your passion for the role and how excited you are to contribute to the company you're applying to. At the same time, make sure your interest feels authentic and outline how it aligns with your career goals.
Your ultimate goal is an enthusiastic letter that feels honest and leaves a lasting positive impression.
Showing excitement in writing doesn't come naturally for everyone. A few tips that can help you boost the genuine enthusiasm in your letter:
- Record audio of yourself speaking about the role, then use voice-to-text technology to transcribe and add these sections to your letter.
- Choose your words carefully .
- Write in active voice.
Helpful Cover Letter Tone:
"I am genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of joining [Company/Organization Name] as an accountant. My combination of technical proficiency, eagerness to learn, and strong attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this role. I am confident that my dedication, reliability, and passion for accounting will contribute to the continued success of your organization."
Unhelpful Cover Letter Tone:
"Honestly, I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to reconciliations, financial statement analysis, and tax regulations! Engaging in spirited discussions with professors and classmates has allowed me to foster an unbreakable bond with the fascinating world of accounting, and I'm positively bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of applying my skills in a professional setting."
End your cover letter on a strong note. Summarize your top qualifications, restate your interest in the position, and express your interest in future communication.
Then, thank your reader for their time and consideration and include your contact information for easy follow-up.
To make your conclusion memorable, think about what parts of your letter you'd most like the hiring manager to keep top of mind. Then, consider your word choice and phrasing. If you're feeling stuck, this list of ways to close an email can help.
Helpful Cover Letter Conclusion:
"Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications align with the needs of Greenpeace. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.
Together, let's make a lasting impact on our planet.
Unhelpful Cover Letter Conclusion:
"Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing my qualifications further and how I can contribute to Greenpeace's mission. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to arrange an interview.
We’d like to add another stage to the job search: experimentation.
In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.
We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will.
So, get inspired by these examples and templates. Write an incredible cover letter that shows the hiring team at your dream job exactly who you are.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.
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The Best Words to Describe Yourself on a Resume
Use power adjectives and action verbs
Words to describe yourself, words not to describe yourself with, tips and tricks.
Quick Answer: To describe yourself in the best way possible, use powerful adjectives and action verbs, but provide proof to avoid coming across as self-praising. For leadership positions, highlight traits such as rationality, charisma, and decisiveness. For teamwork, emphasize observance, organization, and personability. Avoid words like amazing, awesome, humble, and visionary. Use concise sentences and keywords from the job listing, and take your time to perfect your description. Remember, your resume is an extension of you.
One of the most tricky parts of the job-seeking process is using the right words to describe yourself. You would want to show your positive traits, but you need to be careful with borderline self-praising.
You need to make your words show who you are in the best possible light. Just like resume action verbs , the words you use to describe yourself are extremely influential, and it is important to make them strong enough to be remembered.
But how to do so? There are over one million words in the English language. It might seem near impossible to pick the right words to describe yourself.
Lucky for you, we got you covered. In this article, we are going to examine topics like:
- How to choose the best words to describe yourself
- Different words you can use for different effect
And, of course, we are going to wrap things up with some great tips and tricks . If you first want to make your resume stand out , check out our Resume Builder . But if you really want to work on the words you describe yourself with, stick around.
One of the most essential things you need to do when describing yourself is use powerful adjectives. But don’t overdo it. Don’t forget that the hiring manager doesn’t really know you that well.
If you praise yourself too much, you might blow your chances of getting the job. But the more important thing you need to remember here is to provide proof.
Whatever powerful adjective you use for yourself, you need to show some proof that it is in fact real. Anyone can say that they are detail-oriented, but without proof, that means nothing to the hiring manager.
Even more importantly, you would want to use action verbs . The main idea is to sprinkle a few powerful adjectives to help you out, but let action verbs do the heavy lifting.
As we mentioned, there is a great variety of words you can describe yourself with. Luckily, the list drastically shrinks when we want words that would match a specific skill or ability needed for a job position
So the first thing you need to think about is what are the words you would want your potential employer to remember you by. It may sound hard and scary, but that’s why we have a few examples for you to get you started.
Words to describe yourself for leadership
If you are applying for any kind of leadership role, you should be really careful with the words you use to describe yourself.
The hiring manager would be on the lookout for some specific ones. Let’s go through the most important ones and get you ready to nail them.
That’s a trait possessed largely by extroverts. Using it to describe yourself shows the hiring manager not only that you are extroverted, but also that you are outgoing, cheerful and joyful.
That would be of great importance in order to create a sustainable team that would achieve all the company’s goals. But don’t forget to provide some proof, as it would be extremely easy for the hiring manager to catch you with a lie with this one.
Describing yourself with this adjective shows the hiring manager that you are driven by logic and reasoning.
That would be really important when you are in a place to make an important decision. A rational thinker would depend on their logic, rather than emotions, when it comes to tough situations
Describing yourself as self-motivated shows the hiring manager that you are self-driven. That means that you require no external pressure or monitoring to see out a project. That would be really significant for a leadership role, as you would be more independent than most employees.
This trait is extremely important, no matter the position. Being ethical shows that you have a high professional moral standing. It would be fair for the hiring manager to assume that you are honest and have the ability to know what’s right and wrong professionally.
In order to be charismatic, you are quite definitely emotionally intelligent. Furthermore, it shows the hiring manager that you have the ability to earn love, trust and affection of others with ease.
You most certainly need this trait if you are applying for a leadership position.
Being decisive is another trait that is a must for leadership roles. It shows the hiring manager that you are a spontaneous thinker and can make accurate decisions on the go. Being able to act quickly and accurately in tough spots would really raise your score in the eyes of the hiring manager.
While this one is not a must for a leadership role, the hiring manager would probably look for it. It would show them that you are very ingenious and clever in your dealings.
If you don’t feel right using that adjective, you can switch with creative or innovative, which are just as strong.
Words to describe yourself as a team player
For a great deal of professions, being a team player is crucial. That’s why it is important to catch the hiring manager’s attention with some teamwork adjectives.
And we have some of the most essential ones here for you.
This adjective might sound negative at first, but hiring managers don’t see it that way.
If you describe yourself as persistent, they would assume that you are very determined, relentless and tenacious in your pursuit of anything, but without losing your positive mindset.
This trait would be helpful for lots of things.
It shows the hiring manager that you have the ability to notice details and compose logical analysis. And that would always be appreciated.
That shows one of the most influential traits you can show for yourself - discipline. A discipline to plan and execute strategies correctly is greatly appreciated by hiring managers.
Being personable is great not only for leadership, but also to show that you are a team player. Once again - that trait shows the hiring manager that you are both extroverted, and that you are really outgoing and cheerful.
This is a trait that should be possessed not only by the leader of the team, but also by every team member.
That’s another trait that is applicable to both leadership and teamwork.
In this case, its importance is mostly because of the emotional intelligence of the person, as it is extremely important for team work.
Other words you can describe yourself with
As words have started repeating, we need to save some time for those we have not yet mentioned, but are extremely significant.
Here is a list you might want to consider when describing yourself:
This is always a good trait to assign to yourself, if you have anything to back it up with. It shows the hiring manager that you have a high level of trust and honesty. Usually such a trait is built over the years, especially with positions like finance executive, marketing executive, etc.
This is one of the adjectives that one could use, no matter the job position. It shows the hiring manager that you have determination to grow and survive, no matter the job, and no matter the organization.
It is a really great quality to have, if you really strive for growth.
This trait is typically used in healthcare and in the legal system, but it wouldn’t hurt to describe yourself with it otherwise as well.
It shows the hiring manager that you are caring and concerned for others by default.
That’s one more trait that could be applicable no matter the position and the organization.
Interestingly enough, it is important just because the position and the organization matter to you.
It shows that you have unending commitment to a cause and a leader.
Describing yourself as practical can quite often be a pleasant surprise for the hiring manager.
It shows them that you are guided by experience, rather than mere theories or ideas.
And last, but not least, being straightforward. That trait shows the hiring manager that you understand and value integrity. People possessing that trait are usually very understandable.
It would not surprise you that there are also words that you should absolutely stay away from. When it comes to your professional description, these, and many similar adjectives, would probably be misunderstood.
And you don’t want that, you want to present yourself in the best light possible. So, what are these adjectives that you should stay away from?
Here is a short list, but keep in mind that there are many similar ones to these:
You get the idea, you wouldn’t want to give such an impression to the hiring manager.
As promised, we are going to leave you off with some tips and tricks to use when describing yourself.
First, be concise. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Short, concise sentences have more power.
And, as we mentioned earlier, provide some proof. Any catchy word without context is meaningless to the hiring manager.
And last, but not least, make sure you use any keywords you have seen on the job listing. That’s why it’s important to closely read the job description and include any keywords you find in your resume.
We are all done. Now you know what words to use to describe yourself in the best possible way. You are now ready to show yourself in the best possible light in front of the hiring manager.
Take your time and have a closer look at the job position, so that your description would include more keywords, that the hiring manager would be looking for.
Don’t forget to use action verbs and powerful adjectives, but also give them some context. Keep our example words in mind and make your description perfect for the job you seek.
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200 Most Powerful Adjectives: Use These on Your Resume (Infographic)
- Klara Cervenanska ,
- Updated July 6, 2023 2 min read
Powerful adjectives can turn a simple resume into a compelling career story that grabs the attention of any HR manager. How?
Well, adjectives determine the tone of your resume and help breathe life into otherwise dull descriptions. Which means they come in particularly handy when writing a resume.
Whether you're crafting your first resume or you're an experienced professional updating your CV, these adjectives can completely transform your story, highlighting your passion, commitment, and exceptional skills.
We'll show you a complete list of adjectives for a resume, plus how you can use adjectives on your resume.
(And if you're asking how we've come up with these words, it's easy. We went through our database of real resume examples by people who got hired at the world's top companies.)
Without further ado, here's the list of 200 powerful resume adjectives:
200 most powerful adjectives to use on a resume
Now that you've seen the complete list of resume adjectives, you may wonder how to actually add them to your resume.
How to use adjectives on a resume
Incorporating adjectives into a resume is nothing complicated. Essentially, you can sprinkle them all throughout the CV. Though remember, it's not about cramming them into every sentence.
Rather, you should strategically place them in these sections that are particularly suited for it:
Resume summary. This is the only part of your resume where you can write a coherent piece of text that gives an in-depth view of who you are as a professional. By using powerful adjectives can turn your resume summary from generic to compelling, encouraging the hiring manager to read on. Here's an example:
“ Certified SEO expert, specialized in driving high-ranked website placements through focused keyword analysis and strategic search optimization. This methodical approach recently led to a 50% increase in organic website traffic for an upscale client. Adept at staying ahead of the curve with trending and up-to-date SEO practices, I am a determined to consistently deliver powerful results in this ever-evolving landscape”
Work experience. When highlighting your responsibilities and achievements, adjectives can bring more color to your bullet points. For instance, consider the following bullet points for a role in marketing:
- Led and executed strategic campaign initiatives with a results-driven approach.
- Fostered collaborative relationships with key stakeholders ensuring smooth campaign delivery.
- Implemented a compelling marketing campaign, which drove a remarkable 25% increase in sales.
Skills. Here, adjectives serve as amplifiers to your abilities. They enable you to go beyond merely stating "good communication skills" to something like:
“ exceptional verbal and written communication skills.”
Remember, too few adjectives may make your resume seem dull and unexciting, while too many can make it appear overblown or insincere.
And while adjectives are a great tool to make your resume more compelling, adding powerful action verbs will make the CV even more irresistible.
Finally, consider getting rid of meaningless buzz phrases which only make your resume and cover letter seem generic.
You have the adjectives, now what?
Finish the CV with AI resume writer powered by GPT-4 and say goodbye to writer's block.
Klara recently graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After having written resumes for many of her fellow students, she got an opportunity to write full-time for Kickresume. Klara is our go-to person for all things related to student or 'no experience resumes'. At the same time, she has written some of the most popular resume advice articles on this blog. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her chasing dogs or people-watching while sipping on a cup of coffee.
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Best Words To Describe Yourself (For Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews)
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Using the right words can make a huge difference in a resume, cover letter , or interview. You only get a show time to sell yourself as a candidate, meaning that picking the right descriptors can make a huge difference. Make sure to use strong adjectives, action words, power words, and language specific to your industry when describing yourself.
Word choice in a resume and cover letter are extremely important, as they’re both short documents that need to impress a hiring manager in a hurry. If you’re writing a resume, cover letter, or going to an interview and want to know the right adjectives to use, then keep reading.
You can use action verbs, industry-specific skill words, and powerful adjectives to describe yourself in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
Stay away from buzzwords, slang terms, and hyperbolic descriptors.
Incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume and cover letter in order to get past ATS filters and to a real person.
Power words are words that evoke an emotional reaction. They’re often used in marketing techniques, but can also be useful for resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
The best words to use to describe yourself
Tips for using power words in your resume, tips for incorporate power words into your cover letter, how to answer “how would you describe yourself” at a job interview, example answers to “how would you describe yourself”, resume-killing phrases to avoid, best words to describe yourself faqs, ask the experts.
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It’s important to use evocative words when describing your personality, skills, or accomplishments. You have to make sure you don’t go overboard, but be sure to use active voice and powerful adjectives. You want to sound proactive and results-oriented.
Emphasize using these types of words:
Strong verbs. On your resume, you want to make sure that you start your sentence with a verb, and the stronger the better.
For instance: Arranged and organized weekly team meetings.
Rather than: Responsible for arranging and holding weekly meetings.
The first once sounds much more proactive and punchier, emphasizing the active part of your duties. A well-written cover letter will prioritize stronger verbs as well, as will an interviewer . For instance, replace commonly used verbs with stronger one, such as:
Change cut costs to decreased, streamlined, economized, reduced expenses, or controlled costs
Replace led with: orchestrated, conducted, directed, or spearheaded
Created with designed, crafted, developed, formulated, or conceptualized
Boosted with increased, accelerated, drove, improved, or optimized
Improved with advanced, enhanced, increased, or strengthened
Trained with facilitated, educated, instructed, taught, guided, or coached
Industry skill words
If you want to catch a recruiter ’s attention, consider what industry you’re in. There are certain skills or keywords that show your expertise in a particular industry and are likely to be skills that hiring managers are looking for. It also shows that you’re familiar with the skills and expertise required in the job you’re applying for.
Here are a few examples:
Sales: relationship building, negotiation, persuasive communication, prospecting, closing, territory development
Management: leadership, supervisory skills, coaching, mentoring
Marketing: SEO, conversion optimization, email marketing, content marketing
Accounting: taxation compliance, automatic data processing (ADP), reconciliation, accounts payable, accounts receivable , return on assets
Project management: budget management, proposal writing, compliance, vendor management, risk mitigation
Administration: attention to detail, creating macros, confidentiality, Microsoft Office suite, scheduling
Engineering: quality control , troubleshooting, materials management, research and development, systems integration
Web development: graphic design, user experience, e-commerce, web design, front end/back end, Java, HTML/CSS
Finding these industry-related keywords is easier than you think. Just do a quick Google search for the job openings in that industry. Read the job descriptions and look for any keywords that stand out. Jot down any that describe the qualifications and skills that you have.
Or, even better, identify keywords from a specific job description. Then include these keywords in your resume. When you know what your potential employers are looking for , it’s easy to reverse engineer your resume to show you are a perfect match for their needs.
When you are writing your resume you want to come across as a rock star, but not sound like a commercial. You need to strike that perfect balance between strong and enticing and blatantly promotional. Choosing the right adjectives for your resume summary statement and the body of your resume will help you find that sweet spot.
Employers are looking to attract and retain top talent. Leadership shows that you have initiative and can drive results for their organization.
You don’t want to use the word leadership over and over. You want to vary it a bit. Here are some words to describe your leadership qualities. Below are a couple of examples. Leadership Adjectives:
Using power words, strong verbs, and powerful adjectives are a great way to catch a recruiter’s attention — so long as you don’t overdo it. There are ways that you can incorporate strong language into a resume more effectively, and here are tips to writing up an excellent resume.
Be concise. Short pithy sentences beat longer sentences. Simple direct sentences have more power.
Keep bullet points to one line. Try not to have bullet points wrap around. Shorten them to one line if possible.
Eliminate any widows. A widow is a single word that is wrapped around and is alone on the next line. Don’t do this:
Spearheaded initiative to go green and eliminate delivery truck gas emissions by August 2021
Include ATS friendly words. You may have the best resume in the world, but if your resume is not ATS-friendly , it may never be seen by the potential employer. ATS stands for applicant tracking system and is the robot filter that companies use to handle large amounts of resumes — you need to make it past the filter to be seen.
If you want to get your resume seen, you’ll want to include the right ATS keywords. You write resumes both for people and for the applicant tracking system. Many bigger companies scan and search through resumes pulling top applicants to the top. If your resume doesn’t make it through the ATS system, it may never be seen by a recruiter or hiring manager.
The keywords that the ATS system checks for are determined by the future employer. That’s why it’s important to closely read a job description, look for keywords, and include these keywords in your resume.
Cover letters are where you showcase both your writing skills and other interests and skills that don’t fit well into your resume. That means that it’s your employer’s first introduction to you as more than just a list of skills. Here are some ways to use power words to ensure you have an engaging cover letter.
Focus on the opening line . The first line of the cover letter is where you can hook your reader . Make sure that it’s powerful and gives them an idea of why you’re interested in the job. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic, so long as you maintain professionalism.
Don’t just rehash your resume. Your cover letter isn’t just your resume in paragraph form. Make sure to include skills and interests that aren’t in the cover letter. Once again, pay attention to industry skills, and the verbs and adjectives you use.
Showcase your passion. Part of a cover letter’s job is making you interesting. Don’t list any interesting thing about yourself — try to make it relevant to the job. But beyond that, draw in whatever passion or interest you have and make it applicable to the job you’re applying for.
Add a call to action. Don’t forget to add a call to action. This can be as simple as saying you look forward to hearing from them, or it can be that you are excited to discuss your qualifications in an interview. But make sure to use strong verbs and active voice.
Make sure it’s ATS friendly. Not every ATS will scan cover letters, but that does’t mean that you should overlook the importance of keywords. Make sure to put both industry specific keywords as well as ones listed on the job description. If the ATS does scan your cover letter, it’ll show you to be eminently qualified.
It’s always difficult to balance being underprepared for an interview and coming off overly scripted. That means that you need to consider what you know about the position and the company and come up with good off-the-cuff answers, which is a difficult skill to master. But here are some ways to help you answer this question.
Get to the point and stay relevant. It can be easy to go off on a tangent when this question comes up. Get straight to the point and give one or two personality traits that showcase the professional skills you feel the employer values most.
Be honest. Of course, it’s not just about telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear. You’re not doing anyone any favors by lying about your personality or work style . Answer honestly so that both you and the hiring manager can decide whether the job is a good fit for you.
Pick universally likeable traits. Words like “authoritative” or “tolerant” might be positive to some, but others might read negative traits into them. Instead, stick with personal qualities that everyone can agree are positive, like “collaborative,” “curious,” or “diligent.”
Give context. This is the most important part of your answer. It’s not enough to simply rattle off a few adjectives and call it a day. The interviewer will appreciate a story in which the descriptive words come to life.
For example, if you describe yourself as persistent, describe a professional situation in which your persistence paid off with fantastic results.
I would describe myself as a team player who always puts big-picture objectives over personal gain. When I was working on a design project with other graphic designers, we realized late in production that there a number of small, difficult-to-ingrain elements that we failed to implement. While it was a group mistake, I took up the extra work to make sure that the other designers could start work on the client’s next project. That client ended up being impressed with our attention to detail and remains a customer to this day.
Persistence is what sets me apart. When I had a dream for a social media marketing campaign, I worked tirelessly at it. For months, we saw no traction as posts went un-shared and engagement was rock bottom. While I was by no means an expert on this part of digital marketing, I made it a goal to seek out advice and study up on best practices. After six months and countless trials and errors, I was able to earn us over 15,000 subscribers and engagement had gone up by over 1000%. When I know an idea is a winner, I’ll stop at nothing to make it a reality.
My biggest asset is my creativity, and it’s a word my former supervisor used to describe me a lot. We once had a project that involved coding multiple landing pages with similar assets. When I saw that this was going to be a long-term project, I took a few hours to write a Python script that could automate a lot of the grunt work while ensuring consistency. Nobody had approached the problem that way or indicated that this was a possible solution, but my manager was impressed. She credited this creative idea as saving over $10,000 in hours of labor.
As an executive assistant , I find that organization is the trait that defines me in my professional life. When you have a boss who handles dozens of client accounts worth over $1M, you need to make sure that each and every client is receiving the attention they need, when they need it. By creating a master spreadsheet that included all important information, and condensing that master list into highly readable notes for the VP of sales, I was able to streamline client meetings and account management.
You know the feeling you get when your parents try to use phrases to be cool? Like when your mom is hanging out with you and your friends and says something is “sick”. It’s kind of icky, inappropriate, and disgusting. That’s how hiring managers feel when you use buzzwords on a resume.
Are resume buzzwords worth it ? Many of these phrases were cool in their day, but now, these cliches have seriously lost their staying power and it’s time to retire them.
Are you guilty of using any of the following outdated terms? Here are the resume buzzwords and things to avoid putting on a resume .
If you don’t want to make recruiters cringe, explain what you mean in engaging conversational language. Don’t lean on these overused terms.
How do you describe yourself in a resume?
You describe yourself in a resume by using action words, industry-specific skills, and powerful adjectives throughout it. By making the most of the words you use to describe your goals and accomplishments, you can give hiring managers a solid understanding of who you are and what you’re about.
What are three words to describe yourself for a job?
Three words to describe yourself for a job are “motivated,” “reliable,” and “strategic.” There are plenty of other words out there to describe you as well, but these are likely to please almost any employer (just make sure they actually describe you before you use them).
How can I describe myself in one word?
You can describe yourself in one word by choosing a word that can be applied to you in many situations. For example, “tenacious” and “positive” are both words that you can exemplify in a variety of settings.
What are good action words to use on a resume?
Good action words to use on a resume include words like “achieved,” “conducted,” and “assisted.” Use stronger words that evoke more specific meanings, and avoid more bland terms like “managed” or “worked on.”
University of Colorado Boulder – Action Verbs to Use on Your Resume
Harvard Business Review — How to Respond to “So, Tell Me About Yourself” In a Job Interview
Forbes — 34 Words and Phrases That Scream ‘I’m a Leader’ on Resumes
What tips would you give to optimize a resume?
Bill Gutches The Path To Inkc
In an Overview or Value Proposition, use power verbs to start each bullet or statement and be sure to quantify the amount of benefit your client / employer received as a result of your work.
Make sure the Start and Stop dates for each Employer or Contract are contiguous: that there are no gaps in the work timeline.
Create a unique resume with appropriate key phrases for each application so that the words in the resume match as closely as possible to the job description you are applying for.
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Hope Stebbins is an experienced writer and editor within the field of finance and contracts, sales, and business operations. She combines operational analysis with creativity to develop compelling written content. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern University.
Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.
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The Top 50 Words to Describe Yourself on Your CV
Struggling to find the words to describe yourself and enhance your résumé? Then try out our CV buzzwords, key adjectives and examples, which will boost your chances of getting your dream job.
Positive Words to Describe Yourself on Your CV
These are great adjectives to describe yourself:
I am able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis.
I use a creative approach to problem solving.
I am a dependable person who is great at time management.
I am always energetic and eager to learn new skills.
I have experience working as part of a team and individually.
I am flexible in my working hours, being able to work evenings and weekends.
I have successfully met deadlines on every project I’ve worked on.
I am always on time for organized events, work-related or otherwise.
I am honest and trustworthy when I am counting money after our church bake sales.
I work with the team to provide imaginative solutions for our customers.
I am always coming up with innovative ideas.
I am motivated to go to the gym before work to stay fit and healthy.
I have organized the staff functions for the last four years with great success.
Co-workers rely on me to be on time.
15. Sense of Humour
Even though I take my work seriously, I do have a good sense of humour .
For more advice about embedding these words into your CV, read our article: A Guide to Writing a Successful CV
Positive Words to Describe Your Day-to-Day Work on Your CV
These are great words to help you describe your daily tasks in a variety of ways:
I delivered all projects in a timely fashion.
I helped out at the local care home during my spare time.
In the role, I identified a need for a new system and, with management backing, it has since been implemented.
I’ve managed the team through several large projects.
I participated in my local Race for Life 10k charity run.
During this time, I supervised swimming galas at my local pool.
I presented my analysis findings to the wider business to achieve buy-in for positive change.
I united several teams in a large project to achieve real change for our customers.
I led the project team in delivering a successful outcome.
I provided much-needed support to my team through the pandemic.
I proved my case for introducing a new system through extensive research and analysis.
I ran weekly project meetings to make sure work was delivered on time and to a high standard.
I responded to unexpected events with speed and professionalism to ensure a positive outcome for our customers.
I reported directly to the Board of Directors…
I reported directly to the Board of Directors with any changes in customer behaviour, along with proactive suggestions on how to address them.
I gained first-hand experience of customer challenges by running a series of face-to-face workshops.
I tested a range of products to determine which ones were most suitable for our clients.
I balanced my time successfully across 3 key projects in the business, delivering results in a timely manner.
I conducted several investigations to find out where there were opportunities for cost savings.
I focused much of my time and energy on driving improvements across the contact centre.
Positive Words to Show How You Went Above and Beyond in Your Role
These are great words to include in your CV to highlight where you’ve really added value in your role:
I supported junior team members to help them achieve their longer-term career goals.
I modernized the customer complaints process to help make efficiency savings across the business.
I saved time across the business by analysing key business processes and identifying improvements.
I volunteered to take the lead in a mental health and wellbeing project, above and beyond my core duties, to help improve the working environment for my colleagues.
I developed a new process to address a gap in the customer experience.
I won gold in my very first cross-fit competition.
I secured funding from the Board of Directors for a new WFM system.
I made cost savings on our products by using local manufacturers.
I enhanced the leadership team by going on a mental health awareness course and bringing my learnings back into the business.
I implemented a new WFM system, following several months of research and cost analysis.
I was nominated for an industry award following the work I did on improving the customer experience.
I launched a new product to market which exceeded sales targets for that quarter.
I increased profits across a variety of products through cost-saving changes to our manufacturing processes.
I campaigned for positive changes to our health and wellbeing programme throughout my time at the company, resulting in new initiatives being introduced which helped boost our staff retention rates.
I achieved a pass grade for my Level 2 Management course.
I competed at industry events for a sought-after ‘best in show’ award and won several times.
Using these words is a great way to describe yourself and your achievements and make your CV stand out. For more tips like this, read our article: How Do I Make My CV Really Special?
Example Personal Statement:
A key strength is communication; building strong relationships with people in order to deliver the best results.
Recently, I completed an Open degree, including Business and Design modules at the Open University and I am now fully employed by Clearly Presented as a Digital Media Manager.
Find even more positive words and phrases to build enthusiasm, in our article: Top 25 Positive Words, Phrases and Empathy Statements
15 More Words From Our Experts
Not quite what you are looking for? Then have a look at these words that you can use in the “about me” section on your résumé.
We asked expert customer service recruiters for their advice on which other words to use on a CV. These recruiters responded with the list below:
I am an effective and articulate communicator with all levels of employees.
I instil confidence in others and approach new challenges with an open mind.
I have a strong commercial outlook…
I have been able to deliver a consistent approach throughout a challenging period of development.
I am extremely driven , with a clear goal to succeed.
I used the advice passed on by my supervisors to mentor struggling individuals..
I am always highly enthused about my work and tasks ahead.
I have been told that I am an inspirational coach and mentor.
I understand the importance of being interactive and enjoy communicating with others for the benefit of the company.
I am a natural leader and developer of people.
I used the advice passed on by my supervisors to mentor struggling individuals.
I am happy and extremely personable and excel in a positive work environment.
62. Safe Pair of Hands
I have been told that I provide a safe pair of hands in challenging times.
I am committed to learning and self-development so that I can consistently achieve better results.
64. Subject-Matter Expert
I am seen as a subject-matter expert within the field of workforce management and deployment.
I have an extremely versatile skill set.
The Top Ten Words to Leave Off a CV
Whilst the words above can be great additions to a CV, our experts also have their bugbears about certain other words that candidates use.
Here is a list of our top ten words to avoid using on your résumé.
Using this will make you sound like you are a steak! Also, it is so dated. There are much better words to use!
Recruiters want a collaborator not a dictator, especially in the customer service field. So, replace a phrase such as “I was in an authoritative position…” with “I was in a position of leadership…”.
3. Think outside the box
Give examples of how you were made to think creatively and the benefits that such innovation brought to the company. To do this, it is important to avoid vague phrases such as “I think outside the box.”
There is a chance, no matter how excellent you believe your grammar to be, that you will make a mistake on your CV. Whilst many recruiters may overlook one minor error, pairing the mistake with the phrase “detail-orientated” could create problems.
5. Track record
If your CV is written correctly, the recruiter will be able to see your track record, so don’t waste your limited space with needless phrases like this.
It is much more convincing to show the recruiter that you are a hard-worker than to tell them. Recruiters will draw their own conclusions from the evidence that you present, so don’t try to confuse them by using vague phrases… it won’t work.
Are results your only driver? Don’t limit yourself by using such language. Demonstrate how you are driven by purpose, personal development and colleagues/teammates, as well as by achievement.
8. Go-to person
Not only is this too informal for a CV, it takes focus away from how your skills align with those in the job description. Don’t distract yourself by trying to do everyone else’s jobs – they will be more experienced in these than you.
This is so over-used. If you were not passionate about an aspect of the role, it is assumed that you would not be applying for the position. So, set yourself apart from the average candidate by trying something different, like noting how fulfilling the passion makes you feel.
10. Team player
It is important to note that you enjoy a collaborative atmosphere, but the phrase “team player” is contrived. Alternatively, refer to a success story of when you worked alongside someone else to bring great benefits to the workplace.
Find out more mistakes to avoid when writing a CV by reading our article: Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Job
What Else Should You Be Wary Of?
The advice above can help to shape a CV, but doing any of the following can seriously damage your chances of acquiring the customer service job that you crave.
Writing in Third Person
CVs should never be written in third person. Use first person and choose the present or past tense to showcase the most important and relevant information to your employment goals.
So, for example, do not say “James Bell is…” , instead state “I am…” .
Removing Personal Information
Things to include: your address, postcode, mobile number and email address! So many people are not including this information, making it very difficult for agencies and organizations to know where candidates are looking for work and also to register the CVs on their systems.
It also makes it impossible to find candidates again when searching in specific locations.
Including a Headshot/Photograph
This is just a waste of space, especially as you should already be aiming to cut your CV down into two pages.
Also, don’t save your CV as an infographic. These may look good, but they can’t be used by agencies and often won’t upload to company career sites. Send your CV as a PDF or Word document and keep the formatting simple!
Expanding Margins and Cutting White Space
No one wants to read a CV that is formatted with a tiny font and no white space! White space allows the eye to rest between reading and absorbing the content, and it acts as a cue to important information the employer should read with care.
At the same time, a CV with too much white space will look like you have no relevant experience or skills to offer the employer. Find a happy medium – keep the CV readable and clean, while filling the space.
Including Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes
In this day and age there should be NO excuses, but it still happens, and more often than you would expect. These kinds of mistakes can get even the most qualified candidate’s CV thrown into the “no” pile.
Remember, the CV is an excellent way to demonstrate to potential employers or recruiters what type of employee you are, your attitude to work and, most importantly, your attention to detail!
After you have reviewed your CV carefully, have a friend – or two – review it again for you!
Heavily Detailing Secondary Experiences
It is very easy to keep adding a new job to your existing CV, but does your previous role still hold any relevance? Or, looking back, should your previous role actually be enhanced to support more of your present role?
I am responsible for the leadership, coaching and development of 100 FTE. In the past year we have seen an uplift of 5% on service level performance against the previous 5 years.
As your career progresses, your older jobs may not be as relevant as they once were. Your CV is your opportunity to showcase your career and you need to highlight what is most important, taking space from less important detail that you may now be able to remove.
Listing Your Duties From a Previous Job
Everyone needs to see and understand what you do, but what is it that sets you apart from the crowd?
In addition to listing some, if not all, of your duties and responsibilities, try and include some achievements, tangibles, or context around the role. This could involve something like the following:
You may write: I am responsible for 100 + FTE.
You could write: I am responsible for the leadership, coaching and development of 100 FTE. In the past year we have seen an uplift of 5% on service level performance against the previous 5 years.
Thanks to both of the following recruitment experts for providing much of the information in this article.
- Francesca Randle at Cactus
- Michelle Ansell at Douglas Jackson
We hope that all of these positive words to add to your CV will get you that all-important interview.
If so, come back to this page and check out the articles below, which provide some great advice for dealing with this next stage of the process:
- Top 50 Customer Service Interview Questions – with Answers
- Interview Dos and Don’ts
- Ten Probing Interview Questions
Published On: 28th Dec 2022 - Last modified: 15th Nov 2023 Read more about - Call Centre Life , Career , CV , Jobs , Language , Michelle Ansell , Popular , Positive words
These phrases are positive and dynamic .
I’m re-writing my CV at the moment and find this really useful.
I’m currently re-writing my CV. Trying to find words to describe my transferable skills, i’ve used ”HIGHLY motivated and EXTREMELY punctual” but struggling to find more.
This is a wonderful an important material to increase the knowledge in these kind of topics.
I apprecite your special help. Thanks MM
Thank you for posting this wonderful tool. I have included many of these words in my resumes and applications, and i think that they put me over the other applicants with the same qualifications. Well done, KC
Amazing I’m using this for my interview. Aamazing
Brilliant help. Thank you. I knew that my daughter was good at and what her personal traits are but I just couldn’t think of the right words. Well done!
i am always trustworthy
This is very good
You should also do negative words so that we can understand what not to use in our CV
Used correctly and appropriately, the above words can work wonders.
However, there is a risk that they are over-used or (worse) used as ‘filler’, where the CV ends up being a mish-mash of buzz-words.
Use these key ‘postivifiers’ succinctly rather than sporadically thrown in, and you will see far more companies return to you offering an interview.
You are a life saver!
awarded is a good word to use
This is amazing, I used this via email and it worked wonders. Thank you.
DO NOT use any of these words.
DO NOT say ‘I am creative/energetic/hardworking/dependable’. What have you done that shows you are creative, energetic hardworking/dependable?, use your achievements to highlight your skills and let the employer judge for themselves!
These so called ‘buzz-words’ are found on every cv, use creative ways of writing to give the same impression…
Having read all the praise and criticism I can say that you’re all right and also wrong. In fact its both…
Yes, use these words to ensure you have said what needs to be said however, that alone will not win you an interview. To say ‘don’t use these words’ is also pretty stupid as you’ll end up with the CV that doesn’t say ‘honest’ etc so, at least bring yourself in line with everyone else at that stage!
To win an interview you need to write basic information SUPPORTED with substantial evidence of competence. For example, a sales person stating only their title, dates and role responsibilities is nearly a total waste of time. Instead, support this with achievements: Target of X, won Y. Won X client, grew Y account by £20k, increased GP by 47%, etc
Think about the key skills required to do the job well and focus on providing evidence that you can do them. e.g. Communication, Negotiation, Closing, etc – then add an example/result of having done it. Simple.
If you’re in a job where success is harder to quantify than a sales role think about how your manager measures your performance. If he/she targets you on cost savings, lead times, quality, complaints, etc then that dictates your achievements. Remember that if you’re going for a job in the same sector with similar managers, speak their language to impress them.
Also, think about the changes you have introduced that have had a positive impact on your employer’s business. Each one is an achievement, even if its not work related! (e.g. started social events, charity runs, etc)
In short, its WHAT YOU DID, not just a regurgitated job description and dates.
Great article, thanks!
This is great. Thanks
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