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Top Ten Words to Avoid Using on Your CV

Top Ten Words to Avoid Using on Your CV,

Top Ten Words to Avoid Using on Your 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.

Top Ten Words to Avoid Using on Your CV

Here is a list of our top ten words to avoid using on your résumé.

1. Seasoned

Using this will make you sound like you are a steak! Also, it is so dated. There are much better words to use!

2. Authoritative

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.”

4. Detail-orientated

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.

6. Hard-worker

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.

7. Results-driven

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.

9. Passionate

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.

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:

16. Delivered

delivered all projects in a timely fashion.

17. Helped

helped out at the local care home during my spare time.

18. Identified

In the role, I identified a need for a new system and, with management backing, it has since been implemented.

19. Managed

I’ve managed the team through several large projects.

20. Participated

participated in my local Race for Life 10k charity run.

21. Supervised

During this time, I supervised swimming galas at my local pool.

22. Presented

presented my analysis findings to the wider business to achieve buy-in for positive change.

23. United

united several teams in a large project to achieve real change for our customers.

24. Led

led the project team in delivering a successful outcome.

25. Provided

provided much-needed support to my team through the pandemic.

26. Proved

proved my case for introducing a new system through extensive research and analysis.

27. Ran

ran weekly project meetings to make sure work was delivered on time and to a high standard.

28. Responded

responded to unexpected events with speed and professionalism to ensure a positive outcome for our customers.

29. Reported

I reported directly to the Board of Directors…

reported directly to the Board of Directors with any changes in customer behaviour, along with proactive suggestions on how to address them.

30. Gained

gained first-hand experience of customer challenges by running a series of face-to-face workshops.

31. Tested

tested a range of products to determine which ones were most suitable for our clients.

32. Balanced

balanced my time successfully across 3 key projects in the business, delivering results in a timely manner.

33. Conducted

conducted several investigations to find out where there were opportunities for cost savings.

34. Focused

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:

35. Supported

supported junior team members to help them achieve their longer-term career goals.

36. Modernized

modernized the customer complaints process to help make efficiency savings across the business.

37. Saved

saved time across the business by analysing key business processes and identifying improvements.

38. Volunteered

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.

39. Developed

developed a new process to address a gap in the customer experience.

40. Won

won gold in my very first cross-fit competition.

41. Secured

secured funding from the Board of Directors for a new WFM system.

42. Savings

I made cost savings on our products by using local manufacturers.

43. Enhanced

enhanced the leadership team by going on a mental health awareness course and bringing my learnings back into the business.

44. Implemented

implemented a new WFM system, following several months of research and cost analysis.

45. Nominated

I was nominated for an industry award following the work I did on improving the customer experience.

46. Launched

launched a new product to market which exceeded sales targets for that quarter.

47. Increased

increased profits across a variety of products through cost-saving changes to our manufacturing processes.

48. Campaigned

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.

49. Achieved

achieved a pass grade for my Level 2 Management course.

50. Competed

competed at industry events for a sought-after ‘best in show’ award and won several times.

Example Personal Statement:

I am a talented, ambitious and hardworking individual, with broad skills and experience in digital and printed marketing, social media and leading projects. Furthermore, I am adept at handling multiple tasks on a daily basis competently and at working well under pressure. 

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.

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:

51. Articulate

I am an effective and articulate communicator with all levels of employees.

52. Confidence

I instil confidence in others and approach new challenges with an open mind.

53. Commercial

I have a strong commercial outlook…

54. Consistent

I have been able to deliver a consistent approach throughout a challenging period of development.

55. Driven

I am extremely driven, with a clear goal to succeed

56. Enthused/Enthusiastic

I am always highly enthused about my work and tasks ahead.

57. Inspirational

I have been told that I am an inspirational coach and mentor.

58. Interactive

I understand the importance of being interactive and enjoy communicating with others for the benefit of the company.

59. Leader

I am a natural leader and developer of people.

60. Mentor

I used the advice passed on by my supervisors to mentor struggling individuals.

61. Personable

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.

63. Self-Development

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.

65. Versatile

I have an extremely versatile skill set.

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

Positive Words to Describe Your Day-to-Day Work on Your CV