With so little space and so much brilliant information about your career to share, it’s crucial that jobseekers become more selective in the words they use on their CV.

Unfortunately, when trying to write a CV that stands out people often opt for corporate buzzwords and clichés that they think hiring managers want to hear, rather than just describing their accomplishments.

Earlier this year, CareerBuilder released the results of a survey which asked more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals about their biggest CV word turn-offs (and turn-ons). The results are illuminating: no one wants to see those too-often-used business buzzwords and clichés—think “results-driven,” “team player,” and, surprisingly, “hard worker.”

Instead, they’d prefer you show exactly what results you achieved and what makes you indispensable, using strong and simple action verbs. Research from Zip Recruiter reveals that words implying management skills (not just as a manager, but also abilities such as time-management), a proactive work ethos and problem-solving skills.

To help you avoid the business buzzword trap, we’ve rounded up our Top 20 CV Power Words that will help you impress any reader. 

power words     1. Identified

2. Created

3. Forecasted

4. Analysed

5. Managed

6. Persuaded

7. Adapted

8. Mentored

9. Improved

10. Strengthened

11. Introduced


13. Influenced

14. Increased / Decreased

15. Directed

16. Achieved

17. Trained

18. Solved

19. Planned

20. Promoted

For advice on how to write and structure a successful CV, check out "The Secret To Writing A Stand-Out CV? Get The Basics Right".

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Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith

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