Career Change Careers Interviews And CV's

CV Clinic: 10 Tips for Choosing the Right Words

Your Guide To CV Writing

CVs can come in waves, clogging up in-boxes. Busy professionals, with a burgeoning schedule of other things to do, have just enough time to skim through them. You have a window of opportunity, perhaps seconds, to present yourself to full advantage and catch an employer’s eye. Your word selection can either tank your application without a trace or fast forward you to the interview stage.

Follow These 10 Tips To Get Your CV Noticed For All The Best Reasons. 

  • What not to write – do not put “curriculum vitae” at the top of your CV, as it should be obvious what the document is. Instead write your name as the header which is the first thing the reader should alight upon. Avoid irrelevant information such as your marital status and date of birth. There are legal protections against discrimination, so an employer is not required to be privy to certain types of personal data.
  • Me, myself and I – there is no need to keep repeating “I”, as it can be cumbersome. It is, after all your CV and the sense should be clear from the context. Fast forward to your accomplishments by skipping over redundant words.

x I created a new distribution system

Created a new distribution system

  • Say it, spell it – some words sound the same but are spelt differently. As this is not always picked up by computers, be vigilant and proofread your CV carefully. Even minor slip-ups can suggest a lack of attention to detail and damage credibility. 

x Principle lead for there projects

Principal lead for their projects

When your CV is up to scratch, print it out. It is easier to pick up on spelling and grammatical errors in hard copy than on a screen.

  • Cut out superfluous words – as Thomas Jefferson said, “the most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words where one will do.” Avoid verbose phrases and stick to simplicity.

x Undertook the implementation of


x Achieved the completion of


  • Generic v specific – ditch sentences that could be applicable to anybody in any situation. These have limited appeal. Instead cite examples which differentiate you from your competitors and which showcase transferable talents relevant to a prospective employer. It is important also not merely to state your general duties but what you impact you had.

x Enthusiastic about knowledge transfer

Established monthly training sessions to give updates on market developments 

x Responsible for personnel development

Mentored junior colleagues to achieve industry accreditations

  • Jargon busting – unless writing for someone who understands sector-specific language, beware of abbreviations and acronyms. They are confusing and few have the patience to work out what a jumble of letters might signify. Your task is to provide a smooth read, not a guessing game.

x Member of ACEVO

Member of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations 

  • Active verbs – highlight what you actually did by using engaging verbs which suggest a dynamic rather than a passive or marginal contribution. 

x Attended a product launch

Demonstrated a product at its launch and handled all customer queries 

x Helped with the marketing strategy

Created a digital marketing platform

  • Add it up – some buzzwords are so over-used as to be meaningless and can become wearisome to read. But figures turn your expertise into concrete, memorable facts rather than vague, forgettable assertions. Quantify your success.

x Passionate about achieving cost savings

Achieved cost savings of 25%

x Gained experience in people management

10 years managing a team of 12 employees

  • Easy reading – avoid the temptation to cram more into your CV (the standard format is two A4 pages) by reducing the size and type of font. If a recruiter is left squinting, it’s game over. Opt for Arial or Times New Roman in font size 12. 

Your CV also benefits from white space, headings and bullet point lists in order to be user-friendly. The solution is in changing your words, not your layout. Consider different phrase formulations until you hit the most succinct one. A thesaurus is a helpful tool in this regard as it can suggest a range of suitable words.    

  • Made to measure – whilst you may have an all-purpose CV, attract more interest by tailoring it for each employer. What exactly does the job ad specify and how can you respond convincingly with words that resonate in this particular situation? Bespoke clothes feel special. So do bespoke CVs.

A smart move is to read your CV aloud, either to yourself or to a trusted person who can give practical feedback. Is your text punchy? Are you precise enough about your results? How do you come across? Edit and edit again. With the appropriate word choice, you can do justice to yourself and your talents – and be several steps closer to the job that you want.

With thanks to Rob Ashton of Emphasis Training, a consultancy specialising in business writing and communication –

Looking for more CV writing tips… How To Approach CV writing After A Career Break.


Transferable Skills

Top 10 Transferable Skills

Writing A CV Using Transferable Skills

Writing a CV after a career break or a career change can be tricky task. Our post about how to approach writing a CV after a career break discusses what you need to consider when writing your CV. But, in this post we wanted to dig deeper into discussing ‘what are transferable skills’.

What Are Transferable Skills?

Transferable Skills:

Skills acquired from a variety of settings than can be applied in a different setting. Consider non workplace acquired skills too.

Compared to

Job Related Skills:

Skills that are specific to a particular role or industry.

Adaptive Skills:

More in relation to personality traits that can aid you in your work.

Types Of Transferable Skills

Management / Supervisory / Leadership Skills:

Can you delegate responsibilities and establish an appropriate system of accountability? Are you able to monitor team progress and assess performance?

You may have managed a team at some point in your leisure or work commitments. Perhaps in your workplace you had a team report to you. These transferable management skills can be transferred across industries and different roles. Maybe you manage a sports team, school club, scouts or social clubs. Management skills show that you are capable of leading a team, spotting team members forte’s and enable team efficiency. These management skills inevitably contribute to increased productivity.

Organisational Skills:

Perhaps you sat on the PTA Committee and organised school events. Have you ran a playgroup and organised toddler activities. Maybe you organised workplace socials, meetings or rota’s. What did you do in previous roles that required you to be organised. Being organised is a transferable skill and that is a requirement for pretty much all jobs. Think about how you can provide evidence of good organisational skills.

Numeracy Skills:

If you have worked in commerce you will have varying degrees of handling figures. Did you cash up at the end of the day? Maybe you had to keep a stock log? Did you work in healthcare and have to deal with drug calculations. Perhaps you come from teaching, you may have taught maths at some level but also been involved with performance stats. Have you kept the books for a small business or voluntary organisation. Do you work out the finances for a partner or relative who is self employed?

These numeracy skills can be applied across different roles and industries. Think about how you have used math before and it what way. Use a simple brainstorming sketch.

IT Skills:

Many roles involve a degree of IT skills. Which systems did you use in a previous role? Have you experience of a Customer Relations Management (CRM) package or a Data Collection System? You may be familiar or expert at using productivity software which is invaluable for team efficiency and effectiveness. This may be Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), or Google Apps for Business (G-Suite, Sheets, Documents, Slides, Calendar).

Maybe you have experience setting up presentations in Microsoft Powerpoint or Google Slides. Have you managed spreadsheets in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel? Maybe you used other productivity software such as Open Office or Zoho?

However limited you feel your IT skills may be, they are relevant as a transferable skill. But, if you haven’t any IT skills or feel that you need a refresher to get up to speed then consider doing a short course to give you the confidence to say you have these skills. We have a collection of courses on site here.

Social Media:

Social Media is a large part of most people’s lives these days. Usually it’s to search the market place, check out local events or keep in touch with friends and family. But maybe you go one step further and you have a group on Facebook or you are a page admin. Is it successful? If so, you have social media skills which are vital to nearly every business. If you enjoy social media but want to learn more then consider courses by Digital Mums or one of our associated courses.


Have you worked to deadlines? Meeting deadlines with a valuable piece of work shows commitment to the cause, good organisational skills and effective work planning. Again all valuable transferable skills across roles and industries.

Reading / Writing:

It sounds simple but the good use of language, vocabulary, spelling and grammar are fantastic skills to have. All businesses have a form of internal and external communications. Good reading and writing skills are essential for effective communication. If you construct well written sentences, with perfect spelling and grammar then you have excellent written communication skills. If this is a key skill in the role you are applying for, provide evidence.

Maybe you are applying for a role that is not your first language? If this is the case, document what qualifications or experience you have using the language in question.

Mentoring Skills

Whichever role you have previously worked in, you have probably mentored someone junior to yourself. In which case you will have developed mentoring skills. Essential for any kind of management or supervisory role. Can you give feedback in a constructive way? Can you help others build on their knowledge and skills?

These mentoring skills are also associated with the ability to build up trusting relationships, key to productive teamwork.

Interpersonal Skills

Can you interact successfully with a wide range of people? Can you communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and cultures?

Great interpersonal skills are key to building effective relationships. Think about previous and current roles, both in the workplace and leisure time.

Negotiating Skills

Negotiating is learned from an early age. Even though we can all negotiate to some degree, how good are you at it? What have you had to do in previous roles? Can you listen, contribute, guide and compromise in negotiations. It is important to know where you can compromise and where you need to persist. Again good negotiating skills are built on the ability to build effective relationships.

What Now?

Remember, you are trying to convince a stranger that you are the person they need in their team. You must communicate your confidence and self belief in your CV. After all, why would they want to hire someone who doesn’t have confidence in the skills they are saying they have.

Good Luck and look out for more posts about rocking that CV soon.

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