Best Adjectives To Describe Yourself On a Resume

Can a single word make or break your job application? The answer is definitely a big “YES!” Some powerful adjectives can set a tone for your resume and help it excel over other CVs. As many people believe, using the same adjectives recruiters and employers use in their job postings would be helpful, where many of them are even utilizing applicant tracking software to look for resumes that best match what they have written. It is also fine to use closely-related synonyms.

However, it is also equally important to customize your resume in a way that it is still aligned with what your target employer is seeking. With this in mind, here are some adjectives that can make a good impression on hiring personnel and land that interview:

Agile or Flexible

You can start with these words, as they have become a favorite, but make sure you are also ready with an example of your agility or flexibility.


It is recommended to imply that you are resilient, because many companies believe that their workplaces are stressful, so they would want job applicants to be able to manage the stress.

Dedicated, Diligent and Confident

Hiring experts recommend using these active and positive adjectives in your resume. For instance, you can use “diligent” to show your love of a job well done, “dedicated” to show your passion, motivation and willingness, and “confident” to show your knowledge of yourself and your capability to accomplish any task without hesitating or being afraid.

Proactive, Self-Starter and Having the Desire to Learn

These adjectives are best to be used if you are looking to become an assistant, designer or a member of a virtual team for an online business. As you can see, implying that you have these traits will make such an employer wanting to take the chance to work with you. But again, you have to present some examples of how you are having these qualities, rather than just saying that you are.

Role-Highlighting Adjectives

Other effective adjectives that you can place strategically on your resume to highlight your role in a company include “prompt”, “thorough”, “complex”, “team-centered”, cost-effective”, “extensive”, “customer-focused” and “innovative”.

Words to Stay Away From as Much as Possible

While there are suggested adjectives to place on your resume, there are also those that can cost you your success.

1. “Expert”
It is commonly believed that it would take a person around 10,000 hours of practice in a particular field for him to become an expert, so before you dub yourself as such on your resume, take time to consider whether you have really reached such a status. Also, would your employer consider you to be an expert? Sparingly use words of authority if you do not have the experience to support it.

2. “Guru” or “Master”
Some words, such as these, just seem a little arrogant or pretentious, so try to avoid using them to represent your experience.

3. “Organized”
As most employees have to be organized to a certain degree to perform efficiently, you cannot tell hiring personnel that you have such a trait, as you might be setting up a false expectation that you are “more organized” than other candidates. Though it is still fine to make such a claim, but make sure you can live up to the image of perfectly filed and labeled documents, precision timetabling, neatly formatted spreadsheets, etc.

4. “Creative”
Once you describe yourself as a person of ideas, a hiring manager would expect you to be able to support such a claim, like you better have some examples specific circumstances or achievements where you have used creativity in the workplace. Make them tangible to an employer by demonstrating the ways through which you have made a positive difference or benefited a team.

5. “Ambitious”
A potential employer would be able to recognize your ambition by just looking at how you present yourself in your resume, thus you do not need to remind everyone of how successful you want to be, but just let your achievements spell out your ambition for you. Or else, you might accidentally make an impression of being a bit of narcissistic or too focused on working towards your own success, rather than towards the business.

6. “Extremely”
Are you extremely enthusiastic, passionate or diligent about your work? Good for you, but including these words to quantify how much you want the job might not work in your favor because it might make you seem a little over-excited or too keen.

7. “Bubbly”
As a new job applicant, you can be keen to show off your effervescent personality in the workplace, where everything seems to be new and exciting, but be careful not to make yourself sound like you are ditzy or giddy. If you truly are a friendly person, it would show through how you interact with your interviewer by the time you will come face-to-face with him/her and your colleagues when you manage to land the job.

General Styles and Content That You Should Avoid

Keep in mind that the purpose of your resume is to get you an interview, so make sure it speaks clear and loud for you. If you find it hard to phrase your words the right way, then here are some helpful pieces of advice:

Exclude unrealistic accomplishments. You should be realistic in your skill set, as if you exaggerate your experience and skills, you will have to justify them at the interview.

Avoid long passive phases. Write your resume in the present tense and include lots of action words and be direct to the point, or else you will put the one reading your resume to sleep.

Leave out personal unrelated activities. Unless they are relevant to your target position, there is no point including what you do personally to impress the person reviewing your resume.

Avoid jargon and overly technical information. Just include what you know and do not be ambiguous in your language.

Final Thought

The best way to determine the adjectives that suit you best is to examine the bullet points under your job description and determine their importance. The strategic adjectives in this article can help illustrate the value you will bring to your prospective employer.