Why It’s Important to Use Resume Adjectives
Good adjectives for your resume set the tone for your application, and emphasize important information about your experience and/or skills.
Not only that, but descriptive words grab attention and make your resume memorable. That’s why strong resume words and professional adjectives are crucial to the success of your resume.
To help you get started, here’s our list of the best adjectives to use on your resume.
List of Powerful Resume Adjectives
Here are 115+ adjectives you can use to highlight your resume skills and improve your application.
Each set of words is categorized according to the skill that they help describe.
Candidates with strong leadership skills are essential for any company. Use these adjectives for leadership to demonstrate your ability to manage teams and guide others to success:
Here’s an example of how a sales manager candidate used powerful leadership adjectives to strengthen their resume objective (the adjectives have been highlighted):
Decisive Sales Manager with 7+ years of experience driving profitability through strategic growth and passionate leadership. Presently seeking a suitable leadership position with a market-leading, high-growth company that offers opportunities for advancement.
What makes this example outstanding is that the candidate quickly showcases their qualifications, and uses resume adjectives to emphasize the skills they can bring to the company. Used well, strong adjectives can reinforce your point and help you communicate more information with fewer words.
Work Ethic Adjectives
If you need some good resume adjectives to highlight your work ethic, look no further.
Here are 28 powerful work ethic adjectives to describe yourself and your work:
Employers are always looking for candidates who can think of creative solutions to problems. Demonstrate your talent for innovation with these strong resume adjectives:
Team Player Adjectives
Team players keep companies running smoothly and make work more enjoyable for everyone else. These words will help you demonstrate your teamwork credentials to the hiring manager:
If you’re emailing clients, closing deals, and helping customers, strong communication skills are a must. These resume adjectives can highlight your ability to communicate effectively and keep clients happy:
Organizational Skills Adjectives
Whether you’re in management or just an intern, keeping your work organized is vital.
Are you the kind of person who color codes your files and never misses an appointment? Then these strong organizational skills adjectives are for you:
Interpersonal Skills Adjectives
Offices composed of employees with strong interpersonal skills often perform better, and hiring managers are always on the look-out for candidates with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
Use these resume adjectives to highlight your interpersonal prowess and show that you’re a good fit for any office:
The modern workplace is changing faster than ever. So how do businesses keep up? With highly adaptable employees.
Show you can cope when a sale doesn’t go through and adapt when a new, system-wide change is implemented with these powerful resume adjectives:
How to Use Resume Adjectives
As long as you avoid generic clichés, strong adjectives are an effective way to highlight and emphasize your experience throughout your job application.
But to make the best use of adjectives on your resume:
- Avoid using bigger words just to sound impressive.
Your resume has limited space to showcase your accomplishments. State things succinctly and pack more substance into your application rather than filling your resume with stylish fluff.
- Use adjectives to enhance your experience, not replace it.
Adjectives should be combined with actionable examples of accomplishments on your resume. All too often, job seekers simply describe themselves as “detail-oriented” or say something they did was “great” with no context. This doesn’t demonstrate how you’re detail-oriented, or what made your action great.
To make your resume adjectives effective, attach them to a larger point about your specific qualifications or accomplishments. Here’s an example:
My comprehensive background in SEO includes website auditing & servicing, keyword research, and performing top-tier Google data analysis.
This example works because the candidate provides details about their experience, and uses adjectives to emphasize their assets. They don’t just say “skilled at SEO,” they use specifics to demonstrate their skills, and then use adjectives to qualify certain strengths.
Another way to effectively use resume adjectives is to attach them to hard numbers. Here’s an example:
Successfully implemented a more efficient inter-team communication technique, saving the company an average of $12,000 annually.
This example works because it tells you what the job seeker accomplished, how they accomplished it, and provides detailed metrics about the results. Then, the candidate uses professional adjectives to emphasize the impact of their accomplishment.
When NOT to Use Adjectives for Your Resume
While adjectives can enhance your resume, it’s important to know when they’re better left off of your resume.
When you’re relying on buzzwords
Adjectives — no matter how strong — are never a replacement for concrete data with appropriate examples.
Take specific instances from your work experience to highlight your skills, and rid your resume of unnecessary buzzwords.
Here’s how one candidate used adjectives in their resume introduction the wrong way, by filling their sentence with buzzwords:
I am skilled in a vast, interconnected array of SEO areas.
This sentence sounds nice, but actually says little about their qualifications. Their resume adjectives are just using up space, and don’t provide anything of additional value to the hiring manager.
When you could have used a number
Adjectives are also not a replacement for hard numbers on your resume.
If you’re describing something you accomplished at work, be as specific as possible and include concrete numbers to illustrate the results you delivered.
Here’s an example of how one candidate made the mistake of using resume adjectives as a replacement for concrete information:
Successfully implemented efficient new cost-saving techniques.
This example fails because it doesn’t provide enough information to back up the candidate’s accomplishments. Without specific information about what they achieved or how they achieved it, the resume adjectives have nothing to enhance, and end up sounding meaningless.
You Know the Best Adjectives for Resumes. Now What?
Selecting a few strong adjectives for your resume is a great way to enhance your application and grab the attention of the reader.
When considering adjectives to use in a resume, remember to:
- Stay away from overused adjectives like “hard-working”
- Use adjectives that enhance your accomplishments
Although effectively leveraging resume adjectives can help your application read better, the real substance of your resume is delivered in your experience section. That why it’s important that you know how to write a resume that effectively and succinctly highlights your strengths.
Or, if you want a unique resume, our easy-to-use resume builder will walk you through each step of the writing process in just minutes.