5 words stealing space on your CV (and 5 better choices)

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According to CV-Library, recent research reveals that littering your CV with buzzwords is a major mistake that could jeopardize your career opportunities. And with recruiters spending an average of six seconds on your CV, you need to make sure it packs a punch for the right reasons, immediately. 

Therefore, we’re here to ensure your CV impresses every recruiter. Read on to discover the five words stealing space on your CV and five better choices.

The offenders

Here is a list of the most common offenders stealing valuable space on your CV that you need to consider cutting, pronto.

‘Curriculum Vitae’

If you’ve got ‘Curriculum Vitae’ plastered across the top of your CV you need to remove it immediately.

Not only is this unnecessary phrase taking up valuable space, it’s overshadowing the most important phrase on your CV – your name!

Your name, followed by your personal details, should be showcased at the top of your CV. After all, this document is all about you. Research suggests that recruiters spend some of those six seconds looking at the top of your CV, and so it would be a huge shame to see their attention wasted on the phrase ‘Curriculum Vitae’.


If you’re unemployed or have been, you don’t need to write this on your CV.

Recruiters will be able to see where your gaps are via the employment dates, and therefore writing ‘unemployed’ is fruitless.


If you’ve used the phrase ‘excellent leadership skills’ you should think about cutting it.

According to LinkedIn, ‘Leadership’ was the number one buzzword in the world last year. That means, if you’re using it in your CV, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd at all.

‘Microsoft Office’

In this day and age, employers assume that most professionals have proficient Microsoft Office skills; especially many were taught how to use the software at school and through subsequent office jobs.

Although nearly three quarters of recruiters believe that candidates should list basic skills such as Microsoft Office, you should consider removing this skill from your CV if you have more impressive abilities to showcase.

As a rule of thumb, you should only include this specific skill if it’s a requirement listed in the job description.

‘Extensive experience’

Hands up if you’ve got the phrase ‘extensive experience’ listed on your CV?

It’s all very well saying that you have extensive experience in something, but that doesn’t really help the recruiter out. Instead you should try to explain what your experience is; perhaps it’s using different software or working with different clients.

If you’ve used the phrase ‘extensive experience’ in relation to the industry you’re working in, for example, ‘extensive experience in engineering’, you should cut this phrase from your CV altogether as the recruiter will see this from your employment history section.

The must-haves

Up next is a list of the words that are a much more favourable addition to your CV, as opposed to their criminal counterparts.

Numbers, specifics and examples

If you really want to show the recruiter you know your stuff, the proof is in the pudding.

Therefore, instead of saying you ‘achieved target’, for example, give the recruiter a number that reflects your results and performance. Percentages, numbers, specifics and examples are guaranteed to add weight to your skills and abilities and prove to the recruiter why you’re such a great catch.


Did you lead a project? Or, perhaps you ran one? Whether you led, ran or handled something, you’re boring the recruiter with your terminology.

If you really want to pack a punch, use a more impressive verb, such as ‘controlled’. Not only does it show that you oversaw and managed a project, it also suggests that you coordinated team members and planned and organised elements, too.


Recruiters adore job hunters who have helped a team operate more efficiently, or boosted a company’s numbers in some way. But instead of using a verb as bland and common as ‘increase’, try out ‘delivered’ as it has powerful connotations of achievement and gain.


In your CV you may have referenced how you’ve changed or improved something. This is good, but it would be even better to talk about these amazing developments by using the word ‘redesigned’.

This word choice shows that you’re innovative and creative and are able to bring about changes all the way to execution.

Now that’s talent a company can’t ignore.


It’s vital to include your achievements on your CV rather than just your duties and responsibilities. But there’s a trick to making your achievements shine.

Instead of stating that you ‘achieved’ your target, try ‘outperformed’ instead. This powerful verb emphasises how you can achieve, exceed and, most importantly, succeed.

If you want to seriously impress recruiters and potential employers with your CV, make sure you remove the words stealing valuable space and replace them with absolute gems.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Why not see what the experts think by getting a FREE CV review from Top CV? Get your FREE CV review here.

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