Adjectives add a bit of spice to your resume. Think of them like the salt and pepper sprinkled on your favorite meal or the cherry on top of a delicious cake. The right adjectives can make your resume pop and spike interest, the wrong ones can make you seem bland and uninteresting.
When packing some punch and flavor into your story, balancing the adjectives with authenticity is vital. The right adjectives are the best recipe for serving up your resume and making a positive first impression.
So, which adjectives are the best ones to use? Where should you include power adjectives to catch a recruiter’s attention? In this article we explore:
Benefits of including resume adjectives
100+ examples of resume adjectives
Where to include resume adjectives
According to an article published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top soft skills that recruiters look for include the ability to work in a team, problem-solving skills, and communication skills (both written and verbal).
Benefits of including good resume adjectives
Powerful adjectives allow you to emphasize your skills and experience, enabling you to stand out in the applicant pool. The right adjectives will help engage the hiring manager, demonstrate your strong communication skills, and reinforce that you are the perfect person for the job.
When you consider that a hiring manager may only spend a few seconds on the initial resume review, it makes sense to seize the opportunity to highlight key points and make a lasting impression. Relevant and thoughtful resume adjectives will help you stand out and move forward in the hiring process.
100+ example adjectives for resumes
For inspiration on the best adjectives to include in your resume, here are 100+ examples to get you started!
Resume adjectives to describe adaptability
Adaptability is the ability to rapidly adjust to new situations. Individuals who possess this skill can easily navigate unfamiliar environments and successfully deal with any new challenges. This can be soft-skill gold to a potential employer! Here are some resume adjectives to highlight your adaptability:
Resume adjectives to describe communication skills
Showcasing your communication skills in your resume tells the hiring manager how you interact positively at all levels, whether that is with clients, co-workers, suppliers, or your boss. Here are some punchy resume adjectives to describe your communication skills:
Resume adjectives to describe leadership style
While the role you are applying for may not require you to lead a team, leadership skills can arise in other situations, such as taking the lead on a group project. Try these resume adjectives to highlight your leadership skills on your resume:
Resume adjectives to describe analytical skills
Applying an analytical approach allows you to look at the bigger picture, review the facts, identify any common threads or patterns, then make logical decisions. Here’s are some resume adjectives that put the spotlight on your amazing analytical capabilities:
Sprinkling your cover letter with some powerful and exciting resume adjectives is another opportunity not to be missed. Done well, a cover letter can set you apart from the crowd and encourage the hiring manager to thoroughly review your resume.
Resume adjectives to describe organizational abilities
Balancing different tasks can be a juggling act, but having strong organizational skills enables you to manage multiple demands effectively. Here are some top adjectives to illustrate your outstanding organizational abilities:
Resume adjectives to describe a strong work ethic
Employers highly value a strong work ethic because it’s a key indicator that you are motivated to perform well and likely to work hard to achieve organizational goals. A strong work ethic can also lead to additional responsibilities and maybe even a promotion. Here are some examples of impactful resume adjectives to show the hiring manager you have the right work ethic:
Resume adjectives to describe creativity
Creativity is a major plus in the workplace, and employers are always looking for candidates who are able to develop the best solutions for different problems and challenges. Showcase your creative approach with these resume adjectives:
Resume adjectives to show teamwork
Most jobs involve some aspect of teamwork, so it’s understandable why this soft skill is rated highly by employers. Focus on using some of these powerful resume adjectives to sell your abilities as a strong team player and team builder:
Resume adjectives to show digital literacy
Technology permeates all areas of our lives and the business world. Employers value the ability to effectively use technology to achieve business objectives.. Here are a few examples of powerful resume adjectives to describe your digital literacy:
- Be honest when choosing resume adjectives and select those that accurately describe you. This will avoid any issues at an interview, where you may be asked to back these descriptors up with specific examples.
- Overuse resume adjectives. Less is more! Lots of adjectives strung together will have a negative effect. You may come across as a bit pretentious, and the resume will not flow well in terms of readability.
Where should you include resume adjectives?
Having some powerful adjectives prepared for your resume is great, but you need to make sure you are placing them in the best possible locations so that they add real value. Here are the strongest places to leverage resume adjectives to your best advantage:
1. Career or professional summary
The professional summary is a short paragraph at the beginning of your resume that outlines your relevant experience, skills, and any notable career highlights. It’s a snapshot of your work history that sells you as the ideal person for your target job.
Including powerful resume adjectives is a great opportunity to make a strong first impression:
Forward-thinking HR Manager, with 5+ years’ experience in all facets of human resource management. Proven success in the delivery of insightful analytics that drive change and performance improvement. Dedicated to the delivery of visionary leadership to HR teams.
2. Professional experience
Your work history tends to be the core section on your resume, so it makes sense to include some powerful adjectives here to amplify your resume. Selecting the right resume adjectives here will sell your skills, experience, and accomplishments to the hiring manager. Here are some examples:
Conceptualized and delivered a cutting-edge guest experience program that improved service standards by 40 percent in 12 weeks.
Provided energized leadership, mentoring and support to large-scale teams, comprising up to 180 personnel.
Raised staff retention levels by 35 percent, while serving as an instrumental leader of employee engagement initiatives.
3. Key skills
Your key skills section is another great place to capture the attention of recruiters and the applicant tracking systems they use. Consulting the job description and including some targeted resume adjectives here can make a significant difference in getting favorable applicant tracking system results:
Advanced knowledge of Visual Studio and Codespaces
Inclusive and supportive team player
Making a great first impression via your resume is vital. Compelling resume adjectives are a key way to achieve this goal and stand out from the crowd.
Analyze the job description to find resume adjectives and keywords that are specific to the job opening and highlight your most relevant skills and experience.
Use compelling resume adjectives in your professional summary, work history, and expertise sections. You can also include some powerful adjectives in a cover letter.
Balance your use of resume adjectives. Too many adjectives can be distracting and potentially pretentious, but too few won’t spark a lot of interest.