What’s in a word? Tips on how to improve your cover letters and CV

03 Apr 2018 | Career

Last year I advertised a position vacant on one of the well-known online job search sites. Did the successful applicant do anything differently?

In this instance, the answer is YES.

Sixty-two applications were received, ten applicants were short-listed for a telephone interview, five attended a face-to-face interview and one was the successful candidate. It is interesting to reflect upon what makes a cover letter and CV stand out from the crowd.

Of the sixty-two applications received, only one – that of the successful applicant – was personally addressed to the individual doing the recruitment, even though this information had not been included in the job ad. Did this one act secure the job for this individual? Well no, yet it did demonstrate the attributes of professionalism, attention to detail and resourcefulness key to the role. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and the like make it easier than ever to obtain relevant information to enhance your job application. Or simply call the organisation and ask for the relevant details.

In all applications, you are selling yourself to the influencers and the decision-makers. And yourself specifically means your skills, abilities and attitude. Your qualifications and experience are easily communicated. Communicating your unique strengths, skills and abilities is the essence of applying for the role and making it on to the short-list.

It is important to sell yourself quickly, clearly and persuasively at all opportunities. The decision-makers have limited time to get to know you and then be convinced that you are a potential good fit for the role. You have only limited time to influence them.

Below you will find a handy list of synonyms to assist you when describing your strengths, abilities and attitude in a cover letter or CV.

Words to use when describing your Attributes in a covering letter or CV:

Adaptable

Articulate

Assertive

Attentive to detail

Accept change

Ambitious

Articulate

Calm

Careful

Candid

Cheerful

Compassionate

Competitive

Common sense

Confident

Consistent

Conscientious

Co-operative

Creative

Copes with uncertainty

Decision maker

Dedicated

Deliberate

Dependable

Diplomatic

Discreet

Dynamic

Efficient

Energetic

Enthusiastic

Entrepreneurial

Firm

Flexible

Friendly

Generous

Good natured

Hard working

Healthy

Honest

Imaginative

Innovative

Intelligent

Loyal

Mature

Methodical

Objective

Optimistic

Outgoing

Original

Patient

Perceptive

Polite

Positive

Practical

Precise

Punctual

Realistic

Reasonable

Resourceful

Respectful

Resilient

Results orientated

Self motivated

Sense of humour

Sensitive

Sincere

Sociable

Spontaneous

Stable

Tactful

Team player

Thorough

Thoughtful

Trustworthy

Well organised

Well connected