Resume Adjectives: The Impact of Using Descriptive Language on Your Resume

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July 26, 2023
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It’s something we all learned in grade school—an adjective is a descriptive word that modifies a noun, telling what kind, which one, or how many (big dog, yellow dog, three dogs). 

But grade school was a long time ago, and maybe you haven’t made the jump to connecting adjectives to your resume. That’s okay! Here, we’re talking about mastering resume keywords like adjectives to bring your work experience and skills to life, describing what you have to offer in a way that can’t help but hook potential employers. 

In this post, we’ll also cover how you can use Teal’s  AI Resume Builder and its Resume Keyword Checker to help come up with descriptive words and strong resume adjectives. The Resume Builder makes your resume-writing process faster and easier by helping customize your resume using artificial intelligence, and the Keyword Checker provides feedback on which words to use and where to put them.

Ready to create a detailed, professional, impressive (hint: these are all adjectives) resume? Let’s get into it!

Using adjectives to build a compelling resume

Resume adjectives can be sprinkled all throughout your resume, from your short professional bio to a resume headline to the skills section, to strengthen each section. They help you create a better resume by making it memorable, painting a vivid picture of who you are and what you do.

Should you use the same adjectives on every resume? Not necessarily. While there are certainly some powerhouse words that can fit into a variety of situations (read on for a list), it’s also smart to handpick appropriate resume adjectives for your specific industry. 

As an accountant, you may need to be analytical rather than a free thinker, whereas a writer can afford to be more creative. Always consider your industry and the job posting when choosing adjectives. Looking at sample resumes online can help you get a feel for which words are common in certain industries.

Highlighted adjectives in a resume

The adjective arsenal: A deep dive into resume adjectives

So, adjectives are descriptive words that you should add to your resume to bring your work experience to life. What else do you need to know? Let’s look at a few specific use cases where powerful resume adjectives can be helpful, and discuss how you can use them in these circumstances.

  • Showcase your communication skills. What kind of communicator are you? Some people are analytical communicators. Others have a communication style that’s highly personable. Pick the right adjectives to describe yours. (This should go without saying, but make sure to use only positive adjectives—obviously, you won’t describe yourself as a “harsh” or “rude” communicator.)
  • Use key adjectives to portray flexibility. Employers prioritize candidates who can be flexible and agile in a professional context. Explain how you confidently pivoted in a former role, or your ability to cheerfully jump into new projects and go with the flow.
  • Express your attitude toward work. Passion goes a long way—and that includes the job search. Whether you’re applying for your dream role or your first career job out of college, use relevant adjectives to emphasize that your overall mindset about work is one that’s positive and eager to get started.
  • Demonstrate your problem-solving skills. High-impact adjectives can demonstrate your analytical and problem-solving prowess. Are you logical, inquisitive, or perceptive in your work? Throw those words into your resume.
  • Exhibit leadership abilities. Use strong adjectives for your resume to describe your organizational and leadership skills. Even if you don’t have managerial experience, adjectives are a great way to play up any projects you coordinated or team environments you’ve participated in.
  • Paint a picture of your work ethic. Hiring managers are in search of employees who are willing to get down and dirty. By choosing the best resume adjectives to describe your work ethic—like dedicated, hardworking, and enthusiastic—you'll indicate that you’re ready to jump right in.
  • Highlight time management and creative thinking skills. One final resume adjective example: Talk about your time management skills using strong, powerful adjectives that bring your competency to life. 

While there are some helpful do’s and don’ts when it comes to descriptors for your resume, there aren’t hard and fast rules. Get creative as you think about which words best describe you and your interpersonal skills in a way that will catch a hiring manager's attention.

The resume adjective lexicon: Your key to a powerful resume

Looking for the best resume adjectives that can help you describe workplace situations and skills? Get some inspiration by taking a look at these examples of effective resume adjectives for different types of work experience.

For a deep, explore our full selection of 600+ resume synonyms to find the right words to perfect your language.

Resume adjectives to showcase leadership skills

For professionals with experience leading teams or spearheading initiatives, these resume adjectives and resume keywords can highlight your ability to inspire and guide others:

  • Strategic: This word can underscore your ability to devise effective plans and make decisions that benefit the whole team.
  • Confident: Show potential employers that you are assured in your abilities and can make strong, informed choices.
  • Decisive: This adjective emphasizes your ability to make clear decisions quickly and efficiently.
  • Enterprising: Show off your innovative and risk-taking side, which is often essential in leadership roles.

Resume adjectives for detail-oriented work

If your role involves meticulous attention to detail, consider these adjectives to illustrate your focus and precision. For a more in-depth advice on how to use each term on your resume, visit the synonym page for examples.

  • Accurate: This term shows that you work with precision and correctness.
  • Methodical: Use this adjective to highlight your systematic and organized approach to tasks.
  • Diligent: This shows your careful and persistent work ethic.
  • Thorough: This term is perfect for demonstrating your commitment to covering all bases and leaving no stone unturned.

Resume adjectives for creative positions

For those in creative fields, these adjectives can help spotlight your innovative and imaginative attributes:

  • Creative: While it might seem obvious, this term is still a powerful way to showcase your ability to think outside the box.
  • Original: Use this to highlight your unique ideas and unconventional approach.
  • Versatile: Show your ability to adapt and work well in a variety of styles and mediums.
  • Artistic: This word can underscore your knack for aesthetics and design.

Resume adjectives for analytical roles

If you're applying for a position that requires strong analytical skills, consider using these adjectives and descriptive words:

  • Analytical: This can underscore your ability to assess and interpret complex situations.
  • Logical: Use this term to emphasize your strong reasoning skills.
  • Efficient: This word demonstrates your ability to work effectively with time and resources.
  • Expertise: Use this to underscore your in-depth knowledge and skills in a certain area.

Resume adjectives for client-facing roles

For roles that require a high level of interaction with clients or customers, these adjectives can highlight your interpersonal skills:

  • Personable: This shows your ability to get along well with others and make them feel at ease.
  • Attentive: This term can illustrate your capacity to listen and respond to client needs effectively.
  • Courteous: This highlights your commitment to being polite and respectful in all interactions.
  • Fluent: This adjective is especially useful if you're proficient in another language, enhancing your communication skills and ability to communicate with diverse clients.

Remember to sprinkle these adjectives throughout your resume, integrating them seamlessly with your experiences and skills. But as always, don't overuse any one term—variety is key to maintaining the interest of the reader (in this case, the hiring manager).

The art of balancing adjectives and action verbs in a resume

In addition to adjectives, you’ll want to include powerful resume action verbs, too—words that describe physical or mental actions or activities. Examples of good action verbs for a resume include managed, developed, created, implemented, analyzed.

Combine good resume adjectives and action verbs to create more powerful sentences and avoid overusing either one. This might sound like:

  • “Implemented a systematic method for categorizing new orders and sales, increasing revenue by 10% in 3 months.”
  • “Created an ingenious new product line that sold out within 2 days of launch.”
  • “Managed a team of 6 writers by creating a strategic monthly content calendar and providing detailed edits and feedback on copy, boosting blog traffic by 6%.”

Integrating resume descriptive words with action verbs helps you reap the benefits of both, writing sentences that highlight your skills, achievements, and experience in the most impactful way possible. 

Use the AI integration within Teal’s AI Resume Builder to generate metric-driven resume achievements and  plug your relevant adjectives. 

Resume adjective missteps: Pitfalls to avoid

It’s possible to have too much of a good thing—and that rings true for resume adjectives, too. Adjectives are like a seasoning. A few tastefully placed words can liven up your resume and job application in just the right way. But too many adjectives will be overpowering and might ruin the whole dish, showing a lack of creativity and imagination (which is exactly what you don’t want). 

The key to navigating resume buzzwords and cliches is using variety and relevance. Instead of stuffing adjectives anywhere you can put them, think carefully about which words would be most relevant in a certain place. “Detail-oriented business analyst” makes sense, but is likely overused. Billing yourself as a “precise” or “meticulous” business analyst might sound even better. 

Next, focus on variety, challenging yourself to not use a single adjective more than 1–2 times in your resume. This can help you come up with adjectives for your resume that truly stand out from other applicants to prospective employers. 

Tools to help you craft an adjective-optimized resume

Not a grammar nerd? Good news: You don’t have to tackle adjectives (or resumes) alone. Teal’s AI Resume Builder is an effective (and free!) tool that can help. 

The Resume Builder is a powerful AI-driven tool that gives you customized feedback at every stage as you create your resume from scratch or from your preexisting LinkedIn profile. It’s a great way to save time during your job search while feeling confident in the knowledge that your resume is optimized to stand out.

Teal’s Resume Keyword Checker also helps you specifically use resume adjectives effectively. This feature guides you toward the best professional adjectives that describe your experience or skills, simultaneously aligning these words with the job description to catch the hiring manager’s eye. 

Job tools like these can make all the difference—think of them as an extra set of eyes, providing expert feedback on resume and CV adjectives. 

Wrapping up: Harnessing the power of adjectives for a winning resume

When used strategically, adjectives are a powerful addition to your resume. The right resume adjectives will help show hiring managers who you are and why you’re right for them. And with the strong resume adjective list shared here, you’re well on your way to describing your work experience and organizational skills like never before.

Feeling inspired? Take your newfound knowledge of good adjectives to use on a resume and plug it into Teal’s Resume Builder and Keyword Checker. With the AI Resume Builder, you can save valuable hours of your job search, getting real-time insight on the best words to use for each specific job description instead of scrolling through endless word lists online. Get started by signing up for Teal's free AI Resume Builder platform today.

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Hailey Hudson

Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She writes in the healthcare, digital marketing, education, and pet industries.

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