CV Tip: Use a Thesaurus to write your CV! - CV Plaza

CV Tip: Use a Thesaurus to write your CV!

author Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert         date 19 Apr 2019

One of the biggest crimes that job seekers and CV writers are guilty of is repeatedly duplicating adjectives when describing their personal attributes and strengths.

What are we talking about, you ask? Glad you asked. Consider the following three examples of a candidate describing their personal attributes on their CV:

Excellent … communication skills

Very good … management skills

Strong technical skills

The ugly effects of duplicating adjectives on CV

Using the same adjective more than once is not a very good idea. Really.

Besides making your CV look dull, it is also quite annoying. What would a prospective employer think when they see a CV that contains the following list:

  • Excellent… communication skills
  • Good… team player
  • Excellent… management skills
  • Very good… technical skills
  • Excellent… eye for detail

What does this tell you?

It tells a prospective employer: you have a problem with expressing yourself in different, creative and meaningful ways. An employer will sit there, staring at a CV of an unfortunate candidate and ask themselves ‘why, oh why, can’t this candidate express themselves in any different way, besides as ‘excellent’ or ‘good?

That is the hard reality.

Duplicate adjectives on CVs and its solution

This is where a Thesaurus comes in.

A Thesaurus will tell you all the similar words or phrases that have the same meaning for a given word but which are expressed differently. These words and phrases are known as synonyms. To give you an idea, let us look at our favourite word, “excellent”….

The synonyms for excellent are:

Using a Thesaurus to write a good CV

As the above diagram illustrates, the first three words (outstanding, brilliant, and exceptional) can easily replace all the 32 excellent’s that you have used on your CV (so far)!

The other two words (tremendous and superb) which we have marked with a red cross may come over as unrealistic and arrogant, and it is best to avoid these.

How to use a Thesaurus

Microsoft Word (2007):

  1. Highlight the word for which you want to find a synonym
  2. Right-click and scroll down to synonyms
  3. A separate list will appear. Select an appropriate synonym by clicking on it
  4. Repeat the same steps for all the other duplicate adjectives you have used
  5. Congratulations; you’ve just improved your CV dramatically!


  1. Open an internet browser and go to
  2. Type in “Thesaurus” and you will be presented with hundreds of websites where you can access thesauruses and improve your CV!

How to describe your personal attributes on your CV

The following are some of the ways in which you can describe your strengths:

  • Skilled at…
  • Extremely good at…
  • A skilful…
  • Very good at….
  • Exceptionally skilled in….
  • An expert in…
  • Have a talent for…
  • Qualified to….

In conclusion, we’ll leave you with some food for thought:

‘’What’s another word for a Thesaurus?”

Written by Sobhan Mohmand
Sobhan is a qualified Careers Advisor and Professional CV Writer with over 10 years of experience in helping job seekers get a job. He is a Member of the Careers Development Institute (CDI) and is listed on the official UK Register of Career Development Professionals. He holds a Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development (QCF).