Energize your CV with these 100 CV words

Give your CV more pep with these 100 action words for a CV, plus our list of CV words you can use in place of overused, cliche phrases.



Table of Contents

  1. CV action words
  2. What are CV action words?
  3. How do you use action verbs in a CV?
  4. CV words to use: group and project management
  5. CV words to use: problem-solving
  6. CV words to use: analysis
  7. CV words to use: communication
  8. CV words to use: achievements
  9. Synonyms for overused words
  10. FAQ: CV action words

CV action words

When you write a CV, you must pay special attention to your words. Hiring managers don’t just care about what you’ve done in the past; they also care about how you talk about it. That’s where action verbs come in!

To help your CV stand out, on this page we will:

  • Give you a full understanding of how to use CV action verbs in your CV.
  • Provide action words you can use to cover a variety of job situations and achievements.
  • Give you a list of synonyms to replace the tyred catchphrases most job seekers use on their CVs.

What are CV action words?

CV action words are a way you can highlight strengths on your CV. You can use them in your professional summary or career objective and work experience sections.

Action verbs remove the need for personal pronouns like I, me or my, they make your statements stronger and more straightforward, and they allow you to talk about your technical skills, hard skills and soft skills in different ways.

For example, say you’re a customer service professional writing a bullet point in your work history section; instead of saying “Was responsible for taking phone calls” an action verb like “answered” will strengthen your statement so that you could write instead, “Answered an average of 40 incoming calls per day.”

Or imagine that you’re a software developer and want to tell the recruiter how many people you worked with on projects. Instead of writing “I worked with six people,” you could say, “Collaborated with six people across departments to successfully launch new apps.”

How do you use action verbs in a CV?

Here are a few CV writing tips to properly use action verbs:

  • Look at CV examples from your field. They can give you an idea of the type of wording you can use and are an excellent source of inspiration.
  • Tailor your CV to the job description. Beyond being the place where you submit your CV, the job posting should serve as a guide to determine what skills and work accomplishments to highlight. Including some of these keywords in your CV will also help it make it past the applicant tracking systems (ATS) employers use.
  • Keep your phrases concise. Get straight to the point in your statements and make sure the wording you’re using matches the action verb.
  • Pack an extra punch with quantifiable metrics. Ensure your action verbs are extra powerful by combining them with a number. So instead of just saying “Tasked with editing articles,” you should say, “Edited an average of eight articles a day.”

CV words to use: group and project management

If you managed a project and have management skills or leadership skills that are important for the job, here are some strong action verbs you can use:

  • Oversaw
  • Conceptualised
  • Streamlined
  • Mentored
  • Tutored
  • Critiqued
  • Advised
  • Familiarised
  • Guided
  • Organised
  • Arranged
  • Assembled
  • Shaped
  • Counseled
  • Conducted
  • Planned
  • Recruited
  • Supervised
  • Managed
  • Trained

Example of a CV action verb in action:

For the job of an account executive:

  • Streamlined conversation between agency and seven clients to successfully navigate marketing campaigns.

CV words to use: problem-solving

Do problem-solving skills come naturally to you? Here are other words you can use in your CV to show potential employers:

  • Clarified
  • Refined
  • Refocused
  • Redesigned
  • Overhauled
  • Remodelled
  • Reorganised
  • Transformed
  • Strengthened
  • Updated
  • Upgraded
  • Replaced
  • Budgeted
  • Delegated
  • Consolidated
  • Catalogued
  • Grouped
  • Tested
  • Verified
  • Improved

Example of a CV action verb in action:

For the job of a programmer:

  • Updated internal servers every month and increased performance by 50%.

CV words to use: analysis

If you had to actively use your research skills or analyze numbers and the competition, mix up your wording by including some of the following CV action verbs:

  • Analyzed
  • Investigated
  • Researched
  • Forecasted
  • Measured
  • Modelled
  • Projected
  • Monitored
  • Anticipated
  • Assessed
  • Compared
  • Detected
  • Evaluated
  • Reported
  • Verified
  • Surveyed
  • Measured
  • Computed
  • Tracked
  • Identified

Example of a CV action verb in action:

For the job of a research assistant:

  • Analysed new data and compared it to data found in previous research to determine new course of action.

CV words to use: communication

If there’s one universal soft skill that is needed in every single job, regardless of industry, it would be communication. Here are some action verbs that express good verbal and written communication skills:

  • Authored
  • Presented
  • Edited
  • Draughted
  • Outlined
  • Counseled
  • Composed
  • Campaigned
  • Wrote
  • Articulated
  • Spoke
  • Rewrote
  • Refined
  • Responded
  • Reported
  • Represented
  • Publicised
  • Created
  • Illustrated
  • Documented

Example of a CV action verb in action:

For the job of a copywriter:

  • Wrote a total of eight unique and original campaign slogans for agency’s major clients.

CV words to use: achievements

Did you accomplish something big at work? Did you successfully complete a project? These are all important snippets that you should include in your CV’s work experience section, with power words like:

  • Completed
  • Won
  • Outperformed
  • Showcased
  • Finished
  • Demonstrated
  • Exceeded
  • Reached
  • Accelerated
  • Accomplished
  • Acquired
  • Delegated
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Encouraged
  • Targeted
  • Reduced
  • Shaped
  • Simplified
  • Solved

Example of a CV action verb in action:

For the job of a car salesman:

  • Exceeded monthly sales goal by 80%, selling a total of 10 units.

Synonyms for overused words

Nailing down how to write a CV can be tough when you’re not sure what words to use to substitute cliché words and phrases. Not to worry! Here are synonyms for overused CV words that you can use:

  • “Responsible for…”
    • Created
    • Produced
    • Executed
    • Achieved
    • Accomplished
  • “Tasked with…”
    • Prepared
    • Fashioned
    • Developed
    • Constructed
    • Composed
  • “Worked on…”
    • Arranged
    • Navigated
    • Forged
    • Organized
    • Pursued
  • “Improved…”
    • Boosted
    • Customized
    • Redesigned
    • Refined
    • Integrated
  • “Managed…”
    • Directed
    • Guided
    • Shaped
    • Supervised
    • Piloted
  • “Served…”
    • Administered
    • Offered
    • Provided
    • Dispatched
    • Brought
  • “Assisted…”
    • Aided
    • Facilitated
    • Supported
    • Cooperated
    • Collaborated

FAQ: CV action words

Q: What are some overused CV phrases to replace with action words?

Some terms to describe yourself have been so overused that they’re often regarded as tired buzzwords. Avoid them when you can and substitute action words instead. Here are a few buzzwords to avoid:

  • Go-getter
  • Hard worker
  • Outside the box
  • Expert
  • Innovative
  • Team player
  • Teamwork
  • Synergy/synergised
  • Results-driven
  • Focused

These buzzwords don’t tell the hiring manager anything. Saying that you “think outside the box” doesn’t give any extra information about how you think; it just fills out a checklist. You want to show off your skills and how you’ve used them, and using action verbs can make a difference.

Q: How can I make sure I’m not being overly flashy with my action verbs?

Even action verbs can be carried too far. Cheque our CV examples or CV templates for how to best use action verbs and hold back from being too casual or “colourful.” For instance, you wouldn’t want to use words like “destroyed” or “smashed,” even if you’re using them in a positive context. Not only do these words very rarely actually provide anything extra to your CV but they can also be read in a negative light rather than a positive one.

Saying “Systematised paperwork submission processes” is much more effective than saying “Destroyed paperwork issues at previous workplace.” The second reads very unprofessionally, but the first gives helpful information.

Q: What is the difference between action words and keywords?

Keywords are certain words that you’ll find in the job description during your job search that tell you the specific skills and experiences an employer is looking for. These words will be picked up by applicant tracking systems (ATS) employers often use to scan CVs and make sure you’re qualified for a specific job.

Action words, on the other hand, are verbs that showcase how you do certain things in your job. They’re both words you’ll use all throughout your CV, but one of them helps with ATS and the other helps when it actually gets to a hiring manager.

Q: What are some action words for a CV?

Some general powerful action verbs you can use in your CV are:

  • Directed
  • Oversaw
  • Managed
  • Pioneered
  • Cataloged
  • Quantified
  • Computed
  • Critiqued
  • Systemised
  • Streamlined
  • Debugged
  • Organised
  • Facilitated
  • Furthered
  • Arbitrated
  • Mediated

What action word you use will depend on the job you are applying for and the industry. It’s important to add them to your CV to give the recruiters and hiring managers the impression that you’re a proactive and energetic professional.

Q: What are some not-so-good action words to use in a CV?

Words can have the power to make or break a CV, so it’s crucial that you choose the right action verbs. Some weak CV words to avoid include:

  • Worked
  • Made
  • Studied
  • Took
  • Showed
  • Said
  • Watched
  • Tried

As you can see, the words mentioned above are generic and vague. They don’t paint a clear picture of what you did or your impact and may result in a bland CV that leaves hiring managers desiring more.


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