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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:
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.”
Here are a few CV writing tips to properly use action verbs:
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:
For the job of an account executive:
Do problem-solving skills come naturally to you? Here are other words you can use in your CV to show potential employers:
For the job of a programmer:
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:
For the job of a research assistant:
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:
For the job of a copywriter:
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:
For the job of a car salesman:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Some general powerful action verbs you can use in your CV are:
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.
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:
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.
We personalize your experience.