When writing your CV, it’s important to avoid weak and passive verbs, stay away from business jargon or clichés, and watch out for tired words and phrases. These faulty word choices can undermine the strength and effectiveness of your CV. Instead, make a point of using powerful action verbs and avoid overusing the same verbs (such as “assisted,” “oversaw,” and “utilised”).

Action words are specific, clarify your contributions, and bring a confident tone to your CV and list of accomplishments. Here is an example:

Lacks strength and clarity: “Held weekly status meetings to share client updates.”

Empowered and detailed: “Initiated weekly status meetings to communicate agency revenue growth.”

Can you see how the second option is stronger and more detailed? The action verb at the beginning of the sentence makes your contribution clear and impactful.

Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

Pro-tip: Combine your selection of action verbs with quantifiable results to show both what you did and the effect it had. For example, “Championed use of user feedback in programme improvements, resulting in 50% boost in customer satisfaction ratings.”

Select from the following action verbs to give your CV an edge:

To demonstrate your strong work ethic or introduce your accomplishments, try:

Achieved Enacted Spearheaded
Capitalised Endeavoured Steered
Championed Established Stimulated
Deciphered Exceeded Supervised
Discerned Sharpened Surpassed
Drive Sparked


Instead of “duties included,” “responsible for,” “served as,” or “actions encompassed,” try:

Accelerated Developed Increased
Accomplished Executed Initiated
Analysed Expanded Implemented
Assembled Finalised Instituted
Built Forged Produced
Founded Guided Reached
Created Handled Simplified
Constructed Headed Volunteered
Delivered Improved


To illustrate your communication skills, try:

Collaborated Instructed Spoke
Conveyed Performed Trained
Enlivened Presented


For creative positions, try:

Authored Drafted Prototyped
Brainstormed Edited Published
Briefed Illustrated Researched
Communicated Imagined Strategised
Conceptualised Influenced Story-boarded
Curated Intensified Translated
Derived Modelled Visualised
Designed Proofread Wrote


For sales positions, try:

Captured Earned Negotiated
Conserved Generated Won
Converted Maximised


For management positions, try:

Advised Endorsed Reconciled
Arranged Enforced Reduced
Augmented Ensured Replaced
Centralised Forecasted Resolved
Championed Fostered Orchestrated
Differentiated Identified Optimised
Directed Integrated Predicted
Empowered Leveraged Renovated


For financial positions, try:

Audited Dispensed Maintained
Classified Halted Minimised
Collected Investigated Recognised
Equalised Lowered Secured


For technical positions, try:

Advanced Diagnosed Programmed
Architected Discovered Rewrote
Automated Formulated Refined
Coded Installed Tested
Deployed Launched Troubleshot
Detected Networked Upgraded
Devised Planned


The National Careers Service provides free, up to date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England to anyone aged 13 and upwards. To speak to a National Careers Service adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use our webchat (8:00am to 10:00pm, 7 days a week.)

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Other articles you may be interested in:

CV Advice – Top Tips

How to Write a Good CV

How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job