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:

AchievedEnactedSpearheaded
CapitalisedEndeavouredSteered
ChampionedEstablishedStimulated
DecipheredExceededSupervised
DiscernedSharpenedSurpassed
DriveSparked

 

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

AcceleratedDevelopedIncreased
AccomplishedExecutedInitiated
AnalysedExpandedImplemented
AssembledFinalisedInstituted
BuiltForgedProduced
FoundedGuidedReached
CreatedHandledSimplified
ConstructedHeadedVolunteered
DeliveredImproved

 

To illustrate your communication skills, try:

CollaboratedInstructedSpoke
ConveyedPerformedTrained
EnlivenedPresented

 

For creative positions, try:

AuthoredDraftedPrototyped
BrainstormedEditedPublished
BriefedIllustratedResearched
CommunicatedImaginedStrategised
ConceptualisedInfluencedStory-boarded
CuratedIntensifiedTranslated
DerivedModelledVisualised
DesignedProofreadWrote

 

For sales positions, try:

CapturedEarnedNegotiated
ConservedGeneratedWon
ConvertedMaximised

 

For management positions, try:

AdvisedEndorsedReconciled
ArrangedEnforcedReduced
AugmentedEnsuredReplaced
CentralisedForecastedResolved
ChampionedFosteredOrchestrated
DifferentiatedIdentifiedOptimised
DirectedIntegratedPredicted
EmpoweredLeveragedRenovated

 

For financial positions, try:

AuditedDispensedMaintained
ClassifiedHaltedMinimised
CollectedInvestigatedRecognised
EqualisedLoweredSecured

 

For technical positions, try:

AdvancedDiagnosedProgrammed
ArchitectedDiscoveredRewrote
AutomatedFormulatedRefined
CodedInstalledTested
DeployedLaunchedTroubleshot
DetectedNetworkedUpgraded
DevisedPlanned

 

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