Strong action verbs play an important role in creating an engaging and effective CV. They emphasise not just that you can do the job, but how you do it.
Concise and impactful language is a must for a strong CV. Recruiters won’t spend much time reading your CV. Don’t waste space with empty words that don’t mean anything.
Not just any action verbs will do. It’s crucial to choose the right action verbs.
Appropriate action verbs convey your skills, experiences, and accomplishments in a clear and persuasive manner.
In this article, we’ll provide key action verbs to enhance your CV. We’ll walk you through how to use action verbs effectively and common mistakes to avoid.
When you’re ready to enhance your CV with great action verbs, head over to our CV builder to start creating yours today.
Action verbs by category to enhance your CV
42 action verbs for leadership and management
Upper-level positions and roles that include managing teams require strong leadership and management skills.
Candidates for these roles need to show potential employers that they know how to lead others and make important decisions. Don’t bore them with weak verbs on your CV!
Here is a list of 42 key action verbs that demonstrate leadership and management skills.
34 action verbs for communication and collaboration
Communication and collaboration show your interpersonal skills and how you exchange information with others.
No matter what your industry or role is, it likely requires some degree of communication. Very few jobs don’t require any interaction with others at all.
For some jobs, it is a crucial part of the role. Communication and collaboration take place in person, on the phone, and via email.
If your CV contains many different skills in this category, it’s easy to get repetitive with your verbs.
Add some variety and choose from this list of 34 action verbs to enhance your communication and collaboration skills.
32 action verbs for problem-solving and critical thinking
Problem-solving and critical thinking are strong skills for any candidate. They show that you have the ability to identify problems and provide solutions.
The specific skills in this category will vary based on your industry and role. Simply listing “critical thinking” on your CV isn’t very helpful. You need to be specific.
Make it clear for hiring managers by using specific examples. Choose the right action verb to create an accurate picture of how you applied your skills.
Here is a list of 32 action verbs to describe problem-solving and critical thinking on your CV.
50 action verbs for creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation bring new and unique ideas to a project. This is key to a wide range of industries including marketing, design, and engineering.
Companies looking for creativity and innovation want candidates with fresh and exciting ideas. Don’t lose their interest with boring action verbs!
Show how you’ve applied creativity and innovation in the past. Companies want to know how your skills will impact the success of their business.
Here is a list of 50 action verbs to enhance creativity and innovation on your CV.
55 action verbs for technical and digital proficiency
Technical and digital proficiency is key in today’s technological world, especially for jobs in the tech sector.
Developers, programmers, and engineers need to show potential employers that they have expertise in the necessary technical skills.
Don’t fall into the trap of reusing the same verbs over and over again on your CV to describe your technical and digital proficiency.
Here is a list of 55 action verbs to describe your technical and digital proficiency on your CV.
Using action verbs effectively
You’ve read through our list and picked the best action verbs for your CV. Great!
But you’re not done yet. Throwing a bunch of action verbs on your CV with no strategy won’t do you any favours.
Use your action verbs effectively to enhance your CV and improve your chances of getting shortlisted.
Tailoring action verbs to your target role
Whatever industry and role you’re applying for, always tailor your CV to your target job!
Every section of your CV just be tailored to fit the job you’re applying for, all the way down to the action verbs.
Be sure to read the job description of your desired role carefully. Take note of the specific verbs, words, and phrases the company uses. Choose a CV format that highlights your strengths.
Do some research on the industry as well. Find out what action verbs are being used in the current market and follow trends of what skills are in demand.
Use the same language in your CV but be sure to stay natural and honest. Copying text directly from the company into your CV will be noticed right away.
When you use relevant action verbs effectively, companies will see that you have done your research and are committed to your career.
Varying your language to maintain interest
It may be tempting to repeat an action verb once you’ve found a good one, but that won’t do you any favours.
Just like using weak verbs, repeating the same action verbs over and over again will get boring to readers. It also shows a lack of range and written communication skills.
Diversify the action verbs on your CV to avoid repetition and maintain your potential employer’s interest.
Choose action verbs that are relevant and honest. Show employers that you have a range of skills and achievements.
Quantifying your accomplishments
Use action verbs in conjunction with quantifiable results or achievements to demonstrate the impact of your work.
Anyone can say they “analysed” or “developed” something on the job, but it doesn’t carry much weight without results.
For example, writing Launched retail location in your experience section.
For all the hiring manager knows, the store could have been a disaster and the employees were miserable.
Instead, try Launched the highest performing retail location in the district with an employee satisfaction rating of 98%.
Now the reader knows your leadership skills contributed to the successful launch and performance of a store.
Use measurable results and specific numbers to support your action verbs. Don’t expect hiring managers to take you at your word. Provide evidence of your claims.
Common mistakes to avoid when using action verbs on your CV
Even with strong action verbs and a good strategy, there are still common mistakes to avoid when writing your CV.
Overusing clichés or buzzwords
The overuse of clichéd or buzzword-laden action verbs may dilute the effectiveness of your CV.
Research your target industry and be mindful to avoid using these in your CV. Certain terms may be outdated or alert your potential employer that you lack knowledge of the industry.
Use action verbs that are relevant, original, and tailored to your target role.
Using weak or passive language
Writing a CV with weak or passive language runs the risk of getting lost among the CVs of all the other qualified candidates.
Hiring managers are reading through a huge stack of resumes, all from candidates with similar backgrounds. Weak language won’t stand out from the crowd and will be boring to readers.
Here is a list of 12 common weak verbs to avoid using on your CV.
Took part in
It’s not necessarily crucial that these words be avoided at all costs. In the right situation, it may be appropriate to use them in combination with quantifiable results.
But if you can use a more powerful action verb instead, be sure to do it.
Grab the attention of potential employers with strong and assertive action verbs. Show them that you are the right candidate for the role and will impact success!
Key takeaways for action verbs on your CV
Well-chosen action verbs on your CV have a positive impact on your job search. Powerful action verbs create a compelling and persuasive CV that stands out to potential employers.
Research your industry and your target job. Choose action verbs that are relevant, accurate, and honest. Browse our CV examples for inspiration.
Choose a diverse range of action verbs for your CV to keep readers interested. Show potential employers that you have a range of skills and excellent written communication.
Regularly review and update the language on your CV to ensure that it remains engaging and relevant. Refining your CV is an ongoing process and increases your chances of getting shortlisted!