When writing your CV, you don’t have long to make the right first impression. Use these powerful action verbs to grab the hiring manager’s attention!
First impressions matter. Recruiters spend just five to seven seconds looking at each CV. You don’t have long to grab — and, crucially, keep — their attention. So, the last thing you want to do is bore the hiring manager’s socks off. Luckily, peppering your application with powerful action verbs is a simple way to keep them interested.
You don’t have to be a natural-born wordsmith to get this right. Whether you could give Shakespeare himself a run for his money or you find it hard to put pen to paper, you can perfect your application. It’s all about choosing the right words to enchant any reader.
Here at Resume.io, we have the tools you need to supercharge your job search. In the following guide, we have compiled a list of more than 250 game-changing action verbs for your CV. As if that weren’t enough to inspire you, we will also be covering the following:
- A quick definition of what action verbs are
- The benefits of using action verbs on your CV
- 250+ action verbs and when to use them.
Yes, a little word-play can go a long way when it comes to applying for your dream job. Stay tuned to learn about these exciting verbs and how they can transform your CV.
What are action verbs anyway?
First up, let’s talk about what action verbs are. If you’re new to the world of writing, you may not have heard of these before. To put things simply, action verbs are words that show an activity has been (or is being) completed. Examples of these types of words include ‘finished,’ ‘planned,’ ‘organised,’ and ‘drafted’ — to name but a few.
Chances are, you use action words all the time in conversation and even in writing… you simply don’t realise it. However, recognising that these words can be powerful and have a real impact on people changes everything. So, when you are writing your professional CV, it pays to dust off a few of these particular verbs and use them for maximum impact.
Why should you use action verbs for your CV?
Now that you know what action verbs are, let’s talk about why you should use them. We’re glad you asked! We’ve already mentioned that these crucial words can pique hiring managers’ interest. So, how can strong action words make a difference when it comes to getting hired? Here are two of the benefits of using strong action words on your CV.
Specifically outline your accomplishments
One of the biggest mistakes that candidates make when writing their CVs is being vague. You may be listing your job duties, for example, and simply say “reports and analytics.” That’s great, but those two nouns don’t mean all that much. Who exactly was creating the reports and running the analytics? You need to spell everything out for a recruiter.
Using strong action verbs can help you get the job done. You might say ‘Completed annual reports and managed weekly analytics tasks.’ Nice. That sentence is much clearer. It gives the hiring manager a complete view of your achievements and responsibilities.
Quickly bring your CV writing to life
Do you rely on tired phrases to land you the job? For example, you might say you’re a ‘dedicated worker with a keen eye for detail’ or that you’re a ‘creative professional who thinks outside the box.’ If those sentences sound shockingly familiar to you, it’s because you’ve heard them a thousand times before. So has every hiring manager.
Action verbs give your writing that extra je ne sais quoi. Don’t be afraid to use them. You can shake up your CV by saying that you have ‘successfully optimised the schedule’ or that you ‘pioneered a new sales strategy.’ The world is your oyster, as the saying goes.
List of action verbs to transform your CV
If your professional CV needs a makeover, you’ve come to the right place. Including some of the most powerful action verbs on this document is a savvy move. Don’t panic if you’ve got a case of writer’s block. It happens to the best of us — but we’ve got your back here. Let’s take a look at a complete list of action verbs and when you might want to use them.
1. Industry-specific action verbs
Are you a specially skilled worker? It’s time to showcase your talents with some industry-specific action verbs. Pick out words that apply directly to your sector. While you don’t want to cram your CV with jargon, there are terms with which hiring managers will be familiar. Take a quick look at the action verb examples below to kick things off.
“Successfully designed original artwork for 15+ advertising campaigns.”
2. Leadership action verbs
Whether you’re already a manager or want to take your next step up, you need to let the recruiter know that you have what it takes. That’s where these common leadership action verbs come into play. Take a look and see whether you can use any of these on your CV.
“Spearheaded a new workflow strategy, cutting unnecessary costs by 3 percent.”
3. Teamwork action verbs
How you mesh with others is vital. Almost three out of four employers state that teamwork and collaboration are ‘very important’ to them. If you want to show a potential employer that you have what it takes to be a real team player, use the following strong action verbs:
“Co-authored annual reports and recommendations with the administrative department.”
4. Achievement action verbs
Your CV is the perfect place to highlight your accomplishments. Using the right action verbs will help you do just that. Whether you excelled in an area or completed a selection of epic tasks, it’s time to tell the hiring manager about it. Here are some examples:
“Raised Q2 sales profits by 2.5 percent by successfully delivering a new sales strategy.”
5. Creativity action verbs
When your creative juices are flowing, you can be a real asset to employers. If you’re going for this type of position, show hiring managers that you’re a real visionary. Including the following strong action verbs will help you let them know you have what it takes.
“Storyboarded seven successful social media video advertising campaigns.”
6. People management action verbs
Whether you’re a team leader or a departmental manager, you know how to deal with people. Motivating, inspiring, and overseeing a team can be tough. If you get it right, you might be perfect for a leadership role. Here are some action verbs to use on your CV.
“Efficiently trained and onboarded 30+ new staff members.”
7. Communication action verbs
Only around a quarter of professionals are confident communicators at work. Set yourself apart by showing recruiters you’re one of them. Excellent communication is the foundation to any working relationship. Can you use the following action verbs on your CV?
“Continuously liaised with the sales department and made expert recommendations.”
8. Project management action verbs
Highlighting a specific project on your CV may give you a competitive edge. However, if you headed up this activity, you need to let the hiring manager know about it. Fortunately, there’s a whole host of action verbs that apply here. Let’s take a look at a small selection.
“Seamlessly deployed the three new software launches within a three-year period.”
9. General action verbs
Of course, there are some action verbs that almost any type of worker can use. If you’re writing your CV from scratch, including a couple of the below words may be the way to go.
“Effectively reviewed 20+ studies per month and handled incoming FOI requests.”
10. Goal-oriented action verbs
Are you a real go-getter? Do you live to beat the last record that you set? If the answer is yes, you may want to check out our goal-oriented action verbs. You can include these to tell a hiring manager that you have what it takes to deliver results time and time again.
“Outpaced the competition and boosted team productivity levels by 4.5 percent.”
11. Customer service action verbs
‘Hello, how may I help you today?’ If you work in customer services, you will be an expert in assisting people on a daily basis. But how can you put your invaluable experience into words? The following customer service action verbs are a great place to start.
“Fielded more than 30 calls per day and successfully resolved customer issues.”
12. Improved action verbs
As a professional, you should always be looking for areas in which you can improve. Of course, there’s a rainbow array of different ways you can make things better at work. Take this opportunity to show the hiring manager that you are worth your weight in gold.
“Accurately streamlined the customer care approach, saving hours of company time.”
13. Problem-solving action verbs
Quit saying that you think outside of the box. It doesn’t mean a thing. Show employers that you are a creative problem-solver by highlighting your past feats. Weave the following strong action verbs into your CV to increase your chances of getting your next interview.
“Redesigned the existing client database to be 2X more efficient and easier to use.”
14. Productivity action verbs
Time is money… and modern-day employers don’t have a lot to spare. The more productive you are, the more attractive you are likely to be to a hiring manager. Don’t simply list your duties — explain how you ‘produced,’ ‘finalised,’ and ‘concluded’ them.
“Consolidated more than 40 cases per week and finalised regular reports for managers.”
15. Analytical action verbs
If you’re naturally detail-oriented and want to let employers in on the secret, using analytical action verbs is the key. Using the right action verbs tells employers that you don’t only know how to talk to the talk — you can also walk the walk.
“Regularly audited the internal database and reported back to the managerial team.”
16. Organised action verbs
Every office needs a pro organiser. You know the type — the one who plans events, schedules meetings, and knows where all the files are. If you fit that bill, you could be a valuable employee. Use the following action verbs to hook an employer’s attention.
“Reordered the in-house filing system leading to a 10 percent increase in productivity.”
17. Ideation action verbs
Are you the ideas man or woman? Do you spend your work days visualising future products, plans, or services? If that sounds about right, you need some ideation action verbs to spruce up your CV. Let’s take a look at some examples you can give a whirl.
“Conceived and created two award-winning designs in three years.”
- Action verbs give your professional CV the competitive edge — use them wisely.
- You can use these words to let potential employers know about your achievements.
- Steer clear of common verbs and spice things up. You want to grab some attention!
- Use action verbs that suit your managerial level, sector, and specific job po