Interested in watching a quick video to start? Our Careers Expert, Seb, provides some helpful examples of you can add action verbs to your CV:

To expand on the video’s ideas, your CV’s main purpose is to advertise your skills and experience to potential employers.

‘Responsible for cutting sales.’

‘Tasked with designing social media campaigns.’

Yeah, that’s not much of a hard sell.

Even if you have remarkable professional experience, it’s easy to accidentally water down your achievements by using bland or passive language.

Employers constantly receive CVs that are undermined by overused phrases like ‘took part in’ or ‘in charge of’. Avoiding these clichés and using unique action verbs is a key part of how to write a great CV that stands out to employers.

Clichéd to unique

Responsible for Conducted 15+ interviews per week

Took part in Collaborated with 3 cross-functional teams to create content

Using action verbs gives your CV clarity and detail. Use these words when you make your CV to highlight how you’ve:

Action verbs for when you accomplished something

Employers want to know that you’re an achiever. To spotlight your accomplishments, replace CV no-gos like ‘responsible for’ and ‘managed to’ with these action verbs:

  • Mastered
  • Prevailed
  • Achieved
  • Reached
  • Attained
  • Realised
  • Delivered
  • Succeeded
  • Executed
  • Surpassed
  • Fulfilled
  • Topped

Here’s an example of how to use these action verbs in a bullet point on your CV:

Attained a 4.8 star rating from customers and surpassed sales targets by 170%

Remember to use present tense action verbs to describe your current job but past tense verbs for achievements and previous positions.

Action verbs for when you produced results

Are you results-driven? Show that you can deliver by using these action verbs for your CV:

  • Advanced
  • Outperformed
  • Dominated
  • Scored
  • Earned
  • Thrived
  • Engaged
  • Won
  • Impacted
  • Garnered

This example bullet point from a CV work experience section includes action verbs that show how the candidate produced results:

Raised £3000 by organising 2022 fundraiser that outperformed all previous years’ events

Action verbs that show how you’ve worked well with others

Teamwork is a key skill for your CV no matter what profession you’re in. But leave ‘worked with’ off your CV and consider one of these action verbs to demonstrate that you work well with others:

  • Aided
  • Liaised
  • Coordinated
  • Merged
  • Collaborated
  • Networked
  • Connected
  • Synchronised
  • Enlisted
  • Synergised
  • Harmonised
  • Trained

Add teamwork-related action verbs to your CV like this:

Enlisted and trained 12 recent graduates for local internship programme

Action verbs for helping customers

If you’re in the service industry, pleasing customers is crucial. Showcase your customer service skills with these action verbs for your CV:

  • Appeased
  • Resolved
  • Attended
  • Satisfied
  • Nurtured
  • Served
  • Rectified
  • Steered
  • Relieved
  • Supervised

Here’s a sample of how to put customer service action verbs in your CV:

Attended to 50+ product returns per day, resolving issues in less than 24 hours

Action verbs for demonstrating communication skills

Workplaces don’t work without strong communication skills. Place these action verbs in your CV to show that you’re a clear communicator:

  • Advised
  • Deliberated
  • Articulated
  • Engaged
  • Brainstormed
  • Expressed
  • Briefed
  • Presented
  • Consulted
  • Verbalised

Here’s how to highlight your communication skills with strong CV action words:

Engaged with 7 stakeholders throughout the project, articulating new solutions to emerging problems

Action verbs for showing research experience

Many careers in 2024 require research skills. Prove you’ve got research experience with these CV action words:

  • Discovered
  • Explored
  • Assessed
  • Investigated
  • Collected
  • Measured
  • Conducted
  • Monitored
  • Examined
  • Scrutinised
  • Experimented
  • Tested

Here’s an example of how to work research action verbs into your CV:

Collected data to conduct desktop studies, publishing up to 3 peer-reviewed meta-analyses per month

Action verbs for when you analysed data

Employers value people who can make sense of data. Add these action verbs to your CV to demonstrate your analytical thinking skills:

  • Hypothesised
  • Evaluated
  • Demystified
  • Examined
  • Clarified
  • Interpreted
  • Delved
  • Itemised
  • Dissected
  • Probed
  • Distilled
  • Reviewed
  • Inquired
  • Studied

Here are two of these powerful verbs in action in an analytics CV:

Interpreted monthly market analyses and itemised sales targets, boosting overall sales by 35%

Action verbs for when you created something

Have you written a new fitness plan or designed an app to speed up your workflow? Use these action verbs to show employers that you’ve created something worthwhile:

  • Actualised
  • Engineered
  • Built
  • Established
  • Cultivated
  • Initiated
  • Designed
  • Invented
  • Devised
  • Launched
  • Effected
  • Pioneered
  • Enacted
  • Spearheaded

Here’s an example of using action verbs in your CV to highlight what you’ve created:

Devised a new e-filing system that boosted efficiency by 15%

Action verbs for settling deals

Negotiating deals is a valuable skill. Show that you can close business deals with these CV action words:

  • Bargained
  • Brokered
  • Clinched
  • Mediated
  • Closed
  • Arbitrated
  • Conferred
  • Secured
  • Finalised
  • Confirmed

Here’s an example of using good action verbs related to making deals in your CV:

Mediated and closed deals with service providers, cutting company expenses in 5 consecutive years

Action verbs for managing people people or projects

Employers look for employees who can handle extra responsibility. Highlight any management roles you’ve had by using these power words for your CV:

  • Captained
  • Mentored
  • Delegated
  • Monitored
  • Directed
  • Oversaw
  • Facilitated
  • Ran
  • Guided
  • Steered
  • Headed
  • Inspired

Here’s how to your highlight your management skills with strong action verbs:

Monitored and directed new stock intake to keep under shop budget by 10%

Action verbs for when you increased positive metrics

Most companies have a clear goal — growth. Use these action verbs in your CV to emphasise how you’ve produced positive increases at work:

  • Amplified
  • Inflated
  • Augmented
  • Magnified
  • Boosted
  • Maximised
  • Broadened
  • Raised
  • Enlarged
  • Scaled

And this is an example of what to include in a CV to show how you increased positive metrics:

Broadened web content to boost site visitors and increase leads by 40%

Action verbs for decreasing negative metrics

If you’ve slashed costs or reduced time spent working on a process, use these action verbs in your CV:

  • Alleviated
  • Diminished
  • Axed
  • Minimised
  • Curbed
  • Saved
  • Curtailed
  • Shed
  • Cut
  • Streamlined

Here’s an example of how to fit these action verbs into your CV:

Streamlined app registration process, cutting bounce rate by 18%

Action verbs for when you improved something

Here are action verbs for your CV that show that you’ve made improvements at your current or previous companies:

  • Enhanced
  • Propelled
  • Enriched
  • Reinvigorated
  • Tuned
  • Revitalised
  • Optimised
  • Upgraded
  • Polished
  • Uplifted

Add these action verbs to your CV like this:

Upgraded product service protocols to optimise response time and customer satisfaction

Action verbs for solving problems

Can an employer rely on you if an issue arises? Showcase your problem-solving abilities using these CV action verbs:

  • Fixed
  • Remedied
  • Patched
  • Resolved
  • Reconciled
  • Sorted
  • Rectified
  • Straightened
  • Redressed
  • Refocused

If you work in technical support, you might describe your problem-solving skills like this:

Patched up to 50 reported bugs per day, resolving customer issues before they reached supervisors

More power words for your CV

Action verbs aren’t the only CV words that help draw the employer to your application. Power words describe your experience and achievements in more detail — and emphasise valuable soft skills.

Unsure what achievements to put on your CV? Look at the job advert again, and then highlight your accomplishments that best match the role’s requirements.

Here are some examples of powerful adjectives you can use to make your CV stand out:

  • Adept
  • Industrious
  • Ardent
  • Prompt
  • Teachable
  • Specialised
  • Decisive
  • Spirited
  • Dedicated
  • Tactful
  • Inspirational
  • Thorough
  • Dynamic
  • Tireless
  • Energetic
  • Versatile
  • Exuberant
  • Visionary

Use power words when you write your cover letter too, but remember to vary your vocabulary. You don’t want your cover letter to parrot the information on your CV.

Frequently asked questions about action verbs for CVs

Want more help choosing the right words for your CV? Here are answers to three more questions related to proper CV writing:

  1. Should you write in the active voice on your CV?
  2. Should I use present or past tense when using action verbs in my CV?
  3. Can I use action verbs in my cover letter as well?

 

Should you write in the active voice on your CV?

You should write in the active voice on your CV.

When you write in the active voice, you are both the subject of the sentence and the one performing the action.

Writing about yourself in the passive voice, you are the one performing the action, but you’re not the subject of the sentence:

Active voice

Isaac won an award for customer service.

Passive voice

An award for customer service was won by Isaac.

Writing in the passive voice isn’t bad grammar, so why should you use the active voice on your CV?

When you write about an achievement in the active voice, you emphasise your role in making the achievement happen because you are the subject of the sentence:

‘Isaac won an award,’ sounds like Isaac received an award because of his hard work.

‘Isaac was given an award,’ makes it sound like the award was a gift — and all Isaac’s hard work comes across as less impressive.

Use the active voice when you write your CV personal statement and relevant experience sections by making yourself the subject of the sentence and choosing action verbs to highlight your achievements:

  • Maintained a consistent customer satisfaction rating of over 95% for 2 years
  • Published 15+ articles posts monthly for Pick Up! Magazine’s Health and Wellness section
  • Increased engagement with on brand Instagram handle by 65% by implementing two innovative campaigns

Omit the first person pronoun ‘I’ when writing your CV. Omitting ‘I’ will help emphasise your chosen action verbs and vary your sentences, making your CV more impressive and enjoyable to read.

Should I use present or past tense when using action verbs in my CV?

You should use both the present and past tense when using action verbs on your CV:

  • Use the present tense in your personal statement and when describing the responsibilities of your current job
  • Use the simple past tense to describe your achievements

Here’s an personal statement using the present tense:

Social Media Specialist with a BA in Marketing from Nottingham Trent University. Possess 2+ years of freelance experience leveraging social listening software, keyword research, and campaign planning to boost social media presence for consumer-oriented SMEs. Seeking a Social Media position with an active role in content creation and developing social media strategies.

The simple past tense (e.g., ‘I received praise’) is normally the appropriate tense to use when describing achievements or past jobs because it describes completed past actions.

Here’s how the simple past tense looks on a CV work experience entry:

 

Use the past tense for achievements and past jobs

ACTIVEL | Derby
Customer Service Representative, Dec 2020 – Jan 2023

  • Handled 100+ inbound calls per day, maintaining a 97% customer satisfaction rating
  • Boosted customer retention rate by 15% by identifying customer needs and providing personalised product recommendations
  • Upsold new products and promoted exclusive officers, contributing to a 10% increase in quarterly sales
  • Consistently exceeded performance targets, achieving and maintaining a first-call resolution rate of 95%

Can I use action verbs in my cover letter as well?

Yes, you can (and should!) use action verbs in your cover letter.

Using action verbs in your cover letter makes your writing more engaging and impactful. Aside from making your vocabulary more varied and interesting, action verbs tell the reader how you achieved something.

Because action verbs are more descriptive, they’re ideal for highlighting your expertise on your cover letter:

PolySpeak needs interpreters who are able to think quickly and adapt to different contexts and registers. As a freelance interpreter for Face-to-Face, I accompanied clients from various backgrounds to medical appointments, adapting my communication style to reflect specific needs and cultural taboos.

The action verbs ‘accompanied’ and ‘adapting’ tells us what kind of professional relationship the applicant had with their clients, and highlights valuable soft skills like empathy and customer service.

To learn more about using power words in your cover letter, look at good cover letter examples online to see how other applicants make word choices.

 

More FAQs about writing a CV

Need a little more help writing your CV? Here are a few more frequently asked CV writing questions to help you out:

  1. What do you put in the personal profile of a CV?
  2. What person should a CV be written in?
  3. Should you stuff white words on your CV to trick an ATS?
  4. Should a CV be one page?
Seb Morgan
Written by

Seb Morgan

Seb Morgan is a Careers Coach and Digital Content Writer for CV Genius, where he helps job seekers and professionals get more out of their careers. With over 7 years of experience in business and lifestyle journalism, he's written for a stack of careers-focused publications, including Oxbridge Home Learning, Study International, theHRDirector, and Employee Benefit News, and his expertise includes skill development, interview preparation, and CV and cover letter writing. West Midlands born and raised, Seb has since lived, worked, and studied in 4 countries across 2 continents. He speaks 4 languages and has survived job interviews in 3 of them. He currently also freelances as a travel and culture writer. Reach him at [sebastian] @ [cvgenius.com] or via LinkedIn.