CV writing – action verbs

Woman in a job interview with two interviewers

The best CVs (curriculum vitae) or resumes describe your career and accomplishments by means of action verbs, coupled with the benefit derived from specific actions.

Each statement becomes a precise description of an action that produced the required result.  Ideally, of course, you should ensure that such examples of successful experience replicate, as far as is possible, your potential employer’s requirements.  This is where modifying your CV is of the greatest benefit – you are providing graphic examples of why you are the ideal person for the job; they want so-and-so, you have proven experience in precisely this area and can hit the ground running.

So, list the action taken in a specific situation, and link this to a measurable benefit to the organisation; this could be in terms of profit, turnover, sales, morale, cash-flow, reduced staff turn-over, process, anything that has been benefited by the action taken.


Before – Responsible for sales team covering multiple territories.

After – Effectively managed £12 million business unit, achieving 18% increase in net sales with a team of seventeen employees together with a 32% increase in net profits.

If you are able to link actions and results in a sufficiently powerful manner, employers will invite you for an interview – just to see how you did it!

The following resource is extremely useful – it is a PDF list of action verbs from MIT:

Find out more about CV writing in our guide.

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