Write a CV: How to Use Powerful Verbs

When you write your CV, it’s important to use powerful verbs to show your achievements and responsibilities in your past jobs. These verbs make your writing more interesting – and they also help to convince an employer that you’re a great candidate for the job.

For example, writing “I was the manager of a department” doesn’t show an employer what you did – or why it was important. But if you write “Supervised 10 people” or “Planned and delegated day-to-day activities for 10 people” you show more precisely what you did – and how important it was.

Here are ten examples of powerful verbs.

Streamline vs Improve
Example: “Streamlined our stock-ordering systems.”

If you streamline something, you make it quicker or simpler – so you can save time or money. If you use this verb, show the results of your streamlining. For example, ”Streamlined our ordering systems to reduce average times by 10%.”

Analyse vs Study
Example: “Analysed market conditions to create new products.”

”Analysed” means more than just studied, as with an analysis you can also make recommendations. An alternative to ”analysed” is ”investigated”.

Double vs Increase
Example: “Doubled our market share.”

While ”increased” is a positive verb (like other verbs such as ”expand” or ”grow”), ”doubled” is more powerful in this example, as you’re showing a very important increase. (Doubled = x2)

Generate vs Make
Example: “Generated £50K new business in 6 months.”

“Generated” is a useful verb if you want to talk about making extra sales, profit, etc.

Slash vs Reduce
Example: “Slashed costs by 25%.”

Although both ”reduce” and ”lower” are useful verbs to talk about cutting costs, ”slashed” is a little more dramatic and powerful.

Position vs Help
Example: “Positioned company to win new business.”

If you ”positioned” your team or company, you put them in the correct place to take advantage of a situation. This verb gives the impression that you helped your team / company to be successful in the future.

Surpass vs Meet
Example: “Consistently __ sales targets.”

It’s good to meet your targets, but if you ”surpass” them, you do even better because you make more than you needed to.

Co-ordinate vs Set
Example: “Efficiently co-ordinated team activities.”

The verb ”co-ordinate” suggests that you planned something to be as efficient as possible.

Upgrade vs Update
Example: “Upgraded the company’s internal communications systems.”

While ”updated” gives the idea that you made something more modern, ”upgraded” suggests that you also made it better. Other verbs you can use for renewing systems, are ”overhauled”, and ”modernised”.

Attract vs Find
Example: “Attracted new investors in second-round funding.”

Other verbs similar to ”attract” are ”secure”, ”raise” and ”land”: ”Secured / Raised / Landed £1m in second-round funding.”