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Updated by Hays UAE. November 2016

Nick Deligiannis, MD of Hays Australia and New Zealand explains how adding verbs to your CV can really make it stand out:

When you sit down to update your CV, do you start by jotting down a few points about your duties and responsibilities in your current role – points that could easily have come from your job description? While this may seem like a logical place to start, it’s rarely an approach that creates a winning CV.

Use action verbs

One of the simplest and most helpful ways to ensure you add and quantify accomplishments in the career history section of your CV is to use action verbs. Verbs force you to include your results and achievements. It really is a simple trick that ensures you prove your strengths, rather than simply list them one by one.

Action verbs in action

So next time you update your CV, consider using some of these verbs to bring your successes front and centre. For example, instead of writing that you managed a team, try verbs such as ‘directed’, ‘guided’, ‘motivated’, ‘recruited’ or ‘united’. I.e. ‘I united and motivated a team of five underperformers. After one year our customer service scores had increased 55%.’

Rather than stating you have strong communication skills, use verbs like ‘wrote’, ‘published’, ‘edited’ or ‘swayed’.

As opposed to writing that you have good organisation skills, try ‘facilitated’, ‘programmed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘allocated’ or ‘arranged’.

And rather than writing that you always achieved your target goals, try ‘reached’, ‘surpassed’ or ‘accomplished’.

Examples of action verbs

Demonstrate your creativity: built, crafted, devised, implemented, pioneered, initiated, established

Demonstrate your efficiency: enhanced, advanced, capitalised, maximised, leveraged, improved

Demonstrate your leadership skills: headed, coordinated, executed, managed, operated, organised

Demonstrate improvements made: refined, remodelled, strengthened, upgraded, transformed

Demonstrate your management skills: guided, fostered, motivated, recruited, enabled, united

Demonstrate bottom line contributions: reduced, decreased, consolidated, saved, yielded, increased

Demonstrate overall achievements: awarded, exceeded, outperformed, surpassed, earned, granted

Remember, these verbs are your prompt to provide an explicit example of a success you’ve had. It is this proof that will help your CV stand out and show you have the potential to succeed in a new role.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this blog then you will certainly enjoy some of our others. Simply visit our job blog page here or click on one of the links below.


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