It is important to use a strong and precise vocabulary when writing your CV or cover letter. By choosing the right words, you strengthen and showcase your profile. The clearer your sentences, the more solid your CV, and the more you will inspire your recruiter’s confidence through your concision.

Action verbs are essential in describing your professional background and highlighting your strengths.

Pick the right words

In order to help you write your CV, your emails and your cover emails or letters, we have drawn up a non-exhaustive list of action verbs. These verbs are used to describe accomplishments and performances, to present results or to express expectations. 

If you’d rather use nouns, don’t hesitate to convert the following verbs into nouns.
For example: Understand > understanding / Accomplish > accomplishment / Calculate > calculation.

However, a verb is often more relevant and active than a noun. For example:, “negotiated” expresses greater professional effectiveness than “participated in a negotiation”, unless… unless you only “attended the negotiation”. Try to be as precise as possible and clear any uncertainties for your reader. The clearer your words are, the stronger the feeling of trust and transparency for your recruiter.

Describe your objectives and present your skills

Verbs such as “understand”, “appreciate”, “value”, “respect” etc. can be used to express objectives. You can use them in the title section of your CV, for example by indicating your profession along with your objectives. After all, giving a title to your CV allows the recruiter to quickly grasp your expectations and abilities. Here again, if your objectives match those of the company you are applying to, and if you formulate them using a similar lexical field, you will further maximise your chances. The idea is to choose your vocabulary in such a way as to show capacity for concision. When it comes to highlighting your professional accomplishments and achievements, presenting your skills and knowledge, demonstrating your capacities for analysis and understanding – all of this can be truly showcased when your sentence contains a carefully selected action verb.

Avoid at all costs: run-of-the-mill verbs like “do” “have” “take” “give”. Ambiguous terms which might create confusion or could be misinterpreted.

Example of a title illustrating an objective:

To achieve an executive assistant position in an international company.

Example of describing skills in a CV:

2010 – 2014 Administrative assistant at ABC Company, Lausanne

  • Managed the filing and archiving of documents: created an archiving system, sorted out files, etc.

  • Organized meetings and seminars: sent bulk mail, contacted seminar centers, took minutes, created files, etc.

  • Translated documents from English into French: translated and summarized reports, official documents, processes, etc.