CV words to enhance your application (And pass the ATS)

Updated 7 September 2023

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A text box that says, "Action words to highlight your skills" floats next to magnifying glass that highlights a list of these words:

- Accelerated
- Achieved
- Advanced
- Amplified
- Boosted
- Expedited
- Furthered
- Gained
- Generated
- Improved
- Lifted

The content of your CV can define who you're and what skills you have that can help a company. Because your CV represents you to the corporation, you may want it to tell about your experience and qualifications in detail. A good CV can help convey that a candidate is ideal and could be the right fit for the job. In this article, we look at some essential CV words, learn how they convey your abilities and how, combined with keywords, they can get you the job you want.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (With example)

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What are some CV words that might get you hired?

Good CV words are of two types—action words and keywords. There are dozens of lists that you can use to group your action words together, but if keywords are missing, your CV might not make it to a hiring manager. A good CV contains accurate action words and keywords. This way your chances of having an interview are higher than if it lacks one or the other. Here's what each of them means:

Action words

Action words help once your CV has already passed the application tracking software and is in the hands of the hiring manager. Action words help attract attention to your skills. Make sure your action words fit well with what you're trying to say. A reader can easily tell if you picked action words at random. As you go through some of the lists below, only choose the words that describe your abilities the most and support your qualifications.


These are words or phrases that are used in the job description. Go through the job description and extract phrases that describe the ideal candidate and the specific skills that are wanted. These precise phrases are your keywords. The keywords are what actually help you pass the ATS so that your CV has a chance of human attention.

Related: How to use keywords for your CV for success

CV power words to pass ATS

These days, most of the job application process is online. This has made it easier for people from all over the world to apply for a certain job at once. Because hiring managers may not be able to review all these applications personally, they make use of Applicant Tracking Systems, known as ATS. ATS works mainly with keywords. So the powerful words you need are in the job description. Try to reference each once or twice in your CV and customise your CV for each job application.

Related: How to create an ATS-Friendly CV (With example and template)

Choosing CV action words to combine with keyword phrases

Choose action words that describe your role in work and projects you've done in the past. Note that whenever a CV is discussing skills and abilities, an action word is used first. So you might include ten to 15 in your actual CV. When discussing skills, abilities and work history, you may also want to include your keywords and merge the two together.

Words to describe yourself in the summary

Reserve the most powerful words for the summary, which is what the hiring manager may scan after appraising your skills. The summary can answer how you define yourself, based on your career for the past ten or 15 years. Mention in the summary how you can apply your skills to the job, and state the company's name, if possible. For example:

CV action words

  • assist

  • cultivate

  • inspire

Job description keyword phrases

  • psycho-educational workshops

  • mental health awareness

  • managing anxiety

Combined words

When combining the CV action words and the job description keyword phrases, it could appear like this:

Example: For 15 years, I assisted the mental health awareness board of Wavewood Institute. Since 2018, I cultivated psycho-educational workshops for managing anxiety that grew in participation yearly by 200%. I am looking for an opportunity to inspire Wavewood Company in a similar manner.

Related: CV summary examples (And 5 steps for how to write one)

Other action words to use in a summary

  • assist

  • authorise

  • chair

  • coach

  • counsel

  • critique

  • cultivate

  • delegate

  • develop

  • direct

  • educate

  • enable

  • enforce

  • evaluate

  • foster

  • found

  • guide

  • head

  • inspire

  • lead

  • manage

  • mentor

  • monitor

  • motivate

  • oversee

  • orchestrate

  • review

  • run

  • supervise

  • teach

  • unite

Related: CV objectives: tips and examples

Words to include in the experience section

The experience section of your CV talks about your work history. If you're a recent college graduate, it might discuss your volunteer, intern and travel experiences instead. As you're describing your history, add a few of the action words below while writing. For example:

CV action words

  • surpass

  • succeed

  • reach

Job description keyword phrases

  • creative curriculum

  • autism and neurodiversity

  • valuing and supporting people

Combined words

  • surpassed requirements of creative curriculum

  • succeeded in educating young adults with autism and other forms of neurodiversity

  • reached a consistent level of valuing and supporting people

Related: Writing a CV with No Experience

More job experience action words

  • attain

  • complete

  • conserve

  • decreased

  • earn

  • exceed

  • grow

  • improve

  • reach

  • reduced

  • succeed

  • surpass

  • yielded

CV action words for sales and customer service

This career requires specific knowledge about products, services and company policies to deliver information to consumers. If you're creating a CV for a customer service or sales role, consider using some of the words below. For example:

CV action words

  • accomplish

  • accelerate

  • deliver

Job description keyword phrase

  • highest levels of customer service

  • handle a high volume of calls

  • new systems quickly

Combined words

  • accomplished highest levels of customer service

  • accelerated my service to handle a high volume of calls efficiently

  • delivered high sales outcomes while learning new systems quickly

Related: How to use fintech resume keywords to get more job offers

More sales and customer service action words

  • accelerate

  • accomplish

  • advance

  • advise

  • advocate

  • achieve

  • boost

  • build

  • capture

  • convince

  • correspond

  • deliver

  • drive

  • earn

  • enhance

  • expand

  • field

  • generate

  • increase

  • initiate

  • maximise

  • merge

  • negotiate

  • outperform

  • perform

  • persuade

  • resolve

  • stimulate

  • sustain

  • win

  • yield

Related: 6 universal rules for writing your CV

CV verbs for communications and creative roles

CV verbs for communications talk about all kinds of writing experiences. Communications is an expanding field that is growing along with the Internet. There are many roles in the field, including scriptwriting, book authoring, content writing and designing advertisements for social media. For example:

CV action words

  • collaborate

  • build

  • compose

Job description keyword phrases

  • advocacy

  • social media strategy

  • traditional media platforms

Combined words

  • collaborated with team to improve customer advocacy

  • built social media strategies

  • composed text that reached wide audiences via traditional media platforms

More communication action words

  • address

  • aid

  • author

  • build

  • collaborate

  • compose

  • conceptualise

  • construct

  • convey

  • create

  • demonstrate

  • develop

  • document

  • draft

  • edit

  • energise

  • explain

  • formulate

  • guide

  • illustrate

  • interact

  • listen

  • modify

  • prepare

  • share

  • showcase

  • transform

  • translate

  • upgrade

  • visualise

  • write

CV power words for describing a technical role

Whether you design mobile apps, write reviews for the latest gadgets or write user guides for technical products, the power words below can help describe your skills on your CV. Pair these with keywords from the job description to craft a CV that pleases the tracking system and hiring manager.

CV action words

  • support

  • devise

  • automate

Job description keyword phrases

  • IT service

  • health research

  • Agile development teams

Combined words

  • supported agile development teams by automating the bulk of health research

  • devised new ways to use IT services to benefit wider roles

Other examples of words to use in a technical context

  • advance

  • architect

  • automate

  • built

  • code

  • deploy

  • design

  • develop

  • devise

  • discover

  • engineer

  • implement

  • program

  • support

  • test

  • transform

  • troubleshoot

  • upgrade

Project management CV buzzwords

If you're in project management there are a number of words you can use in conjunction with the keywords from the job description. In the job description, look for words like ‘role', and ‘experience in'. Your keywords are situated near these terms. For example:

CV action words

  • establish

  • facilitate

  • forecast

Job description keyword phrases

  • contractual management

  • teamwork

  • sales development

Combined words

  • established phases of contractual management

  • facilitated teamwork

  • forecast sales development

More action words to use for project management

  • coordinate

  • complete

  • delegate

  • execute

  • establish

  • facilitate

  • forecast

  • formulate

  • formalise

  • guide

  • handle

  • implement

  • inspect

  • introduce

  • launch

  • manage

  • map

  • organise

  • plan

  • process

  • prioritise

  • propose

  • reorganise

  • report

  • represent

  • solve

  • spearhead

  • test

  • track

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

Example of CV words in an experience section

Below is how your experience section might look once you've combined action words and keyword phrases on a customer service CV. You can swap the information here for your own to create an experience section for any field:

London Insurance Inc, London

Solutions Associate 06/2018 - Present

  • Performed administrative responsibilities for one of the leading providers of insurance and membership products marketed to mortgage holders.

  • Drove office efficiency and profitability through data research.

  • Persuaded roughly 25% of our customers to enter direct billing through email and social media.

Southampton Communications, Southampton

Service Representative 07/2014-03/2018

  • Earned greater profits by reducing contracting costs through proactive research and successful coordination of equipment repair.

  • Initiated successful professional relationships with corporate vendors to complete technical service work order tickets in a timely fashion.

General Holdings, London

Quality Assurance Associate 09/2013-07/2014

  • Enhanced systems to work alongside buyers. Resolved troubleshooting issues and maximised effective communication of escalations with the IT desk.

Related: The complete CV format guide: examples and tips

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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