Using active language

When writing CVs and applications be specific: Avoid using too many general descriptive words e.g. various, some, many, lots, several. Instead quantify your achievements: if you met a target give the numbers; if you delivered presentations say how many; if you raised money say how much.

How to use active language

For most impact use words carefully and in context. Quantify your examples too. For example:

  • Resourceful geography graduate with 6 months’ work experience in transport consultancy.
  • Led a team of five students in a design project for which we were awarded a first class mark.
  • Successfully negotiated a discount with the venue for the Summer Ball, saving £400.
  • Advised customers on relevant products for their needs utilising detailed technical knowledge.
  • Volunteered to redraft a leaflet for the charity, which was then chosen for a regional campaign.

10 words to show… Your personal qualities

Enterprising; Adaptable; Resourceful; Proactive; Experienced; Practical; Versatile; Driven; Hard-working; Dependable

How you work with others

Volunteered; Collaborated; Supported; Facilitated; Participated; Assisted; Mentored; Motivated; Encouraged

You taking charge of others

Administered; Delegated; Supervised; Directed; Co-ordinated; Motivated; Led; Managed; Presided; Represented

How you made something better (don’t forget to quantify!)

Improved; Increased; Streamlined; Saved; Delivered; Resolved; Transformed; Doubled; Edited; Refined

Your information/data handling skills

Analysed; Assessed; Evaluated; Reviewed; Researched; Interpreted; Discovered; Identified; Interviewed; Investigated

How you share information with others

Advised; Coached; Guided; Mentored; Organised; Demonstrated; Trained; Presented; Instructed; Recommended

How you take the initiative

Established; Initiated; Created; Designed; Developed; Devised; Introduced; Volunteered; Launched; Suggested

Your organisation and planning skills

Arranged; Co-ordinated; Organised; Planned; Maintained; Prepared; Scheduled; Revised; Processed; Produced

Your effectiveness in persuading others

Negotiated; Mediated; Persuaded; Presented; Liaised; Encouraged; Promoted; Guided; Influenced; Interviewed

Your achievements and going the extra mile

Volunteered; Suggested; Recommended; Mastered; Nominated; Achieved; Awarded; Selected; Won; Attained