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The Importance Of Action Words In Curriculum Vitaes And Cover Letters
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The Importance Of Action Words In Curriculum Vitaes And Cover Letters

The specific language you use when writing your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or cover letter will play an important part in whether you get shortlisted and invited for interview. “Action words” or “Power words” are important because they will communicate the strength of your experience and achievements. If you fail to use action words effectively you are unlikely to spark the interest of a prospective employer to find out more about you.

Shown below are 7 tips to use these words effectively:

1. Write in the past for achievements: Writing in the past gives more power to your achievements and shows that they are completed, eg I exceeded my sales targets by more than 26% over the past 3 years. This is stronger that writing in the present eg “I’m exceeding my sales targets again this year”

2. Use verbs in active tense. “I manage three teams of sales assistants “. This is better than using the passive tense “ Three teams of sales assistants are managed by me.

3. Use verbs to accurately describe your experience eg “I managed a project team ...”, I co-ordinated a group of sales executives ....” , I negotiated discounts with 3 of our suppliers ....”

4. Use verbs that convey responsibilities and action: You want to show that you are a doer not a bystander or just a follower. “I renegotiated the terms of the original agreement ....”, “I streamlined our operations, which led to a 20% rise in ...” “” I established a new system ...”

5. Use verbs to describe your highest level of achievement: Ensure that you use these verbs accurately . Don’t say “ I managed” if you were actually just a member of a team. On the other hand – don’t undersell yourself. There is no point in saying “ I’ve worked on a project that introduced new tracking processes that have reduced delivery times” if in fact you should be saying “ I designed, developed and implement a new tracking process that has reduced delivery times."

6. Use adjectives and adverbs effectively – Adjectives and adverbs are important to add colour to what you're saying, but make sure that you don’t overuse them. They need to be used effectively eg “I successfully motivated a project team to exceed their targets ...

7. Use numbers to illustrate your achievements eg: “I reduced staffing costs by 13% ...”, Our team succeeded in increasing sales by 30% ...

The importance of using the right action words cannot be underestimated. If you get it right, it can really set you apart from the other candidates. Once you have used them for CVs and cover letters you should also be aware that you will use them to describe your strengths and unique selling points when you get invited for an interview.

Do you have any favourite action words you like to use?


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