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Using the right language on your CV

By Jordan Seaman

How can you ensure that your CV makes an impact? How do you get the balance between keeping things concise and being vague? This is where the choice of language comes into play. We’re not talking about being multilingual - although if you are, mention it on your CV! - we’re talking about moving away from clichés and freshening things up. The hiring manager has heard the phrases “great team player”, “hard worker” and “self-motivated” a hundred times before and whilst these things are important to mention, you should start making the most of action verbs within your descriptions. These are words which demonstrate your confidence and can easily be expanded upon during an interview scenario. 

“Action verbs are used to deliver important information in a sentence and add impact and purpose. These verbs play a vital role in grammar and signals to the reader what action the subject is performing in the sentence”- Source: 

Making the most of action words

Let’s look at some common examples and see how we can improve them through the inclusion of action verbs.

  • Before: “Held regular planning meetings with multi-agency teams to reduce re-offending”

  • After: “Established and supervised regular planning meetings with multi-agency teams to reduce reoffending”.

The difference is clear. Simply using the addition of the words ‘established’ and ‘supervised’, the same sentence suddenly seems much more powerful and enhances the specific impact. 

Here’s another example. 

  • Before: “Worked with multidisciplinary staff and developed a specialist practice-based clinical model of care” 

  • After: “Championed strong working relationships with multidisciplinary staff and implemented a specialist practice-based clinical model of care” 

Again, the use of two action words really grabs your attention and makes you sound more confident and experienced.

We have written a series of blogs around starting and navigating your probation career. There are also a number of useful resources on our careers hub.