Action words: how to be direct and certain

Action words: how to be direct and certain

A job application is all about selling yourself and demonstrating your best, most relevant qualities to a potential employer. You want to come across as positive, confident and assertive from the start, and you can achieve all of these things through the language you use. Consider these three things:

Be certain

Watch out for words like ‘extremely, ‘very’, ‘little’, ‘slightly’ or ‘almost’. They can make you sound less sure of yourself – does your CV read better without them?

Be direct

When you’re writing about who you are and what you’ve achieved, be careful of verbs like ‘feel’ and ‘believe’. Which of the three sentences below sounds more convincing?

– I feel I am a good timekeeper.

– I believe I am a good timekeeper.

– I am a good timekeeper.

Be professional

Choose action words to describe what you’ve done. They help you come across as effective and energetic. Here are a selection you could use:

  • Achieved
  • Arranged
  • Assisted
  • Built
  • Compiled
  • Created
  • Delivered
  • Designed
  • Demonstrated
  • Explained
  • Led
  • Organised
  • Planned
  • Presented
  • Responsible for
  • Served
  • Sold
  • Wrote

The words you use paint a picture of the kind of person you are, and the type of employee you are likely to be, so use this to your advantage. Once you’ve written a CV, cover letter or application form read back over and make sure you’re being as compelling and direct as possible.

Take your application to the next level with a range of tips and advice on preparing for an interview.