The Language of Job Success

The language we use to describe ourselves, our skills, our experiences and our achievements is absolutely critical to the impact and influence we have on others.

And nowhere is this more important than when we are seeking a new role where both in writing via our CV/application form and verbally during interview stages, the words we use will make a critical impression on whoever is making the assessment for an advertised role. 

When we work with candidates, critiquing their CV’s and helping them practice their interview skills and techniques, we always pay particular attention to the words and language that individuals use. Our encouragement is for people to use as much concrete, positive and active language to describe themselves and their achievements. Language that conveys confidence, competence and credibility.

To illustrate this, here are some powerful active verbs that can help transform an average CV or interview performance into a presentation of yourself that is much more impactful and impressive: 

When describing your achievements try regularly using this type of language about what “l” did: 

  • Led - this immediately draws attention to your leadership competency and illustrates your capacity to take charge, to galvanise others and to be accountable for results and outcomes

  • Achieved - marks out clearly the tangible accomplishments in you career and conveys a sense of pride that you can and do make a difference

  • Learned - shows your capacity to stand back from events and experiences and draw important  lessons; also indicates your capacity for self-improvement and personal growth

  • Resolved - particularly powerful when describing how you sorted out complex problems or conflicts; shows an ability to solve problems and reach positive outcomes

  • Implemented - shows an end product from your leadership and team skills

  • Collaborated - illustrates your willingness to work with others, across organisational boundaries to achieve results - particularly important when demonstrating your flexibility to work in matrix type working situations

  • Influenced - alongside “collaboration” shows your ability to work constructively with others where you do not necessarily have the formal authority to achieve results 

  • Project Managed - a very specific statement of where you have taken sharp accountability for leading and delivering a significant project or transformation 

  • Coached - illustrates the importance you place upon developing others and your skill in managing and improving the performance of others

  • Consulted - shows your capacity to communicate and be inclusive of a variety of stakeholders and their different viewpoints

  • Decided - ultimately organisations employ people to get things done using their best analytical and judgement skills to make business critical decisions

  • Changed - illustrates your abilities to manage change and make new and improved things happen 

  • Initiated - combined with “changed” shows an action orientation not just to conceive of change but to positively make it happen

  • Implemented - shows your capacity and persistence to see things through to a successful conclusion

  • Innovated - describes a capability and value for continuous improvement and seeking new ways to address challenging problems

Of course the above is not intended to be a completely exhaustive list of the active verbs you can use to describe your achievements. But please use it as a checklist to help you be more concrete and positive about describing you and your achievements. As a first exercise, take a critical look at your current CV and ask - “how many of these words appear in my current version and how could I change the language to be more concrete and positive?” 

If you feel you could benefit from some specialist coaching to help you with your career transition and interview preparation, please contact Brosna Career Consulting at

Happy job seeking.