Active verb cheat sheet for academic CVs

You are excelling in your area of research and being able to communicate this effectively is another vital skill to develop. You have worked hard, and had good results, so it is worth also investing some time in your CV to communicate this to potential new colleagues/employers.

A sure-fire way of doing this is to write in an active voice and to use action verbs when describing your skills and achievements.
Taking an example from the University of Kent’s careers site, rather than writing:
“For my research project, I had to carry out a survey of patients’ attitudes to health care services for the elderly. This involved interviewing patients in hospital and in their homes. A database was used to keep track of data collected.”
You should instead write:
“Devised and prepared a survey of patients’ attitudes to health care services for the elderly as my final-year project. Interviewed 70 elderly patients and obtained a substantial amount of data. Created a database to analyse and interpret this material.”
To help you to quickly refresh your CV using active verbs we have put together a quick reference cheat sheet to get you started. We give you 10 examples in the following skills sets that your potential new colleagues are looking for: –

  • Administrative skills
  • Financial skills
  • Management skills
  • Research skills
  • Teaching Skills
  • Technical skills
  • Communication skills


Once you have refreshed your CV it is a good idea to get a colleague or mentor to review it and better still have it professionally edited. It is worth investing some time into making sure you really do communicate what you have achieved in the best possible light. You want to instill confidence in who you are and what you want to achieve in your next position.

Remember to upload your refreshed CV to GA Jobs.

Other useful links

Powerful Verbs for your CV

Advice from Harvard on CVs and Cover Letters

Action Verbs for Resumes

Action verbs from Berkley

Advice from The University of Kent

Post Grad Careers Advice from University of Salford


Diana Hayes
A key part of the founding team, Diana is achievement-oriented, forward-thinking and strategic in creating a high-yielding network of interested academics, universities and related associations. Her research and content have created genuine engagement amongst both candidates and employers resulting in a network of 250,000 academics. Diana’s experience is in sales, marketing, event management and business development.

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