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It’s always a good idea to use keywords and action verbs in your resume and cover letters. Using the right words not only shows what you have accomplished in previous jobs. These words also help your resume, cover letter, and other application materials get selected by the software and hiring managers who screen your documents.
What Are Resume Action Verbs and Keywords?
From the job seeker perspective, keywords are the words job seekers use to search for available positions. For the employer, keywords are the terms that hiring managers use to screen resumes and cover letters to find applicants that are a good fit for a job.
There are different types of keywords. Job keywords are words that describe your skills and qualifications. They describe the hard skills you have that qualify you for a job.
Action verbs show your ability to succeed. For example, words like accomplished, developed, managed, and handled describe what you have achieved.
Keywords are used to match an applicant with an available job. The closer the keywords in a resume are to those in a job description, the better a candidate’s chances of being selected for a job interview.
Why and How to Include Action Verbs in Your Resume
The keywords in your resume will help you get selected for a job interview. Hiring managers search by keywords to find resumes that match the job qualifications they established when they listed the job.
In addition to listing keywords specific to your occupation (like software or sales skills) include action words that show you what you have accomplished. Rather than just stating a list of duties, including action keywords in your position descriptions.
Here’s an example:
Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
Specialized in product order management
Helped manage associates on the sales floor
Alphabetical List of Action Verbs
Review these tips for how to get your resume past the applicant tracking systems employers use, and this list of action keywords to use to get your application noticed when applying for jobs.
© The Balance 2018
BBudgeted, built, brainstormed, balanced, blended, boosted
CCompiled, combined, challenged, chaired, committed, communicated, coordinated, calculated, contributed, commissioned, confirmed, customized, created, challenged, critiqued
DDecided, developed, disclosed, documented, discovered, designed, determined, demonstrated, deferred, distributed, directed, devoted, drafted, doubled, diversified, designated, dedicated, discussed
EExercised, expected, earned, elected, engaged, entered, engineered, employed, edited, evaluated, entertained, eliminated, exchanged, ended, estimated, exempted, endorsed, expedited, experienced, enforced, explained
FFacilitated, focused, financed, fueled, figured, fit, formed, fortified, functioned, formulated
GGuided, grouped, gave, garnered, granted, generated, guaranteed, gathered, graphed
HHired, handled, helped, headed
I Improved, identified, installed, inspired, interviewed, issued, invested, illustrated, implemented, incurred, innovated, inspected, invented, interpreted, inaugurated, informed, induced, instilled, incorporated
JJudged, joined, justified
LLocated, lectured, launched, litigated, lobbied, led, listened
MMastered, managed, merchandised, modified, met, minimized, modeled, measured, moderated, motivated, multiplied, marketed, maximized, moved, mediated
NNegotiated, noticed, navigated, networked
OOperated, owned, observed, oversaw, organized, obtained, oriented
PParticipated, printed, proposed, pursued, persuaded, perceived, preserved, processed, produced, promoted, planned, performed, pioneered, passed, prioritized, proficiency, provided, profiled, polled, presented, procured, purchased, placed, permitted
QQuoted, qualified, questioned, queried
RRanked, resolved, received, rewarded, revised, revitalized, revamped, responded, restored, rejected, reinforced, reinstated, rehabilitated, remedied, redesigned, recruited, recovered, recorded, reduced, replaced, retained, retrieved, reversed, ran, raised, reached, reviewed, researched
SSaved, secured, stabilized, scheduled, screened, settled, separated, sent, selected, shaped, shortened, showed, signed, simplified, sold, specialized, staged, standardized, steered, stimulated, strategized, surveyed, supported, supplied, substantiated, set goals, supervised, studied
TTrained, tabulated, took, traveled, transformed, tested, transferred, tailored, targeted
UUtilized, uncovered, united, updated, undertook, unified, upgraded
VVerified, valued, validated, visited, visualized
WWitnessed, worked, weighed, wrote, won, welcomed
This is an example of a resume with action verbs. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Example With Action Verbs (Text Version)
Lewis Givens18 Oak LaneHouston, TX 77009Cell: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE
Physician Education / Territory Development / Relationship Building
Nationally top-ranked pharmaceutical sales representative with unprecedented success establishing market dominance for antidiabetics products. Charismatic presenter and negotiator, deftly forging and maintaining lasting relationships with physician groups and pharmacies.
Notable Sales Achievements
Scored Pharma Sales Rep of the Quarter regional and national titles every year between 2010 and 2018.
Pioneered new territories for newly launched Bleudacan® family of products, leading product to top 5% ranking nationally within six months of release.
Consistently earned Chairman’s Circle and National President’s Club accolades throughout the career.
Biomed Corporation, Houston, TXPharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2016 to Present)
Orchestrate market launch and territory penetration for Bleudacan® antidiabetics across the Southwest region of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.
Leveraged network of major accounts across the four-state territory to ensure immediate market dominance of novel Bleudacan® products.
Authored well-received whitepaper on sales trends in the antidiabetics market.
BigPharma Inc., Houston, TX
Biogenics LLC, Houston, TXPharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2009 to 06/2016)
Established reputation as a winning physician educator as a representative for the antidiabetics Restorex® and Historelb® in the Texas regional market.
Captured Chairman’s Circle rankings for each year of tenure.
Increased sales of Restorex® by 58% and of Historelb® by 46% within six months of hire.
The University of Texas, Austin, TXBachelor of Science in Marketing
Professional DevelopmentAntidiabetics Sales, Value-driven Sales Techniques, Territory Growth Strategies, Regulatory Issues
The average job opening will attract 250 resumes.
You are one of them.
So is that just a 1/250 chance?
You have tools at your disposal to get your resume ahead of the pack.
After reading this article, you will be fully equipped with the information that you need to use the best action words to make your resume stand out above the others.
When writing resume verbs, word-choice matters.
You do not want to be boring, or just like other applicants.
Action verbs may also be referred to as power words, power verbs, or action words. They sell your skills a lot better than generic words, and they help you to stand out.
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager.
Imagine that you have 250 documents that are supposed to be about individuals.
“Made X, did Y, led Z.”
“Team-player, perfectionist, outside the box.”
“Blah, blah, blah.”
They don’t seem like individuals. It just looks like one big lump of neutral verbs and generic buzzwords.
Using strong action verbs can easily make you stand out.
Instead of “made,” you can say “created.”
Instead of “did,” you can say “completed.”
(Not sure how to even start your resume? Read The 5 Best Resume Formats in 2020.)
There are a lot of ways to say the same thing.
You can say “I washed the dishes.”
You can also say, “I oversaw a process within which kitchen utensils and crockery were exposed to liquid and heat for a time to achieve a final outcome after which they had regained the status that they had prior to use.”
Now you wouldn’t actually list this accomplishment on your resume.
But if you did, it would sound better like this:
“Promoted cleanliness in the kitchen.”
Use a power verb to say what you did, back it up with a number if relevant. Keep it simple, but keep it strong.
Instead of “was part of a team that did a good job,” you can say “contributed as part of a large team to drive sales by 15%.”
Use the lists below as a guide when writing your resume. You can also print off this 130 Resume Power Verbs cheat sheet to use while writing your resume or preparing for an interview.
⬆ Download 130 Resume Power Verbs Cheat Sheet ⬆
First and foremost, you do not want a resume with countless rows of “duties” to begin with the term “responsible for” or “achieved” when describing your achievements.
Yes, it’s true, but it is repetitive.
Repetitive content is boring.
Mix things up and state your responsibilities in a more varied way.
Saying things in different ways also gives different angles on your responsibilities, making you look more versatile.
So there are other terms for “responsible for”.
But they’re not all good.
Use the examples above to find what works and what doesn’t.
Maybe you are very analytical. Well, you don’t want to just slap the word “analyzed” on your resume ad nauseam.
It is good to use different words with the same meaning if you find that you are repeating yourself.
You also want to ensure that the information that you include actually adds value to your resume.
Otherwise, it’d be like saying, “Analyzed the number of planes in the sea and concluded that it was a greater number than submarines in the sky.”
It adds no value. It wastes space.
A resume can easily be improved by a valid demonstration of your analytical abilities.
Below there are examples of great resume verbs to use to help you stand out:
So now you can demonstrate your analytical ability without having to say the same word again and again.
A hiring manager analyzing your resume will greatly appreciate the diversity.
If you are a good communicator, will you have to say that you are if you are showing it?
If you say that you are, chances are that the hiring manager will think that you aren’t.
It’s like those snacks you see at the grocery store: “90% less sugar, only natural colors and flavors, same taste.”
The taste isn’t the same.
So if you feel like you have to say it, think again.
Instead, show that you are a good communicator by showing what you have achieved due to communication.
While you’re at it, use a variety of resume synonyms like the ones listed below. Imagine a communicator with only one word to describe something.
See the importance of using correct words?
When trying to convey that you are a good communicator, it is essential that you do this well.
Imagine if a creative person had to tell you that they are creative?
If a 7-foot tall man walked up to you, he wouldn’t have to say, “Hi, I am tall.”
So if you have to say that you are creative, your resume may not be up to scratch yet.
Use action words like the following to show that you are creative and will continue to be:
Show what you are responsible for, rather than just to say that you are creative.
That will put you in a far better position than not supplying evidence in your resume.
Combine that with action verbs recommended above, and you will be in a very good place.
Do you have experience in finance and accounting but aren’t sure how to say this?
Fear not, we have the action verbs that you need.
Don’t include random obscure facts on your resume.
Be specific about your accomplishments and use power verbs like these:
See how the action verbs open the sentence up for specific details to be included?
These verbs are hugely important, but remember to back them up.
Imagine if someone told you that they made things better at a job.
You wouldn’t be impressed.
But imagine if they told you what and how.
Now we’re talking.
Use a strong action verb (like these listed below), back it up with evidence, and you show clearly that you added value with your contribution.
Wouldn’t it be awfully ironic if you stated that you improved things, but your verbs of choice needed improvement?
Avoid this by following the guide above.
There is a fine line between saying that you lead a team and dictated a team.
Suggesting that you get a little drunk on power is not good.
Saying that you are a leader but having no proof is also not good.
It is important that you describe yourself as an effective but fair leader, willing to listen and adapt.
With that in mind, use good power verbs like the ones below, and you will show yourself to be a responsible and successful leader.
As is clear, the words that are effective action verbs demonstrate authority without demonstrating that you are a bad leader.
Organizing, arranging, logistics, they are all extremely important.
Showing that you check the boxes for this is a fantastic idea.
However, there are ways that you can make this boring, and ways to make it engaging.
Use action verbs and be specific about what you organized.
Did you organize a charity fundraiser that raised over $3000?
Say that, but in a better way than: “Prepped an event for charity that raised money.”
Instead, say, “Arranged a fundraiser in support of [charity] and raised $3000.”
See power verbs below that help demonstrate your organizational abilities:
See the difference between saying that you “pulled something together” and that you “prepared” something?
They both have the same emphasis, but they are very different.
You want to highlight exactly what makes you the perfect candidate.
So what are you applying for?
You definitely do not want to be vague or unimaginative when highlighting the reasons that you are a perfect candidate.
If you completed a practical project, don’t say that you “did” it.
Instead, see examples below for good action words that you can use on your resume:
You can best outline your academic or research aptitude by honestly and accurately representing yourself.
Regarding verbs, that is best accomplished by using power verbs, helping you stand out.
Even more than with other examples, you definitely want to back up whatever claims you make here with numbers.
Otherwise, you may as well be saying, “I sold stuff and may or may not have reached my targets.”
Instead, be clear and specific and tout your achievements, this is not the place for humility.
Instead of the above example say, “Generated a 20% increase in sales for [product].”
Here is a full table of strong power words that work for sales:
As before, these effective verbs are great, but they need to be backed up.
When you say “converted,” you want to complete the statement. Give details, give numbers.
If you went to a comedy club and said that you were funny, they wouldn’t immediately throw you on stage and give fifty bucks to you at the end of the night.
They’d want to actually know that you are funny.
Same idea here. Say that you are a problem solver all you want, if you don’t actually show how you are a problem solver, the hiring manager will have no reason to believe you.
It may just look like you threw a buzzword into a sentence to make it more appealing. Evidence is key.
Check out our problem-solving action words:
Using an effective term above, you can contextualize your problem-solving skills well.
Being able to lend a hand where needed is something that employers value a lot.
If you are asked to assist with something, you don’t want to respond with, “Nah, I completed my duties assigned on Monday so I’m going to stick with that”.
Work behind the scenes is a large contributing factor to the overall success of a project.
Use your resume to show that you can happily and effectively help out where needed with the following power verbs:
There is a huge difference between using the action verbs recommended and ineffective verbs.
You do not need to be told here that a key behind effective action verbs is in demonstrating the effect that you have had on others.
Results are extremely important. Highlight them and back them up.
However, remember to emphasize the positive effect that you have on your students.
That mixed with positive results will only reflect well on you.
Here are 21 of the best action words for teaching:
Students are not numbers. Be sure to highlight how you brought the best out of them.
Additionally, if you are going to discuss good results, emphasize that this is something that you “improved.” It is not simply an accomplishment of yours. Results matter for students!
Saying that you “worked on” something is overused.
A bodybuilder may say that he’s “working on” getting a tan.
Steve next door may say that he’s “working on” having more fruit in his diet.
Your friend Kayla from the university may say that she’s “working on” doing more work from home.
You can see that the term is extremely broad. It is also extremely overused.
Do you think the hiring manager wants to read that your responsibilities were entirely “working on” different projects?
She just finished hearing about Steve’s diet.
Mix it up and make it an enticing read with the following action verbs:
See how there are so many ways to say that you’re working on something, without actually explicitly saying it?
Now you don’t need to say “working on” again.
One of the key elements behind success at work is teamwork.
Show that you can and have worked successfully with others numerous times.
This will demonstrate that you continue to be a good team player. That is because you chalk accomplishments up to collaboration.
Use these powerful action words to show teamwork:
Emphasis needs to be kept away from you being the best player on the team.
Instead, concentrate on what was done, as demonstrated above.
Top Tip: In every category above, backing up your claims with evidence will make the claim stronger.
Some words are even worse than using bland or overused words.
Imagine if saying that you are a “perfectionist people person” results in your resume getting placed to the side.
Now imagine saying that you are an “epic pro analyzer.”
Your resume might actually end up being shredded and used as bedding for hamsters.
Here is a list of phrases that you absolutely must avoid on your resume at all costs:
These unsubstantiated and overused phrases don’t go over well.
You talk yourself up, but you do not actually sell what you can do for the employer.
In fact, you do the opposite. By using words like this, it strongly suggests that you are not taking your resume very seriously.
On your resume, you have made sure that it gives an accurate account of your aptitude and accomplishments.
You have carefully tailored your resume to show that you have the exact skills this employer is looking for.
You have spent hours writing this document to ensure that you check all the boxes.
But then it gets discarded almost immediately by the hiring manager.
What went wrong?
How Neutral Words Can Be a Turnoff
One of the last things that you want is for the hiring manager to place your resume to the side after reading it for just a matter of seconds because you blended in.
Using neutral resume words does exactly this.
Your chances of being seen as a serious candidate are low.
They want someone to stand out and be different.
There’s a reason the hiring manager doesn’t just go out onto the street and point at the first person that they see.
They list the job so that the right people apply.
Being one of the 250 applicants, you claim to have the skills that they are looking for.
But using overused or bland words is a certain way to make your application seem as generic as they come.
First and foremost, you must consider that these resume verbs are used to describe what you have accomplished, rather than to describe you as an individual.
The hiring manager is going to be significantly more interested in your contributions and your ability to continue to contribute.
Wondering how to include power verbs on your resume?
It is really quite basic.
Whether in your professional summary, your responsibilities or achievements at work, or even skills – anywhere where you can put a verb, you can put an action verb.
“Talked” becomes “Presented.”
“Thought of” becomes “Spearheaded.”
“Made” becomes “Developed.”
See how simple including these action words is? Your resume naturally requires you to include verbs, so always consider what verbs can actually get the job done.
Instead of “Drew up the specifications”, you would not say “Illustrated up the specifications…”
It would just be “Illustrated the specifications…”
Always check that sentences make sense with a better word inserted. And if they don’t, adjust the rest of the sentence as needed.
One last thing: If you insert as many power verbs as possible into your resume, it will just look like you are trying too hard.
Be reasonable. A general rule can be a maximum of 2 verbs per sentence.
(For more examples of how to include powerful verbs on your resume, see Action Verbs for Your Resume.)
With that, you are fully informed about how to approach including action verbs on your resume.
It is fairly basic to ensure that verbs on a resume aren’t bland and you don’t blend into the pile of resumes, but it makes a huge difference.
Need a little help with that resume?
Find My Profession is an elite resume writing service that will ensure that your resume stands out from the crowd.
Language matters in a resume.
“Responsible for” “Critical Thinker” “Team Player”
And guess what? They’re boring.
In this guide, we’re going to cover:
Why Power Words Matter
How to use Resume Action Words [+Examples & Tips]
340+ Resume Action Verbs And Power Words [w/ Examples]
Resume Power Adjectives
Resume Buzzwords to Avoid
Why Power Words Matter
Power words help show off your top achievements in the best way possible.
Don’t believe us? Let’s compare an example with and without power words.
See the difference?
Both of these examples say exactly the same thing.
The main difference is that the second wording makes you seem a LOT more competent.
Something to keep in mind – power words, action words, action verbs, and so on are synonyms. So, don’t be surprised to see that we use them interchangeably in this article!
Other than allowing you to stand out, action words can also be used to say one thing in different ways. We’ve seen way too many resumes that have “Responsible for” all over the place!
So, instead of:
Responsible for managing company X’s Instagram account.
Responsible for connecting with influencers in the niche.
You could say:
In this article, we have conveniently grouped 340+ action words to help you upgrade your resume descriptions:
Resume Power Words for Team Work and Communication
Resume Action Words Management and Leadership Achievements
Resume Power Words to Showcase your Creativity
Resume Power Words for Problem Solving Accomplishments
Resume Action Verbs for Research, Analysis, and Planning
Resume Power Verbs for “Support”
Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Improved”
Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Responsible For”
Resume Action Words to Use Instead of “Worked On”
Resume Action Verbs that Mean “Use”
Resume Power Adjectives
How to use Resume Action Words [+Examples & Tips]
Action words can really spice up your resume if done right.
Now, we’re going to explain all the do’s and don’t of using power verbs…
Which power words should you use?
The type of power words you use will depend on the position you are applying for.
Do a detailed scan of the job posting and single out the key responsibilities and requirements.
Determine which of your abilities and experiences apply to those job requirements.
Then, look for power words in our list that describe those achievements.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Although the power words will be specific to the position you are applying for, there are some general rules to follow:
Choose resume power words that can be measured. This way you can follow the power word with a tangible achievement, for example: “enhanced customer base by 35%.”
Don’t use subjective words. “I’m amazing at”, “I’m incredible at” aren’t as pleasing to hear as you might think. These statements make you appear self-involved, which recruiters find appalling. Don’t tell them you’re amazing, show them with a measurable power word!
How often should you use power words?
Sadly, just like with anything good in life, action words will lose their value if you overdo it. Instead of power words, they’ll just look like sprinkled mambo-jumbo that doesn’t mean anything.
Also, your resume is swamped with power words, your hiring manager might get turned off and think you’re trying too hard.
A good rule to follow is to not add more than one or two action verbs in a sentence.
Use them appropriately and moderately.
340+ Resume Action Verbs And Power Words [w/ Examples]
Resume Action Words for Management and Leadership Achievements
When you reach a goal:
Coordinated data integrity within the company’s applicant tracking system.
Strengthened the sales and service culture through coaching and guidance.
When you gave a different approach to solving a problem:
When you worked with other people:
Resume Action Verbs for Research, Analysis, and Planning
When you prepared or helped prepare an event:
When you analyzed a new idea:
When you analyzed existing practices and ideas:
When you contributed to solving a problem:
an extraordinary customer service experience, solved customer issues and upsold other products or services.
Resume Power Words to Use as a Replacement for “Improved”
Did you leave the company you worked for better than when you came in?
That’s cool, but if you say you “improved” something four times in a row, it loses its impact.
Use the list below to mix it up:
Resume Power Words to Use Instead of “Responsible for”
Using “responsible for” in a resume gets old fast. Instead, use these alternative verbs that *pop*:
Resume Action Words to Use Instead of “Worked On”
Most of your job descriptions will be describing things you contributed to. This makes it tough to be original and show value.
In this case, you should try to be as specific as possible by giving details about your accomplishments.
Here’s a list to help you replace the overused “worked on” and show value:
Resume Power Adjectives [w/ Examples]
Power adjectives have the same function as power verbs, but instead, they chúng tôi guessed it: adjectives.
Unlike power verbs, you can use power adjectives beyond describing Professional Experience.
In this section, we’ll cover how to use power adjectives in your resume summary, professional experience, and skills.
Then, we’re going to give you a complete list of the best power adjectives you can use in your resume.
Using Buzz Adjectives in the Resume Summary Section
The resume summary section is a short pitch to your prospective employer. You use it to summarize your most relevant experience, skills, and achievements.
When done right, adding some power adjectives can help your resume summary stand out.
Take a look at these examples:
Caregiver with 5+ years of experience. Recognized for providing emotional support to clients.
caregiver who has been working in an elderly home for 5 years. The perfect choice for delivering emotional support to clients.
The first example focuses on the candidate’s personal qualities, rather than her skills. Whereas the second example is professional and leaves a much more powerful impact.
Want to know how to write the perfect summary for your resume? Check out our complete guide, filled with professional examples and practical tips!
Using Power Adjectives in the Professional Experience Section
When you are describing your professional experience, power adjectives should be used sparingly.
You already have plenty of action verbs in there, so don’t double down on the power words by adding an adjective. It’s either one or the other.
Take a look at this example on how they can be strategically placed in a job description:
Developed harmonious relationships with 70% of the patients, resulting in overall patient happiness.
Developed relationships with 70% of the patients, resulting in overall patient happiness.
Using Power Adjectives in the Skills section
Don’t use power adjectives as a skill on their own. Don’t list “Intelligent” or “Professional” as a skill. Those are subjective personal traits.
Instead, use power adjectives only when they affirm your competency in another skill.
French and German vs Fluent in French and German
Management skills vs Strong Management Skills
The Best Power Adjectives [Divided by Category]
Power Adjectives for Analytical Thinking
Are you constantly doing work that calls for putting your thinking hat on?
This list is perfect for describing the detailed, calculating tasks you complete on a daily basis.
They’re usually valuable for industries that require complicated critical thinking: IT, finance, telecommunications, engineering.Power Adjectives for Productivity
Power Adjectives for Dedication
Recruiters love seeing genuine interest from a candidate. The words below are great for showing your dedication and high-spirits:
Power Adjectives to Describe Hard Work
Are you a diligent and driven person? Are you prepared to pull up tiring all-nighters to complete important projects?
Here are some adjectives that compliment your hard work:
Power Adjectives to Describe You as Organized and Systematic
Power Adjectives for Communication and Teamwork
Being friendly, understanding and sociable are key qualities for anyone working in a team setting or with customers and clients on a daily basis.
Use these words to help describe your skills:
Resume Buzzwords to Avoid
Buzzwords are the opposite of power verbs.
They’re boring, overused, and hated by managers world-wid e.
Here are some of the most popular buzzwords you should avoid:Most Hated Buzzwords:
Here’s everything we learned in this article:
You can use power words to spice up your resume and add variety to your language. They are mostly verbs but can also be adjectives.
To decide which power words to use, do a detailed scan of the job listing and identify the key responsibilities the employer is looking for. Your power words will be emphasizing how you have shown these traits. Be careful not to use more than one power word per sentence.
Try using power verbs more often than power adjectives. It’s all about action!
Looking for more ways to improve your resume?
Do you want to sharpen up the language on your resume so it leaves a lasting impression? Resume action words are the powerful verbs that propel sentences forward by clearly communicating your skills and experience. They enhance the readability of your resume and spice up the language so recruiters and hiring managers stay locked in beyond the 6-7 seconds they typically spend skimming.
Read on to learn how to best use resume action words. Plus, find out which verbs recruiters and hiring managers love to see.
Some action verbs are better than others. Here we’ve provided tips for choosing the best verbs for your resume including how to swap out generic sentence starters with fresh attention grabbers, replace weak passive voice with to-the-point active language, and tailor your resume action words to your industry.
Avoid tired, generic resume words
Chances are your resume already includes many action verbs. But are you choosing the most compelling resume words? While some action verbs pack a punch, others are tired and boring. These generic verbs are so familiar to recruiters that their eyes may skim right over them.
Examples of overused, generic action verbs include:
Spot any of these words on your resume? No worries! You can easily replace them.
Use fresh language instead
Some words are more exciting than others. Verbs, for example, are more engaging than nouns. And fresh verbs are the most exciting of all. These words jump off the page and demand attention.
30 Examples of Fresh Resume Action Verbs
Be specific (and dust off that thesaurus)
The reason we’ve rounded up a whopping 400+ resume action words is because we know you need choices. Being exact in your word choice is the best way to portray your unique experience to recruiters and hiring managers.
Good: Led a team of designers, engineers, and writers in the creation of a new blog series that resulted in over 1 million unique users visiting the site.
Better: Spearheaded a new blog initiative that united engineers, designers and writers and introduced over 1 million unique users to the site.
Even Better: Conceptualized and spearheaded a new blog initiative that united engineers, designers and writers, generating over 3 million organic sessions and introducing over 1 million unique users to the website.
If you’re having trouble finding the perfect word, you can use online tools like chúng tôi or the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus to find verbs that communicate your experience exactly.
Avoid writing in the passive voice on your resume
We often use the passive voice unconsciously and it can be difficult to detect. One simple way to tell the difference is to look to see if your resume verbs comprise two words instead of one.
For example, the verb “were grown” comprises two words, meaning that it is in the passive voice. If it were in the active voice, it would have only one word: “grew.”
Another example is: “were developed.” The active voice for this verb would simply be “developed.” By changing your wording you will increase the readability of your resume and better appeal to the reader.
100 Power Verbs Recruiters Love to See
Expert tip: Use industry-specific verbs to show that you are capable and have truly relevant experience.
“When hiring a staff attorney I want to see ‘proofread’ or ‘shepardized’ law cases. The less superficial the action verb, the more confident I become that the person is the real deal and won’t need a lot of training on the job.”
David Reischer, Esq., Hiring Partner at LegalAdvice.com
Examples of Industry-Specific Action Verbs
People management verbs
Expert tip: Avoid generic verbs like “led” or “managed” and opt instead for words that provide insight into your management style and achievements.
Courtney Keene, Director of Operations, MyRoofingPal
People Management Action Verbs
Expert tip: Highlight your abilities to conceptualize and craft with creation verbs.
“When talking about a project, the word ‘created’ is more inspiring than simply saying you developed an idea. ‘Created’ suggests more original thinking and the ability to come up with innovative and unusual ideas.”
Sue Andrews, HR & Business Consultant at KIS Finance
Creation Action Verbs
Expert tip: Use action verbs that communicate your ability to collaborate.
“Words like ‘collaborated’ show potential employers how well you are able to work with others.”
Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation.com
Teamwork Action Verbs
Expert tip: Communicate your willingness and ability to implement projects with worker verbs. While management and leadership are commonly desired abilities, hiring managers also want to know you’re willing to get your hands dirty.
“The word ‘implement’ means the candidate did the work themselves rather than just directing another who is more skilled to do it, making them a more attractive candidate in my eyes.”
Stacy Caprio, Founder at Accelerated Growth Marketing
Worker Action Verbs
Expert tip: Use success-related verbs to show that you set and achieve your goals.
“Keywords like ‘improved’ or ‘achieved’ are important to me because it shows that you are always trying to get better no matter what position you have.”
Bobby Bodette, Operations Recruiter at CRH Americas
Goal Achievement Action Verbs
Action words can transform your resume. Remember to be specific, use fresh words, and avoid the passive voice when writing about your experience. To optimize the rest of your resume keywords, try Jobscan for free below.
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