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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 2023
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.
The BalanceResume 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 2023.
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 (06/2023 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 06/2023)
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 2023.)
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.
Why is this resume action words list the last you’ll ever need?
Get a stopwatch.
Time yourself finding the perfect resume words in this list.
Then do the same with other online lists of resume verbs.
This one’s ten times faster.
It’s organized by category. The resume action words you need pop out like turkey timers.
This article will show you:
250+ resume action words, listed by resume keywords.
Easy alternatives to hard working synonyms, management synonyms, and more.
Great lists of other resume buzzwords and resume adjectives.
The best team player synonyms and improved action verbs for resumes.
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We’ve added resume action words lists for create, problem solving, lead, responsible for, communication, and research.1. Resume Action Words That Stop the Yawns
Why use resume verbs?
Then you see Raven Black ’67 Mustang Fastback with Windsor V8 and red leather interior.
Resume action words can make your job search shine like that.Resume Action Words Lists For:
Need resume buzzwords, resume adjectives, or resume keywords?
These resume words can give a facelift to your job search:Resume Buzzwords and Resume Adjectives
Expert Hint: Variety is key with resume action words. Use each of the verbs for resumes only once per document.2. How to Use Resume Action Words
I already know how to use resume action words. Wrong.
The best resume verbs don’t say you’re:
They show it.
These resume action words samples lay it bare:Resume action verbs-Examples Software engineer with 6+ years of experience. Directed team that received 2023 Bossie Award for cloud computing. Collaborated with cross-functional teams to raise customer retention 28%. Invented new security protocols that slashed breaches 73%. Hard-working software engineer with excellent management skills. Strong team-player and extremely creative developer.
Both those resume action verbs examples say the same thing. The second uses powerful words and says it 10x better.What Is an Action Verb?
An action verb is a word that shows achievement. Why will it help your resume? Because it links to an accomplishment the boss will love.Why Should Action Verbs Be Used in Writing Resumes?
Use action verbs when writing resumes to show you can perform.
Anyone can use hard-working synonyms or team player synonyms. But that won’t get you hired.
Using resume action words to show you raised revenue X%, slashed costs $X, or saved X hours a year.
Here’s a list of most telling synonyms to most worn-out resume words along with less obvious alternatives:3. Worked On (or Hard Working)
I’m hard working.
Says every applicant who didn’t get the job.
Don’t use hard-working synonyms.
Use resume action words that show results.
Say what percent, how much, how many.
Then you won’t need another word for worked.
The resume words below will help you say it right.
5. Engaged In
9. Put Together
10. Set Up
Less obvious but harder to use:
Compiled, Constructed, Composed, Fashioned, Forged, Made Progress On, Made, Perfected, Pursued, Undertook.
Expert Hint: Why do the resume verbs above get jobs? Because they show specifics about how your work helped your employer.4. Management
Don’t say, I managed…
Don’t use management synonyms.
Instead, say what you managed.
Use action verbs for resumes that prove success with numbers.
These managerial action words for resumes will help:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Aligned, Cultivated, Fostered, Hired, Mobilized, Motivated, Regulated, Recruited, Shaped, United.
Expert Hint: Are you a great manager? Use one of the great resume action words above to list accomplishments that show how great.5. Alternatives to Resume Buzzwords
Here’s a tip:
Don’t use resume buzz words.
Use resume action words instead.
Here are the resume buzzwords hiring managers can’t stand. That’s according to a CareerBuilder survey of 2000+ employers.
They all say, “I’m great,” but don’t give evidence.6. Create
So you’re creative?
Don’t say it.
Saying you’re creative is like saying you’re handsome.
Don’t struggle to find another word for create.
Instead, show what you created and let the boss judge.
These action verbs for resumes will do it for you:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Animated, Conceived, Devised, Enlivened, Fashioned, Imagined, Improvised, Innovated, Photographed, Pioneered.
Expert Hint: Any of the resume action words above let you add proof. Just use the word to start a sentence, then add numbers.7. Team Player
I’m a team player. Really?
Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture.
Show proof with resume action words, and you won’t need team player synonyms.
Let these resume words start you off:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Assimilated, Acknowledged, Blended, Coalesced, Diversified, Embraced, Harmonized, Ignited, Melded, Volunteered.
Expert Hint: Resume verbs work great, but don’t overdo it. Use no more than one of the action verbs per bullet point.8. Resume Adjectives vs Verbs for Resumes
I’ll be blunt.
Resume adjectives won’t get the job.
They say, “I work hard! I’m enthusiastic! I’m smart!” (And I deserve respect!)
Avoid resume adjectives like raw uranium.
Use verbs for resumes that prove you’re all those things.
Expert Hint: You can use one adjective per resume. Put it at the beginning of your summary. Then prove it with action verbs for resumes throughout.9. Improved
Did you nail your numbers? Surpass your targets?
Say that on your resume and employers will take note.
But improved gets tired fast.
Don’t hunt for another word for improved.
Instead, show what you improved with these resume words:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Converted, Integrated, Lifted, Overhauled, Remodeled, Refined, Restructured, Revamped, Strengthened, Streamlined.
Expert Hint: When you use action words for resumes to show achievements, do it right. Pick accomplishments that fit the job offer’s requirements.10. Problem Solving
Are you a problem solver?
Then solve the problem of how to say that on a resume.
Use resume action words that show what you have solved.
You don’t need problem solving synonyms.
You need these resume verbs instead:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Altered,Determined, Designed, Devised, Fashioned, Initiated, Overhauled, Piloted, Patched, Pioneered.
Expert Hint: Start a bullet point with any of the resume action verbs above. Then say what you built, fixed, or patched. Say how many, how often, and how much. Then you won’t need problem-solving synonyms.
The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.11. Lead
Leadership isn’t about words.
So-show that with action verbs for resumes.
Show what you led. How many, and what they did.
Then you don’t need a synonym for lead or another word for led.
Check the resume words list below.
Less obvious but harder to use:
Cutivated, Chaired, Fostered, Facilitated, Hosted, Inspired, Mobilized, Operated, Orchestrated, Spearheaded.
Expert Hint: Don’t use resume action words if you don’t understand them. Used wrong, powerful words are a red flag for incompetence.12. Responsible For
Don’t put “responsible for” on a resume.
Don’t use another word for responsible for either.
Remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?
Show success instead with strong resume words.
10. Succeeded In
Less obvious but harder to use:
Accomplished, Acquired, Acted As, Forged, Navigated, Partnered, Prepared, Performed, Secured, Undertook.
Expert Hint: Using common resume verbs won’t kill your chances. But-use strong action verbs whenever you can.13. Achieve
You’re barking up the right tree.
Saying you achieved things in your resume will get respect.
But you can’t repeat that word 20 times.
And even using another word for achieved won’t help.
To get interviewed, show what you achieved.
Use these resume action words to show accomplishments and get the job.
Less obvious but harder to use:
Accelerated, Advanced, Amplified, Enacted, Enhanced, Expedited, Lifted, Outpaced, Produced, Stimulated.
Expert Hint: The resume words above all let you list what you achieved. Tack on metrics with numbers to make the hiring manager’s hair stand up.14. Communication
How many times can you say communicated on a resume?
And please don’t say, “I’m a good communicator.”
Show what you communicated, with %, $, and other metrics.
These action verbs for resumes can help:Top 10 Resume Words for Communication:
Less obvious but harder to use:
Authored, Composed, Corresponded, Fielded, Influenced, Illustrated, Moderated, Mediated, Promoted, Publicized.
Expert Hint: Use the resume action words above to show what you communicated. Then say what positive effect it had on the company.15. Research
Are you a “highly skilled researcher?”
Show, don’t tell.
Did your research save $25,000 or 30 employee hours?
Use the resume verbs below to say that.
Less obvious but harder to use:
Assessed, Calculated, Inspected, Investigated, Measured, Mapped, Probed, Quantified, Studied, Tracked.
Expert Hint: Resume keywords aren’t the same as action words for resumes. They’re job-specific words like product strategy or vendor management. You’ll find them in the job ad.
Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOWKey Points
To sum up resume action words:
Resume action words show achievements. They don’t just say you did something. They show numbers that prove you rocked it.
Don’t rely on resume adjectives like hard-working synonyms. Instead, use resume verbs that link to your accomplishments.
Shun resume buzzwords like or . Show what you did well with action verbs for resumes. Then let the employer decide.
Pair resume action verbs with metrics. Did you raise revenue or save time or money? Say how much with good resume verbs to get the job.
Resume writing isn’t for the weak. Pack a big punch with these dynamic words.
Caroline Zaayer Kaufman, Monster contributor
Your resume isn’t a place for modesty; it’s a chance to show companies all the awesome things you’ve done-and what you can do for them if given a chance. Take the opportunity to liven things up a bit. Weak, vague or overused verbs can actually diminish the excellent work you did at your last job, so choose action verbs that more accurately reflect what you do.
“It’s critical to choose active, industry-appropriate action verbs,” says Linda Hollenback, a brand and career strategist who owns Philadelphia-based Hollenback Consulting. “Well-chosen lead action words make the difference between highlighting your skills and undermining your contribution.”
To help your credentials pack the maximum punch, Monster created a list of strong action verbs to make your resume more powerful.Action verbs for communication skills
Instead of: talked, led, presented, organizedUse: addressed, corresponded, persuaded, publicized, reconciled
You can present data and lead meetings all day long, but does that mean you actually got your point across to an audience? Simply saying that you talked to other people doesn’t prove that you achieved your goals.
Stir the interest of a hiring manager by using words that have a bit more personality than the usual suspects. That might encourage him or her to want to meet you in person.
For example, instead of saying you “organized” an off-site meeting, say you “orchestrated” an off-site meeting. And instead of “leading” the meeting, perhaps you “chaired” the meeting.
“‘Persuaded’ is another great verb to use,” says Christina Austin, founder of New York City-based ExecBrands, a career-branding firm, “as it highlights a candidate’s ability to influence others.”
More precise words can also add a touch of formality to your actions, she says. Words like “addressed” or “corresponded” can carry more weight than a generic “wrote” or “spoke.”Action verbs for organizational skills
Instead of: organized, ordered, filedUse: catalogued, executed, monitored, operated
Did you organize a project, then walk away? Probably not, so choose action verbs that express how you organized and followed through with a project to completion. For example, “executed” says that you saw it through to the end.
“By focusing on the task rather than the purpose or significance of the task to the organization, a job seeker may limit the perceived value of his or her experience,” Hollenback says. Instead of “filed account paperwork,” she suggests something more descriptive of your purpose, such as “monitored client accounts.”Action verbs for management skills
Instead of: led, handled, oversawUse: consolidated, appointed, delegated, established
Leadership experience is excellent for a resume. However, just saying you “led” a team is not nearly as powerful as saying you “established” a team, which indicates you took the lead to create something new.
“A word like ‘oversaw’ hints that someone is supervising work on a high level, but not necessarily participating in a project actively,” says Andy Chan, co-founder of Prime Opt, a Seattle-based career-coaching center. Pick words that reflect the true nature of your contribution. For example, “Established a nine-member productivity team and delegated operational tasks to three junior managers.”
Each of these verb choices combines to give the hiring manager or recruiter an impression of your work style-just be sure to avoid repeats. “Multiple repetitions of an action word reduces the word’s impact and makes for a boring read,” Hollenback says.Give your resume superpowers
OK, OK, so there’s no such thing as superpowers, no matter how impressive your action verbs are. However, there is such a thing as a resume that fails to live up to its full potential-which will, in turn, fail to produce job interviews for you. Could you use some help getting your resume in job-search shape? G et a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression. Take action today.
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 AvoidWhy 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.Pro Tip
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:Incorrect Examples:
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 AdjectivesHow 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:
44. ChairedResume 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 SkillsThe 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
322. StructuredPower 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: Key Takeaways
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?
Some recruiters must read through hundreds of resumes, and so you have a limited amount of time to catch their attention. When writing a resume, it’s important to avoid weak and passive verbs, stay away from business jargon or clichés, and watch out for tired words and phrases. These faulty word choices can undermine the strength and effectiveness of your resume. Instead, make a point of using powerful action verbs and avoid overusing the same verbs (such as ” assisted,” ” oversaw” and ” utilized “).
Resume Format1. Name and contact information2. Summary or objective3. Professional historya. Company nameb. Dates of tenurec. Description of role and achievement4. Education5. Skills6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)
What are action verbs?
Action verbs are words that express an action. In a resume, action verbs are used to highlight your skills, experience and accomplishments. They are specific, clarify your contributions and bring a confident tone to your resume. Using action verbs that are unique and powerful can increase your chances of capturing the attention of an employer and moving to the next step in the hiring process. Here’s an example:
Lacks strength and clarity: “Held weekly status meetings to share client updates.”
Empowered and detailed: “Spearheaded weekly status meetings to communicate agency revenue growth.”
Can you see how the second option is stronger and more detailed? The action verbs make your contribution clear and impactful.
Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
Pro tip: Combine your selection of action verbs with quantifiable results to show both what you did and the effect it had. For example, “Championed use of user feedback in program improvements, resulting in 50% boost in customer satisfaction ratings.”
Resume action verbs
Below, you will find several action verbs grouped by impact type so you can select the most relevant words for your resume.
Action verbs to showcase accomplishments:
Action verbs to explain responsibilities:
Action verbs to express communication skills:
Action verbs for creative experience:
Related: Here’s Everything You Should Include on a Resume
Action verbs for sales experience:
Action verbs for leadership and management:
Action verbs for experience with finance:
Action verbs for technical experience:
Related: Create an Indeed Resume to easily apply to jobs
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