Supercharge your dry, dull resume with some of these powerful resume action words!

No matter how qualified you are for a position, chances are that there will always be rival candidates with equal - or even superior - qualifications. To compete with those candidates, your resume will need to deliver a compelling message that can convince hiring managers that you're the right person for the job. One of the most important things you can do to convey that message is to make sure that you're using powerful resume action words to highlight your experiences, skills, and achievements.

In this post, we'll explain what resume action words are, examine why they're important, and explore some tips that can help you to use them in your own resume. We'll also offer more than 100 examples of attention-grabbing resume power words that can help your resume to make the right impression on hiring managers.

What are action words for a resume?

You might be wondering what we mean by the term action words. In this instance, we're focusing on verbs that emphasize an action in a way that many common verbs can't. While all verbs technically convey some form of action or a state of being, they're not all created equal when it comes to delivering a compelling narrative. Resume action words need to do more than simply inform; they should help you to paint a convincing picture of your accomplishments.

For our purposes, then, resume action words need to be specific and clear, so that they can help your resume to present a more confident message. To that end, it's important to choose strong words for your resume that can help you to illustrate your achievements more effectively.

For example, if you're one of those job seekers whose work experience section includes bullet point explanations of your job duties in each role, you may have used the phrase, “responsible for” to describe your responsibilities:

  • Responsible for leading team meetings to present ideas

That's a very dry and boring bit of information, isn't it? Worse, it provides little to no information about how your duties and actions achieved anything of value. But what if we added some resume action words to that simple sentence to create a more compelling and informative bullet point?

  • Facilitated weekly team meetings to brainstorm new ideas to enhance revenue and client growth by 20%

Just the addition of a few key power words helps to create a more interesting and dynamic accomplishment. In this instance, by adding words like facilitated, brainstorm, and enhance to the sentence, you communicate additional value-based information for prospective employers. Of course, we also added a number to help quantify the accomplishment.

Obviously, that second sentence is going to draw more positive attention from hiring managers than the dull original offering. And that added attention will help to ensure that employers recognize the type of value that your actions can deliver for their companies - leading to an increased chance of interviews and job offers!

Why is it important to use strong resume words?

There are several important reasons to use powerful verbs in your resume, that we should examine in more detail. If you're used to creating resumes that simply and methodically list your skills, experiences, and achievements, then you may not have had an opportunity to consider how a more dynamic presentation can benefit your job search. Let's take a few moments to review those benefits:

  • Resume action words can be a terrific way to deliver more information to employers. Many of the most overused resume words - like led, managed, and responsible for, don't really provide the kind of information that hiring managers need to see to determine whether you're worthy of an interview. While they provide basic details, they offer no insight into how you achieved your goals.

  • Strong action words for your resume can help to ensure that your candidacy stands out from the competition. This is essential when there are dozens or even hundreds of other resumes that employers need to review. Strong, descriptive language can help you to tell the kind of story hiring managers want to read.

  • Used in conjunction with keywords drawn from the job posting, these power words can be an invaluable asset when you're trying to get your resume past applicant tracking systems - or ATS - that companies use to screen candidates.

Tips for using action words on your resume

Naturally, you won't benefit much if you just start indiscriminately tossing power words into your resume. Like every other aspect of resume creation, the selection of strong resume action words needs to be done consciously and with purpose. To help you do that, we've compiled some key tips that you should consider as you decide which action words to use on your resume.

Choose resume action words carefully

Make sure that you align the action words that you use with the job you're seeking. To do this effectively, you'll need to examine the job posting to see which core skills and experiences the employer considers to be key qualifications. Once you've identified those qualifications, you should:

  • Identify skills and achievements that match those qualifications

  • Choose power verbs that can help you to effectively illustrate those achievements

Attach quantifiable results to your achievements

Finding the right resume action words is only half the battle, though. You also need to ensure that the verbs you choose can help you as you quantify your results. That's why words like managed often fall flat when they're used in resume achievements. They're not sufficiently action-oriented to support a quantifiable result.

When you're creating those achievement bullet points and adding measurable results, always remember to use real numbers. For example, you could write that you “coordinated an interdepartmental sales campaign that boosted company sales by 32% in one month.” Focus on achievements that involve money or time savings, revenue increases, market share growth, morale boosts, retention improvements, and productivity or efficiency enhancements.

Avoid words that could be viewed as subjective

While you shouldn't be afraid to highlight your skills and achievements, you also need to make sure that you do so using objective language. Try to avoid bragging about how awesome you are or how impressive certain skills are. Instead, use great resume action words to illustrate your awesomeness with compelling descriptions of your achievements.

Don't overuse these powerful verbs

Finally, remember to use these words in moderation. While it might be tempting to litter your resume with all the resume action words that we present below, you need to resist that urge. If you overdo it, your entire resume will become nothing more than an obvious attempt to oversell your qualifications. Good hiring managers will recognize the hype and may just toss your resume to the side.

Instead, take a more measured approach and follow these simple rules for using action words:

  • Don't be afraid to throw a few less powerful verbs into some of your less impressive achievements, to ensure that your most dynamic results really stand out

  • Try to use a mix of different action words to avoid any repetition

  • Don't forget to add some resume action words to your summary paragraph, too

  • When you're considering two or more action words, choose the one that offers the most information about your activities and provides the best alignment with your quantifying information

100+ resume action words you can use in your resume

And now for the main event: our list of more than one hundred resume action words that you can include in your resume to deliver a more compelling message about your qualifications. To help you select the best options for your resume, we've separated them into various skill and achievement categories.

Resume action words to describe your leadership

Below are some of our favorite action words for a resume that needs to emphasize leadership ability. These verbs can help you to better communicate your accomplishments as a leader.

  • Initiated

  • Coordinated

  • Developed

  • Spearheaded

  • Orchestrated

  • Advised

  • Directed

  • Implemented

  • Supervised

  • Shaped

Resume action words to describe your collaborative and teamwork skills

Next, we have our list of action words that can be used to describe teamwork or collaborative skills and achievements.

  • Cooperated

  • Collaborated

  • Enabled

  • Facilitated

  • Supported

  • Fostered

  • Encouraged

  • Inspired

  • Guided

  • Motivated

Resume action words to describe your analytical accomplishments

If you need to highlight achievements and experiences involving analytical skills, this list of action words may be just the thing you need to create a more persuasive resume.

  • Discovered

  • Detected

  • Studied

  • Evaluated

  • Experimented

  • Measured

  • Tracked

  • Surveyed

  • Quantified

  • Tested

Resume action words to describe your innovation abilities

Creativity and the ability to innovate are skills that are in great demand these days. We've selected the following list of resume action words with one goal in mind: to help you display and illustrate your innovative achievements and skills.

  • Devised

  • Drafted

  • Conceptualized

  • Designed

  • Initiated

  • Originated

  • Introduced

  • Created

  • Customized

  • Modernized

Resume action words to describe the value you've provided

To describe the real value that you've provided for past employers, you need great action verbs that help to illustrate those benefits. Below is our list of value-related resume action words that you can use to add more punch to any statement that's designed to quantify your results.

  • Accelerated

  • Amplified

  • Boosted

  • Conserved

  • Consolidated

  • Enhanced

  • Expedited

  • Maximized

  • Generated

  • Stimulated

Resume action words to describe problem-solving

Today's employers place a high priority on candidates who can help them solve problems. To highlight those achievements and skills, however, you need to select action words that help to describe your problem-solving techniques and abilities.

  • Analyzed

  • Calculated

  • Regulated

  • Standardized

  • Maintained

  • Reconciled

  • Rectified

  • Diagnosed

  • Verified

  • Estimated

Resume action words to describe your communication

Instead of using the word “communicated” to describe your communication, you might want to select from this list of alternative action words for a resume:

  • Conveyed

  • Documented

  • Presented

  • Briefed

  • Composed

  • Instructed

  • Promoted

  • Trained

  • Interpreted

  • Advocated

Resume action words to describe your ability to bring change

The right action words can be invaluable when you're trying to depict yourself as an agent of positive change. For example:

  • Reorganized

  • Refocused

  • Simplified

  • Transformed

  • Refined

  • Centralized

  • Modified

  • Clarified

  • Converted

  • Restructured

Resume action words to describe your finance achievements

Below are some finance-related resume action words that can help to create a more professional resume achievement listing.

  • Adjusted

  • Appraised

  • Balanced

  • Budgeted

  • Forecast

  • Netted

  • Projected

  • Researched

  • Assessed

  • Estimated

Resume action words to describe technical achievements

It's sometimes helpful to use specific tech-related resume action words when you're noting achievements in a technical resume. Try some of the following options:

  • Debugged

  • Networked

  • Updated

  • Upgraded

  • Engineered

  • Constructed

  • Computed

  • Coded

  • Programmed

  • Operated

Resume action words to describe your sales contributions

There are many distinct aspects to successful sales activities. The list of sales achievement action words we've compiled below can be a fantastic way to help you describe those accomplishments.

  • Acquired

  • Sourced

  • Partnered (with)

  • Negotiated

  • Signed

  • Closed

  • Secured

  • Forged

  • Pitched

  • Upsold

Resume action words to describe your customer service

If you need to describe your client or customer service abilities and achievements, then some of the action words listed below may be just what you need.

  • Informed

  • Educated

  • Investigated

  • Advocated

  • Advised

  • Fielded

  • Resolved

  • Assisted

  • Helped

  • Championed

Resume action words to describe your goal achievements

You'll also need a variety of action words to describe the ways in which you have achieved specific goals. For example:

  • Accelerated

  • Attained

  • Delivered

  • Drove

  • Exceeded

  • Outperformed

  • Surpassed

  • Expanded

  • Raised

  • Strengthened

Use resume action words for a more powerful message

The bottom line is simple: one of the easiest ways to create a more compelling message in your resume is to incorporate strong verbs that help to illustrate your achievements and qualifications. By learning how to effectively use resume action words to enhance your narrative, you can earn the attention you need to land more interviews and job offers.

Still not sure how to incorporate resume action words into your job search effort? Get a free resume review from the experts at TopResume today!

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