How to use resume action words and action verbs

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.  

resume action words list

How to Use Action Verbs on Your Resume

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: 

  • Participated
  • Managed 
  • Assisted 
  • Took (part) 

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

AcceleratedFormalized
AdvocatedGenerated
AmplifiedInvestigated
AuthoredMentored
CentralizedMobilized
ChartedNegotiated
CounseledOutpaced
CritiquedOutperformed
CultivatedPioneered
DevisedPublicized
DispatchedRemodeled
EnabledSpearheaded
EngineeredTransformed
ExpeditedUndertook
ForecastedUnited

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. 

Take a look at these three examples below and pay attention to how each advancing iteration becomes more detailed, specific, and compelling.

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 thesaurus.com 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

We asked recruiters and hiring managers which action verbs impact them most when reading resumes. We boiled down their advice to 6 expert tips and 100 power verbs. Here’s what they told us. 

Industry-specific verbs

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

PublishedDefended
CodedProofread
ProgrammedTranscribed

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.

“You need to think about how you approached that facet of your job and how you felt about it, then choose appropriate words. For example, the action verb ‘advocate’ evokes a sense of someone who’s willing to passionately support their reports through their career growth, and that’s the kind of energy I want to see.”

Courtney Keene, Director of Operations, MyRoofingPal

People Management Action Verbs

AdvocatedInspired
CoachedInstructed
CounseledMentored
CultivatedMotivated
DirectedOversaw
EducatedShaped
EnabledSupervised
FosteredSupported
GroomedTaught
GuidedTrained

Creation 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

AuthoredEngineered
BuiltEstablished
ComposedForged
ConceivedFormulated
ConceivedFounded
ConceptualizedInitiated
ConstructedInvented
CraftedOriginated
DesignedOutlined
DevisedProduced

Teamwork 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

BlendedJoined
Co-authoredMarried
CollaboratedMerged
CooperatedPartnered
CoproducedTeamed (up)
ForgedUnited
GatheredWove

Worker 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

ActualizedAccomplished
ImplementedAdministered
PerformedOperated
ExecutedCompleted
RealizedDeveloped
EnforcedPrepared
FulfilledOrganized

Goal-oriented 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

AccomplishedExpedited
AcceleratedGenerated
AchievedGrew
AdvancedImproved
AmplifiedLifted
BoostedManaged
CompletedMaximized
ConvertedOutpaced
CreatedProduced
DeliveredRaised
EnactedReached
EnhancedSaved
ExpandedStimulated

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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