If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your resume, try using more resume action words.
According to one study, resume action words can increase your chances of getting an interview by 140%.
Action words are verbs that convey doing. For example, “He collaborated with the marketing team,” or “She fostered better community relations.”
Action verbs are effective on resumes because they immediately grab the reader’s attention and paint a clear, concise picture of what you, the job seeker, are capable of.
To help you spice up your resume with action verbs, we’ve put together a list of more than 500 of the ones recruiters love to see the most.
Using these words on your resume is a great way to get more job interviews!
Table of Contents
- 4 tips for using action verbs on your resume
- 500 power action verbs recruiters love to see
4 tips for using action verbs on your resume
Action verbs are one of the most important elements of a strong resume, but they can sometimes be tricky to use. Here are three tips for using action verbs effectively:
1) Avoid overused action verbs
Chances are your resume already includes some action verbs. But are you choosing the most compelling words?
While some action verbs pack a punch, others are so familiar to recruiters that their eyes may skim right over them.
Overused action verbs include:
- Worked with
- Responsible for
If you find these overused action words on your resume, try switching them out with something from the action verbs list below.
Read the full guide: 500 Synonyms for Common Resume Power Verbs
2) Be as specific as possible
Being specific is the best way to paint a clear picture of what you’ve accomplished in your past work experience.
One way to be specific is to use numbers. Another way is to use action verbs. Using both numbers and action verbs together is even more powerful.
Take a look at the three examples below and see how each example 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.
Read the full guide: Resume Words: Keywords, Adjectives, Skills, and Power Verbs
3) Avoid writing in the passive voice
We often use the passive voice unconsciously and it can sometimes be challenging to detect.
In passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. For example, “The ball was hit by the batter.” In active voice, the subject performs the verb. For example, “The batter hit the ball.”
Active voice is more concise, clear, and direct. Passive voice, meanwhile, often leaves readers confused about who is doing what. Ultimately, active voice is just more interesting to read.
One simple way to tell if you are using active voice or passive voice on your resume is to see if your verbs contain one word or two.
For example, the verb “was 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.”
You can also easily check to see if your resume is using the passive voice with a free online tool called HemingwayApp. Just paste your resume into the app and it will highlight where you used passive voice.
4) Use industry-specific verbs
It’s important to use language that is specific to the industry you’re applying to.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in the financial industry, using verbs like “invested,” “audited,” or “calculated” will quickly show employers that you have the relevant skills, experience, and knowledge that they are looking for.
“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
500 power action verbs recruiters love to see
We asked recruiters and hiring managers which action verbs impact them the most during the recruiting and hiring process.
Here is a list of their favorite 500 action words, organized by category. We’ve also included some expert tips to help guide you in choosing the best action words for resume optimization.
NOTE: No matter what kind of action verb you choose, make sure that it is relevant to the job you are applying for and that it accurately reflects your skills and experiences.
- Management and Leadership Action Verbs
- Creative Action Verbs
- Worker Action Verbs
- Teamwork Action Verbs
- Communication Action Verbs
- Goal Achievement Action Verbs
- Research/Analysis Action Verbs
- Accounting/Finance Action Verbs
- Technical Action Verbs
- Teacher/Training Action Verbs
Management and Leadership Action Verbs
Use the following verbs to show that you have the ability to lead and manage effectively.
Try to 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
Creative Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to highlight your ability to conceptualize and create.
“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
Worker Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to communicate your willingness and ability to implement projects.
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
Teamwork Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to highlight your ability to collaborate and work well with others.
“Words like ‘collaborated’ show potential employers how well you are able to work with others.”Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation.com
- Teamed (up)
Communication Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to show that you can effectively communicate with colleagues, clients, or the public.
Goal Achievement Action Verbs
Use the following success-related action 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
Research/Analysis Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to show that you can identify a problem, gather information about it, and come up with a solution.
Accounting/Finance Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to show that you have experience working with and understanding numerical data.
Technical Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs if you are pursuing a career in the tech industry.
Teacher/Training Action Verbs
Use the following action verbs to show your experience working with students in some capacity, helping them learn new information or skills.
- Set goals
What are action verbs and how can you use them on your resume?
Action verbs describe physical or mental actions. Examples of common action verbs include “run,” “jump,” “think,” and “read.”
Action verbs can really spice up your resume and make it more interesting to read. They can also help potential employers see the value in what you can bring to their company.
On your resume, use action verbs to describe your accomplishments rather than simply listing your job duties.
For example, if you’re a salesperson, you might use verbs like “negotiated,” “sold,” or “closed.” If you’re in customer service, you might use verbs like “assisted,” “resolved,” or “helped.”
Why should you use resume action verbs?
Resume action verbs help grab and hold the reader’s attention. This is important because hiring managers only spend six to seven seconds looking at each resume, on average.
Using action verbs on your resume will paint a clear and convincing picture of your work experience. They enable potential employers to visualize not only what you did, but how you did it, and how your accomplishments benefited the company.
Finally, action verbs convey a sense of enthusiasm and energy. This is important because employers want to see that you’re excited about the job and willing to put in the work.
How to list strong action verbs on your resume
Action verbs convey your skills and accomplishments in a way that is both clear and concise, and they can really help you stand out from the competition.
But how do you list action verbs on your resume? Here are a few tips:
- First, make a list of all of your relevant skills and accomplishments.
- Next, take a look at that list and identify the most powerful verbs that accurately describe what you did. (If you need help, choose from our list of 500 action verbs for resume optimization above).
- Once you have your verbs picked out, use them throughout your resume, including in your job titles, descriptions, and bullet points.
- Use action verbs in the present tense when describing current roles, and past tense for previous positions.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your resume packs a punch and gets noticed by employers!
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