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.
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:
- 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.
Here are 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.