Presenting accomplishments on your resume in a compelling way can be challenging. There’s limited space and seemingly few opportunities to be creative or to separate yourself from others in your industry.
When recruiters read resumes, they see the same things over and over: inactive, common, or boring words. Using these words over powerful action words simply ensures that your resume loses its efficacy.
Why Use Action Verbs for Your Resume?
Action verbs are one of the most reliable ways to strengthen your resume and make an impact on whoever’s reading it. They can help you transform your resume from a basic list of responsibilities and accomplishments to a dynamic, powerful portrayal of your professional life.
Power Words > Weak Words
The common mistake is for people to fill their resumes with passive, weak phrases like “responsible for” and “assigned with”. But it shouldn’t be. These words take up space and don’t powerfully convey your achievements. You risk losing the interest of any recruiter or hiring manager reading the resume. Don’t forget - they may have already read dozens of very similar ones that same day. Luckily, there’s no shortage of strong action verbs you can use to strengthen and enhance the most important single document of your job application.
Swapping in Action Verbs to Showcase Your Skills and Experience
Strong action verbs can go a long way in painting a fuller picture of your accomplishments. They enhance the overall career story, add depth to your experience, and help you stand out in the crowd.
All Industries Can Benefit From Strong Action Verbs
Any resume can be full of action verbs, regardless of the type of work you do. Whether you’re a product manager, software engineer, marketing executive, painter, or hedge fund manager, your resume is more likely to resonate with a prospective employer if you take the time to use the right language.
Get Started on Your Resume Power Words
We’ve pulled together a list of compelling action verbs so you can get started on improving your resume. We’ve also broken it down so you can find the perfect word more easily. As you begin this process, we highly encourage you to sign up for Teal and use our free Resume Builder tool to create the best possible version of your resume. These power words have the potential to take your resume to the next level.
List of action verbs
Finding and choosing verbs for your resume, where space is limited, can be stressful, challenging and time-consuming. We organized several buckets of action verb ideas into general categories, depending on your line of work.
Supervised, organized, or led: these aren’t just for executives! It’s worth taking a look through this list of managerial action verbs if you’ve ever had specific responsibility over a project’s completion, other employees, or a third party.
- Authorized; coordinated; chaired; controlled; executed; headed; operated; orchestrated; organized; oversaw; planned; produced; programmed; supervised; managed; directed; facilitated; advised; arranged; augmented; centralized; championed; directed; empowered; enabled; endorsed; enforced; ensured; formalized; formed; founded; hired; identified; implemented; merged; mentored; optimized; predicted; refocused; replaced; reorganized; resolved; supervised; shaped; trained; sustained; revitalized
Created: these work great for when you were the mastermind behind something.
- Built; established; pioneered; founded; devised; created; designed; developed; founded; initiated; spearheaded; modeled; visualized; wrote; drafted; authored
Increased, changed, or improved something: you had a positive impact on something that needed your specific involvement/expertise.
- Maximized; expanded; delivered; accelerated; achieved; boosted; amplified; converted; customized; integrated; overhauled; revamped; simplified; standardized, transformed
Creative skills and experience: you can use these action verbs to strengthen your resume’s portrayal of your innovation, imagination, artistry, and more.
- Brainstormed; communicated; curated; customized; conceptualized; wrote; visualized; modeled; imagined; influenced; inspired; illustrated; edited; diagrammed; designed
Sales experience: these sales power words make your resume stand out and provide valuable specifics
- Accomplished; accelerated; convinced; constructed; cultivated; designed; developed; encouraged; exceeded; excelled; executed; facilitated; formed; generated; grew; initiated; launched; led; managed; negotiated; operated; promoted; presented; produced; pitched; recognized
Finance-related: these can be quite useful in the business world.
- Administered; audited; allocated; analyzed; appraised; balanced; billed; budgeted; calculated; computed; developed; earned; estimated; forecasted; grossed; managed; halted; investigated; secured; classified; collected; controlled; dispensed; lowered; minimized; maintained; secured
Technical experience: these action verbs are critical for experience and accomplishments that require a specific technical skill. You definitely want to be sure you’re leaning into those skills and making them come to life on your resume.
- Advanced; architected; automated; coded; deployed; detected; devised; diagnosed; discovered; engineered; enhanced; expedited; formulated; installed; launched; modified; networked; planned; programmed; remodeled; rewrote; refined; tested; updated; upgraded
Be Original. Get Creative
Don’t be afraid to play around with different versions of your resume. With an endless supply of verbs, creativity is your friend. In addition to our list, you may want to also consult a thesaurus. Or perhaps find examples of existing interesting resumes to get inspiration and ideas from.
Ultimately, you’ll probably know when your resume feels like the best portrayal of you. Then it’s time to start landing those interviews.