Table of Contents
- What are Action Verbs? Why are they Important?
- How and Where to Use Action Verbs on a Resume (With Examples)
- Resume Action Verb List and Examples
- Seek Professional Resume Writing Assistance
In the competitive world of job searching, every word on your resume counts. Action verbs, in particular, have the power to elevate the quality of your resume. A TLNT 2019 study revealed that by strategically using action verbs in your resume you can increase your chances of landing an interview by 140%. In this detailed guide, we will explore what are action verbs, how you can use them in your resume, and what mistakes to avoid. So, let’s get started!
What are Action Verbs? Why are they Important?
Action verbs, often referred to as “power words” or “performance verbs” are dynamic words that are used to describe activities or tasks. Unlike generic verbs, action verbs vividly illustrate what you have achieved. They paint an image of your skills and competencies, bringing your resume to life.
Instead of merely mentioning your responsibilities, action verbs showcase your achievements and the proactive steps you took. For example, instead of saying you “undertook responsibility for a team”, an action verb could specify that you “spearheaded” or “led” a team. This distinction emphasizes not only your role but also your active involvement and leadership. Essentially, they help the employers see better the value you can bring to the table.
How and Where to Use Action Verbs on a Resume (With Examples)
How to Incorporate Action Verbs in Your Resume?
1) Start with a Strong Verb: Begin your bullet points or sentences with a compelling action verb. For instance, instead of saying “I was responsible for managing a team,” use “Managed a team of 10, driving a 20% increase in productivity.”
2) Be Specific: Choose verbs that precisely convey what you did. Did you lead a project or did you coordinate it? There’s a difference between “leading” and “coordinating,” and the right verb can provide a clearer picture of your role.
3) Vary Your Verbs: Avoid repetition. If you “led” a team in one role and “headed” a project in another, it showcases a range of your leadership skills.
4) Match the Verb to the Achievement: If you’re discussing a significant accomplishment, use a strong verb. For instance, “Spearheaded the digital transformation initiative, resulting in a 30% increase in online sales.”
5) Quantify When Possible: Action verbs paired with quantifiable results make your achievements more tangible. For example, “Elevated user experience, leading to a 15% decrease in customer complaints.”
6) Stay Relevant: Ensure the verbs you choose are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a leadership role, verbs like “led,” “managed,” or “directed” can be more impactful.
Where to include Action Verbs in your Resume?
a) Professional summary section
The professional summary section provides a concise snapshot of your career highlights and skills. It is strategically positioned at the top of your resume to capture the attention of hiring managers. It’s an excellent place to incorporate action verbs to set an impactful tone for the rest of the document. Ensure that the chosen verbs and achievements flow naturally within the sentence, avoiding any forced or awkward placements. Here is an example of a professional summary section in which we’ve highlighted the action verbs:
b) Work experience section
The work experience section is the heart of any resume. It chronicles your professional journey, detailing roles you’ve held, responsibilities you’ve undertaken, and the impact you’ve made. To make this section stand out, it is important to use action verbs. Start each resume bullet point with a dynamic action verb. This approach immediately conveys a sense of proactivity.
For your current role, use present tense action verbs (e.g., “Lead,” “Direct,” “Manage”). For past roles, switch to the past tense (e.g., “Led,” “Directed,” “Managed”). Here is an example of the work experience section with highlighted action verbs:
Common/Generic/Overused Action Verbs to Avoid on a Resume
While action verbs are essential to enhance your resume, it’s crucial to be aware of those that have become cliched or overused. These words can make your resume blend in rather than stand out. Here’s a list of some commonly overused action verbs and their more impactful alternatives:
Overused action verb
By opting for these alternatives, you can ensure that your resume remains fresh and distinctive. Remember, the goal is to capture the recruiter’s attention and convey your achievements in the most effective and impressive manner.
Resume Action Verb List and Examples
In this section, we have compiled a list of strong action verbs based on different tasks and responsibilities which you can include in your resume to make it more appealing. Scroll down and find the most appropriate ones as per your experiences and skill set:
1) Action Verbs that Showcase Planning
Planning is a crucial part of any experienced professional’s resume. This reflects your abilities to plan and strategize initiatives to fulfil organizational goals and guide day-to-day operations. Here are some impactful action verbs, along with examples, to highlight your planning skills:
- Devise– Devised go-to-market strategy and key milestones
- Engineer– Engineered an innovative AI-driven solution for digitizing technical literature
- Pioneer– Pioneered web-based projects from inception through post-launch
- Formulate– Formulated keyword and bidding strategies
- Design– Designed content strategy to align with SEO requirements
2) Action Verbs that Showcase Initiative
Taking the initiative in a project or role signifies proactivity, foresight, and the ability to identify and act upon opportunities. Action verbs that emphasize initiative can provide potential employers with a clear understanding of your proactive approach and your capacity to drive change. To enhance the impact of your resume, consider the following verbs and examples:
- Oversee– Oversaw the implementation of a new company-wide D&I initiative
- Orchestrate– Orchestrated the implementation of performance metrics for marketing campaigns
- Administer– Administered employee engagement initiatives
- Direct– Directed marketing campaigns in the EMEA region
- Spearhead– Spearheaded the Knowledge Management Center for the company
3) Action Verbs that Highlight Process Improvement
Improving existing processes saves employers resources, positively impacting their profitability. Thus, we recommend using words to highlight your ability to change an existing process for good. Let’s have a look at some keywords you can use to impress the hiring decision-makers:
- Streamline– Streamlined the company’s standard placement procedure
- Upgrade– Upgraded company’s predictive purchasing and inventory management tools
- Transform– Transformed workflow system of purchase orders
- Standardize– Standardized HR policies in accordance with the governing body
- Reengineer– Reengineered cloud computing software
4) Action Verbs that Emphasize Results
Employers are keen to understand the impact you made in your previous role. To demonstrate this, we strongly advise you to add quantifiable results to your resume bullets. Let’s have a look at some action verbs you can use to reflect these results.
- Outperform– Outperformed annual market growth rate by X%
- Exceed– Exceeded year-over-year sales target by Y%
- Promote– Promoted to Head of People Operations position within a year
- Surpass– Surpassed monthly target by Z%
- Earn– Earned the title of ‘Employee of the Month’ for 4 consecutive months
5) Action Verbs that Highlight Communication Skills
Communication skills are one of the most sought-after skills in a resume. We strongly recommend incorporating these to demonstrate your level of verbal and non-verbal communication. Let’s have a look at some alternate words that can be used to demonstrate strong communication skills.
- Public Speaking– Leveraged public speaking skills to represent the company in conferences
- Influence– Influenced customer buying decisions
- Negotiate– Negotiated contracts with clients
- Liaise– Liaise with agencies, creative directors, and photographers
- Advise– Advised marketing manager on social media initiatives
6) Action Verbs that Highlight Organization Skills
Organizational skills are your abilities to create structure and order, enhancing productivity. These demonstrate efficient management of time, resources, and workspace. Some action verbs that you can use are:
- Catalog– Cataloged products based on shipping criteria
- Monitor– Monitored fast-track launches of international projects
- Index– Indexed guest details at the annual conference
- Coordinate– Coordinated monthly staff events
- Schedule– Scheduled employee feedback meetings monthly
7) Action Verbs that Showcase Leadership Skills:
Leadership skills reflect your ability to take initiative and lead tasks, people, and organizations. As a mid-career professional, recruiters look for these qualities in your resume. Some action verbs that can be used to describe your leadership skills are:
- Coach– Coached team members for continuous improvement
- Drive – A professional with high agility to drive progress in a fast-paced environment
- Supervise– Supervised a team of 15 partners
- Shape– Shaped employee policies to incorporate D&I initiatives
- Cultivate– Cultivated a growth-driven culture
8) Action Verbs that Emphasize Teamwork Skills
Everybody wants a team player in their teams. Thus, hiring managers emphasize this skill and look for examples in their resumes. Some action verbs that you can use are:
- Involve– Involved in team-building exercises regularly
- Support– Supported the hiring manager in the decision-making process
- Mentor– Committed to empowering and mentoring teams to achieve goals
- Motivate– Achieved team buy-in by continually motivating team members
- Collaborate– Collaborated with cross-functional teams to guide them on technical aspects
9) Action Verbs that Demonstrate Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills allow you to detect, analyze, and resolve an issue. This skill helps recruiters understand how quickly and efficiently you would be able to overcome challenges. Action verbs that you can use are:
- Diagnose– Leveraged problem-solving skills to diagnose complex business issues
- Implement– Standardized and implemented operating models
- Overhaul– Overhauled marketing strategy to strengthen the market position
- Revived– Revived existing product pipelines, enhancing efficiency
- Alleviate– Alleviate risks of poor customer experience
10) Action Verbs that Showcase Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is your ability to identify, comprehend, and respond to emotions- yours and others. High emotional intelligence enhances quick conflict resolution and efficient decision-making. Some keywords that you can use to reflect a high emotional quotient are:
- Empathy– Empathic HR Manager with X+ years of experience
- Active listener– Equipped with strong listening skills to understand and address customer needs
- Self-aware– Use reflection and self-awareness techniques to identify and address self-performance issues
- Growth mindset– A tenacious leader with a growth mindset, effectively able to…
- Relationship management– Able to forge solid relationships with strategic partners
11) Action Verbs that Highlight Research and Analysis:
Research and analysis are foundational skills for many professionals, indicating a keen ability to delve deep into topics, gather data, and draw insightful conclusions. These skills are particularly valued in roles that require a methodical approach to information gathering and decision-making. Action verbs that you can use to showcase your proficiency in research and analysis are:
- Analyze– Analyze market trends to forecast future product demand.
- Investigate– Investigated discrepancies in financial reports, identifying root causes.
- Examine– Examined user behaviour data to enhance website user experience.
- Interpret- Interpreted complex data sets to inform business strategy.
- Survey– Conducted surveys to gather customer feedback on new product features.
12) Action Verbs that Highlight Creativity and Innovation:
Creativity and innovation are indispensable skills in today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving professional landscape. They signify an individual’s ability to think outside the box, envision novel solutions, and bring fresh perspectives to traditional challenges. To showcase your creative and innovative skills on your resume, consider these verbs and examples:
- Conceptualize: Conceptualized and launched a unique marketing campaign that boosted brand visibility by 30%.
- Innovate: Innovated a new product line, addressing previously unmet customer needs.
- Design: Designed an award-winning mobile application interface, enhancing user engagement.
- Brainstorm: Led brainstorming sessions for a new product line.
Additional Action Verb List
In this section, we will list 30 additional action verbs for you to use in your resume, irrespective of your target jobs and industries.
6) Responsible for
- In charge of
Seek Professional Resume Writing Assistance
Crafting a resume that stands out in today’s saturated job market is no easy feat. While this guide offers insights into the power of action verbs, the nuances of crafting a compelling resume go beyond just word choice. At CareerHigher, we offer a tailored CV and Resume Writing Solution that addresses this pain point and more. Our team of experts not only ensures your resume is peppered with impactful verbs but also aligns it with industry best practices. We understand the challenges of impressing hiring managers and ensure that your resume captures their attention.