Guide & list of examples: The best action verbs for resume writing

January 08, 2023  •  Reading Time: 8 min.

Early in your job search, your resume is probably the best way to make an impression and to secure a job interview.

Therefore, it has to be perfectly neat and should convey your expertise and experience in a succinct and precise manner. For this purpose, you can use certain resume words to describe what responsibilities and tasks you have already accomplished or which projects you have managed.

⚠️ And this is the important part: In order to choose the most convincing phrases in your resume, you should avoid generic verbs at all costs. Make sure you only use resume “power words” that really make a difference.

Generic verbs? Power words? In case that doesn’t make too much sense for you yet, be sure to read on! We’ll go more into detail about what resume action verbs actually are, and also give you great examples you can work with and include in your own resume bullet points!

📝 Note: This information is also applicable to any cover letter, so keep it in mind when writing cover letters.

What are resume action verbs?

Verbs that express action are called action verbs. They are used to highlight talents, experiences, and accomplishments in a resume.

When writing your resume, you should therefore try to avoid passive verbs and rely on powerful action verbs. This is because an improper choice of words can detract from the strength and effectiveness of your resume.

💡 Tip: Refrain from overusing the same verbs as well.

Young job applicant writing resume at home while drinking coffee and petting her dog

Why is it so important to avoid generic verbs in a resume?

Some action verbs are genuine resume power verbs, while others are just dull and overused.

Because hiring managers are so accustomed to these generic verbs, they might actually pass them by. Generic action verbs that are overused include:

  • Assisted
  • Managed
  • Participated

The term “managed”, for example, certainly has its place on your resume, but a phrase like “Managed a team of … and …” is most likely just a rundown of your job duties. Instead, you can show what an inspiring leader you were by using compelling action verbs like:

  • Aligned
  • Guided
  • Enabled
  • Facilitated
  • Promoted
  • Mentored
  • Motivated
  • Supervised
  • Trained

To learn more about how to utilize action words in your resume, check out these examples:

Examples: Dos and don’ts for action words in a resume

🚫 Don’t say,

  • “Deployed a customer loyalty program to ensure that customers buy our products again.”

Although it may sound quite impressive, this statement provides the hiring manager with very little quantifiable information.

  • What sort of financial objectives did this candidate pursue?
  • What kinds of expenses have they been in charge of?

Instead, write something like this, for example:

✅ Write,

  • “Implemented a customer retention campaign to encourage customers to return to our services, resulting in an average 15% increase in revenue.”

📝 Note: This sentence does not only contain great power words (“implemented”, “encourage”, “resulting in”), but also shows how the applicant has made progress in their job.

Smiling businesswoman who knows how to showcase her work history on her resume

How can you choose appropriate action verbs for your own resume?

To find out which action verbs are most appropriate for your own resume, take a closer look at the job description!

If you need to highlight your research skills, for example, you obviously don’t have to use any customer service action verbs. However, in case you wish to emphasize your management skills or your abilities as a team leader, you can definitely utilize communication action verbs.

Also, be careful not to use clichés, so for example, if you want to prove that you are a team player, you can really make your resume stand out by not using the term “team player” at all, but instead paraphrasing it with appropriate resume action words.

Example: How to avoid certain “resume buzzwords”

Let’s take a closer look at the “team player” example before moving on to the best action words for a variety of skill sets.

📝 Note: The following action verbs are great for showing hiring managers that you are highly capable of working well with a team.

  • Acknowledged
  • Collaborated
  • Connected
  • Contributed
  • Encouraged
  • Energized
  • Gathered
  • Participated
  • Partnered
  • United

And this sentence could describe your skills as a team player without even mentioning the term once:

✅ Say,

  • “Contributed to building lasting client relationships through collaborating with co-workers, more than doubling the number of repeat customers in 2022.”
Person presenting his resume to the recruiter

100 examples of action verbs that will really make your resume stand out

Here are the best resume action words, listed based on when you would use them:

1. Achievement action verbs

Make use of these resume power verbs to highlight your accomplishments:

  • Achieve 
  • Earn 
  • Establish
  • Exceed 
  • Overcome
  • Raise
  • Reach
  • Realize
  • Transform 
  • Win

2. Communication action verbs

Use one of these resume verbs to demonstrate to employers that you have strong communication skills:

  • Consult
  • Convince
  • Discuss
  • Explain
  • Illustrate 
  • Listen
  • Network
  • Present
  • Share 
  • Specify

3. Improvement action verbs

Use the resume action verbs below to describe a time you made a workplace improvement:

  • Advance 
  • Expand 
  • Increase
  • Improve
  • Gain
  • Generate 
  • Grow
  • Maximize
  • Multiply 
  • Outperform

4. Initiative action verbs

Use one of these powerful verbs to highlight your initiative-driven efforts:

  • Commit
  • Deliver
  • Endeavor 
  • Engage 
  • Execute
  • Improve
  • Overhaul
  • Specialize
  • Treat 
  • Volunteer

5. Innovation action verbs

📝 Note: Did you know that innovation and creativity are among the most important soft skills nowadays?

Employ some of these action words to demonstrate that you can generate new concepts and impress potential employers:

  • Conceptualize 
  • Create
  • Design
  • Develop 
  • Formulate
  • Improvise 
  • Mastermind
  • Revolutionize
  • Spearhead 
  • Reveal
Team leader working with an international team and getting everyone on the same page

6. Leadership action verbs

Good team leaders are essential for any organization. On your resume, emphasize these talents with compelling action verbs:

  • Delegate
  • Designate
  • Educate
  • Enforce
  • Involve 
  • Lead
  • Mobilize
  • Orchestrate
  • Promote 
  • Train

7. Management action verbs

Your resume can do an excellent job of showing potential employers that you are ready for a management position by using the following action verbs:

  • Advise
  • Coordinate
  • Delegate 
  • Facilitate
  • Lead 
  • Manage
  • Mobilize 
  • Perform 
  • Steer
  • Supervise

8. Organization action verbs

On your resume, also make sure to use action verbs that are illustrative of what you can do to maintain organization:

  • Arrange
  • Assign
  • Classify 
  • Compile 
  • Integrate 
  • Merge
  • Organize
  • Reposition
  • Research
  • Split

9. Problem-solving action verbs

These are simply the best problem-solving power verbs for your resume:

  • Adapt
  • Change
  • Correct
  • Expand
  • Identify
  • Implement
  • Improve
  • Initiate
  • Overhaul
  • Solve

10. Teamwork action verbs

Use the teamwork active verbs below to demonstrate your capacity for cooperation and also your interpersonal skills:

  • Encourage
  • Energize
  • Facilitate
  • Harmonize
  • Inspire
  • Mediate
  • Provide
  • Strengthen
  • Support
  • Teach
Job applicant with laptop and notebook thinking about action verbs for his resume

Resume action verbs – conclusion & tips

In numerous resumes, hiring managers encounter the same words and phrases.

Among other resume buzzwords, “Responsible for …” and “Tasked with …” are two good examples here. Instead, to really stand out from other applicants, try highlighting your strengths with meaningful resume action verbs. This is because properly chosen action words are much more creative and powerful. This way, you can catch the hiring manager’s attention and paint a vivid picture of why you are the ideal candidate.

💡 More useful tips before you start writing your resume

  • Identify any passive words and turn them into action verbs.

It can be a little tricky to recognize when we are using the passive voice because we do it frequently and mostly unconsciously. However, checking to verify if your resume verbs consist of two words rather than one is a quick and easy approach to detect the difference. For instance, the verb “were accomplished” is in the passive voice because it consists of two words. It would only contain the term “accomplished” if it were written in the active voice.

  • To demonstrate that you really have the relevant experience, select only industry-specific action words.

The hiring manager will be more assured that your are the real deal and won’t require much on-the-job training the less superficial your action verb is. Therefore, if you want to emphasize your senior management talents in particular, for example, be sure to demonstrate your worth by using resume action verbs like “pilot”, “shape”, “superintend”, or “steer”.

  • Include the most relevant power words for the position in your resume summary.

You will create the most favorable impression if you highlight your strongest skills in your summary (the first paragraph of your resume). This works best with key action verbs for your accomplishments. Use our list above to choose appropriate words!

🚀 Good luck with your job search and hopefully a job interview with the company of your dreams soon!

Job applicant invited for an interview shaking the hand of the hiring manager

📝 Note: If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably also be interested in the following topics:

The best action verbs for resume writing – FAQ

What are strong action verbs?

Some great action verbs are: Achieve, complete, demonstrate, earn, surpass, overcome.

What are good resume action words?

Good resume verbs describe your accomplishments, and that’s why you shouldn’t be missing the following “resume keywords”: Contribute, cooperate, advise, ensure, accelerate, and promote.

What are great resume power words?

How to best use action words in your resume: Excellent resume power words mention the amazing changes you’ve made in your workplace, such as reorganized, adapted, integrated, redesigned, refined, reorganized, restructured, simplified, standardized, or streamlined.

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