Most job seekers’ resume work experience sections are filled with words like “responsible for”, “tasked with”, or “handled”. Even if your resume includes all the skills necessary for the role, follows the right resume format, and uses an eye-catching resume design, using passive words like these is an easy way to lose the interest of anyone reading it.
Instead, using powerful resume action verbs in your bullet points highlights what you’re capable of, showcases your most notable accomplishments, and makes your resume stand out — helping you land more interviews.
Here’s our list of powerful resume verbs, categorized by when you would use them:
You increased something positive
From sales to productivity, there are tons of things that companies want to increase. Use the following action verbs to highlight a time you improved something at work:
Improvement action words
Here’s an example of how to work these action verbs into a resume bullet point:
“Boosted website impressions by 14% through new organic SEO efforts”
You reduced something negative
If you managed to save time or money for an employer, use one of these action words:
Reduction action verbs
“Eliminated redundancies in the production process, cutting delivery time by 15 hours on average for new products”
You communicated effectively with colleagues and customers
From giving a great presentation to winning over clients during a meeting, communication skills are important for nearly any job. Show employers that you’re a strong communicator with one of these resume verbs:
Communication action verbs
Here’s an example of how to demonstrate your communication prowess with action words in a resume:
“Consulted with clients at each step of the design process to develop unique branding in line with their company values and mission”
You managed projects or people
Whether you supervise a whole team or are in charge of a product, management skills are essential for many jobs. The following action verbs on your resume help show employers that you’re management-ready:
Management action verbs
Here’s an example showing how to list these action verbs in your resume:
“Supervised a team of 15 junior sales associates to organize a new Valentine’s Day promotional sale, boosting sales by 70%.”
You took the initiative to get something done
If you’ve made a difference in your workplace by taking the initiative, showcase it on your resume with one of these strong verbs:
Initiative action verbs
Here’s how to put initiative-highlighting action verbs to use in your resume:
“Spearheaded a complete overhaul of our seasonal drink menu to fit modern consumer trends, ultimately improving sales by over 40% in October”
You led people to success
Every workplace needs team members with good leadership skills. Showcase those skills on your resume with emphatic action verbs:
Leadership action verbs
Here’s an example demonstrating how to use strong, leadership-related action verbs in your resume:
“Hired and mentored 8 new servers, making sure that each had a strong understanding of our menu and high expectations for service”
You organized something
From keeping a calendar organized to holding projects together, organizational skills are one of the most in-demand soft skills because of their universal value in the workplace.
Use descriptive action verbs on your resume to show that highlight how you can keep things organized, even in stressful situations:
Organization action verbs
Here’s an example of how to include strong verbs related to organization on your resume:
“Standardized company filing procedure by compiling and relabelling three years of user data, improving efficiency across all departments”
You brought people together
Workplaces need employees who have effective people skills. Prove you’re a team player (without using a cliche like “team player”) with one of the following actions verbs for your resume:
People skills action words
Here’s a sample demonstrating how to put these action verbs to work in your resume and emphasize your team-player capabilities:
“Cultivated lasting relationships with clients, more than doubling the number of repeat customers in 2021”
You achieved something incredible
Completed a project? Broken a sales record? Use these resume power verbs to highlight your accomplishments:
Achievement action verbs
Here’s a sample demonstrating how to use accomplishment-centric action verbs on your resume:
“Outperformed department sales goals by over $6,000 despite the COVID-19 pandemic”
You created a new way of doing things
Creativity and innovation are some of the most valuable soft skills in the modern workplace. Show employers you can develop new ideas with some of these action words:
Innovation action words
Here’s an example showing how to work action words centered on creativity and innovation into your resume:
“Designed a new email outreach strategy that improved open rates by 15%”
How to list strong action verbs on your resume
Want to learn more about how to use action verbs on your resume? Check out our video on how to match your resume to the job description.
Starting at 1:19 our in-house career expert Eva breaks down the best way to include impactful action verbs in your resume’s experience section:
To effectively use action verbs in your resume, first identify places where you used passive language such as “responsible for” or generic verbs like “went” or “did” (they’re probably in your resume objective or your work experience section). This kind of writing can be easily improved using action verbs.
Then, think about what you accomplished at your job, rather than what you were responsible for. Start each bullet point or sentence with a strong verb that illustrates the actions you took to achieve that particular goal.
Take a look at these examples to get a better idea of how to use action words in your resume:
“Used a customer-retention program to ensure clients returned to use our services.”
While it may sound impressive, this sentence doesn’t actually provide much quantifiable information for a hiring manager to work with. What kind of budget objectives did this candidate handle? What types of expenditures were they overseeing?
“Implemented a customer-retention program to ensure clients returned to use our services, boosting revenue by 12% on average.”
This is a good example of using resume words in a work experience bullet because the candidate:
- tells you directly what they accomplished, and how they accomplished it by using numbers and percentages (this is known as quantifying your resume).
- uses strong resume action verbs to emphasize the impact of their achievement on the company.
If you use resume action verbs to strengthen concrete examples of your accomplishments rather than to hide your weaknesses, your resume will immediately make a better case for your hireability. Don’t forget you should pair action verbs with compelling resume adjectives and buzzwords (the useful ones) in your experience section to catch the attention of employers and highlight your resume skills.