The Importance of Using Action Verbs for Your Resume
Imagine you’re the hiring manager at a large company: to find a qualified candidate, you have to shuffle through hundreds of resumes.
Eventually, you start to see the same words and phrases pop up over and over again — “tasked with,” “worked on,” “responsible for.”
Words like these get repetitive, and fast.
Employers don’t just want to be told that you’re qualified for the position — they want to see it. That’s where resume power verbs come in.
Strong action verbs not only command the hiring manager’s attention because they’re uncommon (and interesting), but they also illustrate your strengths in a compelling way — specifically by guiding them toward your relevant work achievements.
But finding the right words can be challenging. So we assembled a comprehensive list of resume action verbs for every scenario, and then broke down exactly how to use them.
The Ultimate Resume Action Verbs List
Not sure what action verbs to include on your resume? No problem.
This list of action verbs for resume writing includes over 320 strong verbs that can be used by candidates from hundreds of industries.
Resume Action Words for When You Increased Something Positive
Whether you increased revenue or improved efficiency, showing that you’ve made a positive impact at work is one of the easiest ways to impress an employer.
Leverage these action verbs to highlight your resume accomplishments:
Strong Resume Verbs for When You Decreased Something Negative
Employers love candidates who can reduce production time and eliminate bottlenecks.
Use these resume action verbs to demonstrate how you mitigated a problem:
Example of ‘problem-solving’ verbs in action
Here’s how a candidate used these action verbs to demonstrate their accomplishments (the action verbs have been highlighted):
Consolidated office supply contracts and implemented inventory control, slashing office expenditures by $12,000 annually.
Resume Action Verbs for Communication
Ask any hiring manager and they’ll tell you the same thing: employers love candidates who can communicate effectively.
However, putting “excellent communicator” in your resume skills section doesn’t prove you can communicate well.
Instead, demonstrate your communication skills by using one of these strong resume verbs:
Powerful Verbs for Managing (Projects or People)
Management skills are essential if you manage a team, or wish to become a manager.
But telling the hiring manager that you’re “good at managing” won’t convince them. You have to show them what you’re capable of.
To help you do just that, here are some resume action words that demonstrate your management prowess:
Example of a ‘management’ verb in action
Here’s an example of how a sample candidate used these resume verbs to highlight their management skills:
Oversaw a team of 10 engineers to develop a new app user interface, launching the product 2 months before the deadline.
Good Resume Verbs for Taking Initiative
Everyone knows managers love employees who take initiative.
Use these action words on your resume to prove that you go out of your way to get things done:
Example of an ‘initiative’ verb in action
Here’s how one candidate put these resume action verbs to use:
Undertook a full overhaul of the marketing department’s outreach methods, leading to a 14% raise in email open rate.
Resume Verbs for Leadership
Every workplace needs team members with good leadership skills — employees who guide by example and help everyone produce their best work.
Demonstrate your talent for inspiring others with these strong leadership resume verbs:
Good Resume Verbs for Organization
From basic tasks like keeping your calendar organized to holding entire projects together, employees with great organizational skills are always in high demand.
Here’s an action verbs list to help you showcase your organizational expertise:
Example of ‘organization’ verbs in action
Here’s an example of a candidate who used strong resume verbs to highlight their organizational skills:
Standardized our data-entry system by labeling over 500 out-of-date spreadsheets.
Resume Verbs for an Occasion You Brought People Together
Any office would collapse without employees with adept people skills. Being able to support those on your team and collaborate with others is crucial to everything running smoothly.
Demonstrate your knack for bringing everyone together with these key resume verbs:
Example of ‘people skills’ verbs in action
Here’s an example of a candidate who used these resume action verbs to showcase their leadership talents:
Assisted representatives from 3 different departments in drafting new code-of-conduct rules, cultivating a more accepting office environment for new employees.
Power Verbs for Achievements
Launched a new product? Broke a sales record? Use these resume power verbs to highlight your resume accomplishments:
Resume Power Verbs for Innovation
In today’s job market, employees capable of thinking up innovative solutions to problems are highly sought after.
To catch the attention of any hiring manager, use these action words on your resume and demonstrate your knack for innovation and creative thinking:
How to Use Action Words for Your Resume
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when leveraging resume action words is assuming all they have to do is sprinkle some verbs into their experience section, and they’ll suddenly have a strong resume.
Here’s the bottom line: Resume action verbs alone — no matter how attention-grabbing — are only as strong as the sentences they’re attached to.
To effectively use resume power verbs, focus first on filling out your experience section with specific, quantified examples of your accomplishments. Then, use action verbs to enhance your examples.
Here’s a sample bullet point where the candidate improperly included resume action verbs:
“Went to all weekly company meetings to share department news”
This example starts with a weak and non-descript verb. By indicating they “went” to meetings, the applicant didn’t convey any positive information besides stating that they simply did what was expected of them.
Hiring managers want to see that you went beyond what was expected and actually performed something impressive.
Now, here’s the same example enhanced with resume action words:
“Spearheaded weekly company meetings by communicating departmental growth and productivity.”
Right from the start, the applicant opens with a much more targeted action verb. Unlike “went to,” the word “spearheaded” is decisive and suggests the candidate has leadership abilities, organizational skills, and a knack for planning.
The applicant then includes the strong verb “communicating,” a common resume keyword recognized by corporate applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Finally, the candidate ends their bullet point by stating explicitly what they communicated. The first example is vague, only saying that “news” was shared. The improved version specifies exactly what was communicated: “departmental growth and productivity.”
Use Action Verbs on Your Resume With Care
Used correctly, resume power verbs can strengthen your application, and make your work experience more impressive.
But even the most actionable verbs are useless without a strong foundation. So before you start updating your experience section, learn how to write a resume that effectively highlights your skills and qualifications.
If you’re short on time, our easy-to-use resume builder will help you write a strong resume in a few short minutes — one that meets the expectations of recruiters from any industry.