Resume Action Words
It's All About Action Verbs.

Verbs show action. When a recruiter reviews your resume, we want to see that you will take action if you are hired for the job. Use resume action words when listing your accomplishments.

Resume action words provide a variety of benefits. They…

  • increase the strength of your writing, and help you make a strong first impression.

  • convey that you accomplished something.

  • increase your chances of passing the employer's first screening of your resume.

  • show the hiring manager what actions you have taken in previous jobs and experiences.

  • are keywords that employers will use to quickly narrow down their online resume search. Employers search for specific words.

In addition to action verbs, be sure to include transferable skills and keywords that are related to your career field.

If you are not sure which words to use, find keywords in the job description. A good practice is to highlight all job-related keywords in the description, then "sprinkle" the relevant ones throughout your resume and cover letter.

Follow these rules.

  • Replace plain, boring words with action words.

  • Throughout your resume and cover letter, start statements with a variety of powerful action words, followed by your results or accomplishments.

    This gives the impression that you are ready to take action, and not just passively accept work. Every hiring manager wants to hire someone who will take initiative.

  • Use words that match your target job, career field or qualifications. For example, if you started a new process, substitute the word "started," with action words like, "launched," "initiated," or "implemented."

  • Avoid using the same verb over and over. Instead, use to find synonyms (words with the same meanings). Just don't use any keywords that you cannot define or pronounce.

  • Use past tense verbs for past experience and accomplishments, and present tense verbs for current experience and accomplishments. Do not use passive tense.
    • Past tense - end in "ed" (organized, composed, expanded)
    • Present tense - in normal state (ex. direct, provide, prepare)
    • Passive tense - end in "ing" (planning, assisting, instructing)

Plain Verbs vs. Resume Action Words

Plain VerbsAction Words
Did/Took care ofPerformed, Achieved, Handled, Completed, Managed, Accomplished, Processed, Administered
Set up/Started upArranged, Initiated, Launched, Organized, Implemented, Invented, Established, Introduced, Spearheaded, Founded
Put togetherCompiled, Accumulated, Coordinated, Collected, Constructed
WroteComposed, Formulated, Drafted
Wrote down/Kept TrackRecorded, Monitored, Documented,
Kept upMaintained, Managed, Balanced, Sustained
LedDirected, Headed, Guided, Conducted
MadeCreated, Produced, Devised, Designed, Established
Made readyPrepared, Planned, Arranged
Made better
Improved, Overhauled, Strengthened, Streamlined, Restructured, Upgraded, Revamped, Revitalized, Reorganized, Remodeled, Transformed
Made biggerExpanded, Enlarged, Increased
Checked/Checked OverReviewed, Verified, Monitored, Examined, Analyzed
Made sure
Assured, Ensured, Checked
GaveProvided, Supplied, Presented
ShowedDemonstrated, Displayed, Presented, Revealed
Showed howTrained, Instructed, Educated, Coached
GotObtained, Secured, Acquired

Return from Resume Action Words to Resume Style

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