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  1. Career Advice
  2. Resume & CV's
  3. Effective action verbs to help you stand out among other job applicants
Effective action verbs to help you stand out among other job applicants
Profil Asad Faruqi

Asad Faruqi

Effective action verbs to help you stand out among other job applicants

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What are action verbs for a resume?
  • What type of action verbs do you need in your resume?
  • Key takeaways

Your resume typically consists of your daily job responsibilities and key accomplishments at each role. Without the right blend of verbs, your resume is likely to establish you as a doer, not an achiever. Here’s a list of action verbs to prevent that.

What’s common between a hiring manager and an applicant tracking system (ATS)? Well, they both review your resume to look for your education, transferable skills, and key accomplishments, as well as the presence of certain power verbs.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into action verbs for a resume, including:

  • What are resume action verbs?

  • Lists of action verbs based on common job tasks

What are action verbs for a resume?

Active verbs, also known as action verbs, are verbs that describe actions performed by the subject of a sentence. When using active verbs, the subject of the sentence is the doer of the action, and the sentence becomes more dynamic and engaging. Using active verbs in your resume is crucial because it helps to make your accomplishments and experiences more impactful, engaging, and compelling to potential employers. 

These verbs are typically used in your professional experience section. When you’re explaining your daily tasks and key accomplishments for a specific job, start each sentence with an action verb. For example, instead of saying “held daily standup meetings,” you could say “spearheaded daily standup meetings.” The word spearheaded shows that you not only participated in these meetings, but you also chaired them. Job duties for your current role should be written in present tense, but past achievements and roles should be written in the past tense.

For achievements, it’s best to use quantifiable results in conjunction with action verbs. This way, you’re letting the hiring manager know about the impact you’ve made at your previous employment. For example, “Conceptualized the development and implementation of a new ticket tracking system that improved incident response time by 50%.”

What type of action verbs do you need in your resume?

When it comes to selecting the right type of action verbs for your resume, your choice will depend on your previous job experience and the job you’re pursuing. However, you can consider the following guidelines when selecting action verbs.

Action verbs for leading a project

Did you manage a project for your company? Here are a few action verbs you can use:

  • Led

  • Chaired

  • Direct

  • Coordinated

  • Executed

  • Plan

  • Oversaw

  • Programmed

  • Headed

  • Operated

  • Orchestrated

  • Arranged

  • Administered

Action verbs for designing a new system

If you’ve designed a new system or process for your company, you can explain it using any of the following action verbs:

  • Devised

  • Built

  • Designed

  • Develop

  • Engineered

  • Established

  • Formulated

  • Formalize

  • Introduced

  • Implemented

  • Launched

  • Pioneered

  • Incorporated

Action verbs to showcase increase in production/efficiency

The following action verbs can be used to show how you improved production and efficiency at a previous job:

  • Accelerated

  • Advanced

  • Achieved

  • Boosted

  • Capitalized

  • Consolidate

  • Expanded

  • Generated

  • Deducted

  • Increased

  • Yielded

  • Maximized

  • Improved

Action verbs to denote changing or improving something

Did you make a significant change or vastly improve an existing process at work to improve the company’s bottom line? Here are a few verbs you can use to talk about it:

  • Centralized

  • Customize

  • Digitized

  • Integrated

  • Merged

  • Modernized

  • Restructured 

  • Revamped

  • Revitalized

  • Standardized

  • Streamlined

  • Transformed

  • Overhauled

Action verbs for achievements and accolades 

If you’ve met your targets and received commendation from the senior management, you can use the following verbs to describe your accomplishments:

  • Attained

  • Accomplished

  • Awarded

  • Earned

  • Outperformed

  • Surpassed

  • Succeeded

  • Finished

  • Won

  • Overcame

Do you need a professionally-drafted resume with the right blend of keywords and action verbs to help you land your dream job? Our Resume Builder can help!

Key takeaways

1. When you’re writing a resume, make sure to explain your job duties and accomplishments using action verbs.

2. Action verbs add clarity and impact to your writing, making it more effective and compelling.

3. Your choice of action verbs will vary depending on the task you performed or what you achieved.

Profil Asad Faruqi

Asad Faruqi

Asad is a digital content creator and recruiter. Since 2014, he has written on a wide variety of topics, including technology, finance, human resources, and marketing. Throughout his professional career, Asad has recruited and trained content writers for various software companies and marketing agencies, and he enjoys mentoring new immigrants in Canada on job interview best practices and networking techniques.

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