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Resume Action Verbs: Power up Your Resume with Impactful Words

Updated: Feb 16

Your resume is more than just a chronological list of your past experiences. It's a powerful narrative of your career story. And to tell that story effectively, you need resume action verbs: the strategic and impactful words that breathe life into your accomplishments and showcase your impact in previous roles.

The thing is, in today's competitive job market, a mediocre, responsibilities-focused resume won't cut it. You need to captivate recruiters from the get-go. And action verbs are the way to go. They infuse life into your accomplishments, leaving a memorable mark.

Need proof? Consider these two bullet points:

  1. "Responsible for management and performance of a sales team."

  2. "Transformed sales performance by leading and motivating a high-performing team, resulting in a remarkable 30% increase in revenue."

Which one feels stronger and more credible? Which one did immediately catch your attention? The second one, right?

Now, let's apply this resume writing technique and fill your resume with the best action verbs.

By the end of this article, you'll see how using action verbs in your resume can help you stand out even in a fiercely competitive job market. Plus, you'll get actionable tips and real-life examples to help you craft a resume that makes an impact on potential employers.

Disclaimer: This article includes relevant affiliate links to services, resources, and tools I wholeheartedly recommend. If you buy something through these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your purchase helps me share more helpful content. Thanks if you choose to support me this way!


What are resume action verbs?

Action verbs are an essential aspect of resume writing—they are powerful words that express an action or a process, making your resume sound exciting, credible, and impressive.

Using them in your resume helps you convey your skills, achievements, and work experiences in the most action-oriented and compelling way.

Examples of action verbs include:

  • Transformed

  • Accelerated

  • Managed

  • Created

  • Implemented

  • Developed

  • Coordinated

  • Designed

  • Improved

Let's put them into practice. Instead of adding a passive laundry list of your areas of responsibilities, like "team management," "business development," or "customer service" to your resume, consider using action verbs that demonstrate your accomplishments and skills more effectively. For example, try using verbs like "led," "achieved," "expanded," "resolved," or "implemented" to highlight your experiences.

Instead of simply stating "team management," you could say something like:

  • Led a cross-functional team of 15 members, resulting in a 30% increase in productivity and successful project delivery ahead of schedule.

Rather than listing "business development," you could use:

  • Achieved a 25% revenue growth by identifying and securing new strategic partnerships with key clients.

And instead of "customer service," consider:

  • Resolved customer inquiries and complaints promptly, maintaining a 95% satisfaction rate and building long-term customer loyalty."

You see? When you incorporate action verbs, your resume becomes more engaging and memorable. It shows employers what you've accomplished in a clear and powerful way. And that's exactly what puts you in the top 1% of all job applicants.

How Action Verbs Differ from Other Verbs

Not all verbs are created equal. While regular verbs might describe ordinary tasks, action verbs convey accomplishment, capability, and impact. They give life to your achievements, showing precisely what you've accomplished in your career. So, forget about boring, task-orientated verbs such as "working," "supporting," or "helping." They are more focused on day-to-day responsibilities instead of the results you achieved, and as such, you should avoid them. Think about using words like "implemented," "initiated," "optimized," and "innovated" to paint a dynamic picture of your abilities. Let's see how we can transform those boring, task-oriented verbs into powerful action verbs that highlight your achievements:

Boring Verbs:

  1. Worked with cross-functional teams to deliver projects on time.

  2. Helped customers with their inquiries and resolved issues promptly.

Action Verbs:

  1. Implemented a collaborative approach, leading cross-functional teams to consistently deliver projects ahead of schedule.

  2. Initiated a customer service improvement strategy, resulting in a 20% reduction in response time and a 95% customer satisfaction rate.

Do you see the difference?

The action verbs "implemented" and "initiated" provide a clear sense of accomplishment and leadership, showcasing how you took charge and achieved tangible results. These dynamic action verbs not only make your resume more engaging but also demonstrate your capability and impact in your previous roles, positioning you as a proactive, results-driven professional.

Replacing mundane verbs with action-packed ones is a simple yet powerful resume-writing technique that can quickly turn an ordinary resume into an outstanding one.


Understanding the Psychology of Action Verbs

Now, the main question is, why do action verbs actually work? Short answer: Human psychology. Long answer: Action verbs tap into how our brains process information and make connections.

Action Verbs Trigger Mirror Neurons

As human beings, we are wired to respond to stories of action and achievement. When we encounter action verbs, our brains light up with excitement, as if witnessing the accomplishment first-hand.

As human beings, we are wired to respond to stories of action and achievement. When we encounter action verbs, our brains light up with excitement, as if we are witnessing the accomplishment first-hand.

It triggers specialized brain cells known as "mirror neurons," which activate when we see someone else perform an action or read about the same action. This means that when we read action verbs in a resume, we can't help but mentally picture the candidate achieving those feats, almost as if we are experiencing it ourselves.

Action Verbs Tell a Story and Spark Curiosity

What's more, action verbs not only convey a sense of proactivity and decisiveness but also paint a vivid picture of an action-taker behind the words. They go beyond merely stating responsibilities. Instead, they narrate the candidate's journey of taking the initiative and achieving tangible results. This storytelling aspect piques curiosity and grabs the attention of hiring managers.

Action Verbs Evoke Emotions

Plus, action verbs trigger an emotional response. They create a sense of enthusiasm, energy, and passion in the reader, making the resume a more memorable and engaging experience. Think about it—wouldn't you be more excited to read about a candidate who "innovated groundbreaking solutions" than one who simply "completed tasks"?

Put simply, the psychology behind using action verbs lies in their ability to activate our brains, trigger visualizations of achievement, demonstrate proactivity, and evoke emotions.

It's the art of persuasion at its finest, capturing attention and leaving a lasting impression on those who review the resume. So, if you want to make a strong impact with your resume, harness the power of action verbs, and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.


Why Are Action Verbs Important in Resumes

Recruiters and hiring managers read hundreds of resumes, and it's crucial that yours grabs their attention. That's where action verbs come in. Using action verbs can help you showcase your skills and achievements in a more dynamic and impactful way.

Not only do they make your resume more readable, but they also create a strong first impression and highlight your accomplishments and skills.

Boosting Your Resume's Readability

A well-written resume that uses strong action verbs can also make it easier for hiring managers to understand your experience, accomplishments, and the value you bring to the table, which leads to more job opportunities.

Plus, ATS algorithms are designed to recognize and prioritize action verbs that match well with the job description because they indicate relevant achievements and contributions.

So, when you use strong action verbs in your resume, you increase the chances of your application matching the ATS requirements while making it more attractive to humans—recruiters and hiring managers. Win-win!

Curious about ATS? Learn how they work and how to use them to your advantage in the comprehensive ATS resume guide.

Creating a Strong First Impression

Your resume is often the first impression potential employers have of you, so it's essential to make it count. Strong action verbs can help you create a memorable and impactful first impression by emphasizing your strengths and accomplishments.

By using verbs like "achieved," "completed," and "succeeded," you can convey a sense of confidence, competence, and professionalism that will impress potential employers.

Highlighting Your Accomplishments and Skills

Describing responsibilities instead of accomplishments is one of the most common resume mistakes, if not the worst from recruiters' perspective. Using strong action verbs can also help you effectively highlight your accomplishments and skills.

Rather than simply listing your job duties, using verbs like "improved," "innovated," and "streamlined" can help you showcase how you added value to your previous roles.

By highlighting your accomplishments and skills, you can demonstrate your qualifications and show potential employers that you are the right fit for the job.


60 Action Verbs Examples

When creating a powerful resume, strong action verbs are essential. But make sure to choose them wisely.

Here's a list of the best action verbs for different activity types.

20 Strong Action Verbs for Analyzing and Organizing

If you are applying for a job that requires analytical skills and attention to detail, it is crucial to incorporate strong action verbs that vividly demonstrate these essential qualities.

These action verbs not only catch the eye of potential employers but also emphasize your competence and expertise in handling relevant tasks.

Some examples include:

  • Analyzed

  • Evaluated

  • Assessed

  • Examined

  • Organized

  • Categorized

  • Systematized

  • Devised

  • Synthesized

  • Verified

  • Investigated

  • Audited

  • Scrutinized

  • Measured

  • Monitored

  • Inspected

  • Diagnosed

  • Forecasted

  • Surveyed

  • Validated

If we put these action verbs into practice, your resume could sound like this:

  • Evaluated: Evaluated project proposals, identified potential risks, and recommended improvements resulting in a 15% reduction in project delays.

  • Assessed: Assessed financial reports, identified discrepancies, and implemented streamlined processes that improved financial accuracy by 95%.

  • Investigated: Investigated customer complaints, identified root causes, and implemented corrective actions, reducing customer escalations by 70%.

  • Audited: Audited internal procedures, identified inefficiencies, and implemented changes that saved 15% in operational costs.

  • Audited: Audited internal procedures, identified inefficiencies, and implemented changes that saved 15% in operational costs.

20 Strong Action Verbs for Leading and Managing

When applying for a leadership or management position, it is important to use strong action verbs that demonstrate your ability to lead and inspire others.

Some examples include:

  • Managed

  • Directed

  • Coordinated

  • Guided

  • Motivated

  • Inspired

  • Delegated

  • Supervised

  • Orchestrated

  • Spearheaded

  • Empowered

  • Mentored

  • Fostered

  • Cultivated

  • Oversaw

  • Streamlined

  • Implemented

  • Enforced

  • Encouraged

  • Led

When we pair them with quantifiable resume metrics, we get these:

  • Managed: Managed a team of cross-functional professionals, ensuring seamless project execution and achieving project goals ahead of schedule.

  • Directed: Directed strategic planning efforts, leading to a 15% increase in market share within the first quarter.

  • Spearheaded: Spearheaded company-wide training programs, enhancing employee skills and boosting overall performance by 20%.

  • Guided: Guided a diverse team through organizational changes, fostering a positive and productive work culture during the transition.

  • Empowered: Empowered sales representatives to surpass monthly targets, resulting in a 25% increase in revenue.

20 Strong Action Verbs for Creating and Innovating

If you are applying for a creative or innovative position, it is important to use strong action verbs that demonstrate your ability to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions.

Some examples include:

  • Created

  • Designed

  • Invented

  • Developed

  • Improved

  • Revolutionized

  • Innovated

  • Conceptualized

  • Generated

  • Crafted

  • Engineered

  • Fashioned

  • Constructed

  • Produced

  • Devised

  • Formulated

  • Pioneered

  • Fabricated

  • Implemented

  • Initiated


  • Created: Created a visually stunning marketing campaign that resulted in a 30% increase in brand awareness.

  • Designed: Designed an intuitive user interface, enhancing user experience and reducing customer support queries by 40%.

  • Invented: Invented a novel medical device, securing three patents and revolutionizing patient care.

  • Developed: Developed a cost-effective manufacturing process, cutting production expenses by 25% while maintaining product quality.

  • Improved: Improved supply chain logistics, streamlining operations and reducing delivery times by 20%.

With these powerful action verbs, you can effectively showcase your creative and innovative prowess, setting yourself apart as the ideal candidate for creative and forward-thinking positions.

Remember to choose verbs that are specific and relevant to the position you are applying for, and quantify your achievements whenever possible.


Action Verbs in Action: Before and After

When it comes to crafting a winning resume, every detail counts—especially the bullet points. The words you choose to describe your experience can make all the difference in catching the hiring manager's attention. That's where strong action verbs come in.

Before: Bullet Points Without Action Verbs

Let's take a look at an example of a bullet point that lacks a strong action verb:

  • Assisted with marketing campaigns

While this statement conveys some information, it doesn't give the reader a clear sense of what you actually did. Without a strong verb to anchor the sentence, the bullet point feels weak and unremarkable.

After: Bullet Points With Action Verbs

Now, let's see how a strong action verb can transform this bullet point:

  • Executed targeted marketing campaigns to increase customer engagement and drive sales

With the addition of a powerful verb like "executed," the bullet point becomes much more impactful. The reader can clearly see what you accomplished and how you added value to your team.

Using strong action verbs is an effective way to make your resume stand out from the competition.

Here are some more before vs. after examples of resume bullet points that needed a boost:

  • Before: Answered customer inquiries

  • After: Resolved complex customer inquiries with tact and diplomacy

  • Before: Managed a team of employees

  • After: Directed and coached a high-performing team of 10 employees to meet and exceed sales goals

  • Before: Contributed to project planning

  • After: Spearheaded project planning efforts to ensure on-time delivery and budget adherence

As you can see, strong action verbs can take any bullet point from ordinary to extraordinary.

So, take some time to review your resume and make sure your bullet points are as strong as they can be. Remember, your resume is your main personal branding tool. Make it work for you.


How to use action verbs effectively in your resume

When it comes to writing a resume, using strong action verbs can make all the difference in showcasing your skills and accomplishments to potential employers.

Wondering how to effectively use action verbs in your resume?

Here are three key tips:

#1: Tailoring Your Action Verbs to the Job Description

One of the most important things you can do when using action verbs in your resume is to tailor them to the job description. This means using verbs that are relevant to the specific job you're applying for.

For example, if you're applying for a job in marketing, you might use verbs like "created," "analyzed," and "managed" to describe your experience. On the other hand, if you're applying for a job in finance, you might use verbs like "calculated," "forecasted," and "audited."

When tailoring your action verbs, it's important to read the job description carefully and take note of the specific skills and experience that the employer is looking for. This will help you choose the right action verbs and highlight your relevant experience.

#2: Pair Action Verbs with Quantifiable Data

Another important aspect of using action verbs in your resume is to use specific and quantifiable verbs whenever possible. For example, instead of saying "managed a team," you might say "oversaw a team of 10 employees and increased productivity by 20%."

Using specific and quantifiable verbs not only makes your resume more interesting to read but also helps demonstrate your accomplishments and the impact you've had in previous roles.

Make sure to add metrics to your resume to quantify your accomplishments. Find out what are the best resume metrics that can 10x your resume.

#3: Avoiding Overused and Cliché Verbs

While using strong action verbs is important, it's also important to avoid overused and cliché verbs that can make your resume sound generic and unoriginal.

Verbs like "led," "handled," and "assisted" are often overused and don't provide much detail about your experience.

Instead, use more unique and descriptive verbs that showcase your specific skills and accomplishments. For example, instead of saying "managed," you might use verbs like "coordinated," "organized," or "orchestrated."

Need help with DIY-ing your resume? Head to this detailed resume cheat sheet.


Key Takeaways

Action verbs are essential for creating an engaging and impactful resume. Strong action verbs demonstrate accomplishment, capability, and impact, making your resume stand out to hiring managers. Here are key things to remember:

  • Tailor your resume with relevant action verbs for each job application to showcase your suitability for the role.

  • Quantify your achievements using action verbs to provide concrete evidence of your contributions and successes.

  • Swap generic or passive verbs like "worked" with dynamic action verbs such as "implemented" or "initiated" to enhance your resume's impact.

  • Diversify your use of action verbs to demonstrate a wide range of skills and accomplishments throughout your resume.

By tailoring your action verbs to the job description, using specific and quantifiable verbs, and avoiding overused and cliché verbs, you can elevate your resume and ensure your resume always ends up among the top 1% of job candidates.

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. If you shop through these links, I might earn a commission, making this site fully reader-supported. Big thanks for your support!


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Ana Colak-Fustin

Hi—I'm Ana! A recruiter, HR consultant, and founder of My career advice and job search tools have been featured in Yahoo News, The Muse, Jobscan, A Better HR Business, and other global media. Over 8,000 professionals have used my resume templates to land new jobs and power up their careers. Ready to join them? Your success story starts here.

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