CVs & Cover Letters

212 Resume Action Verbs (With Tips and Examples)

Jun 29, 2021

Resume action verbs are a key component of resume writing. Their authoritative tone ensures you make a good first impression on your recruiter. Learning how to incorporate action verbs into your resume helps you stand out among other candidates. Not only does it present you as a top talent, but it also shows your ability to carry yourself in the corporate world. In this article, we cover what action verbs are, describe what good resume action verbs are, outline examples for different categories and expand on how you can include them in your own resume.

Related: Why Quality Over Quantity Matters in Your Job Applications

What are action verbs?

Action verbs, also known as dynamic verbs, are words that express a physical or mental action. Unlike passive verbs, action verbs sound strong and authoritative. They make people pay attention to your language or speech. Here's an example to portray this crucial difference:

  • Passive verb: Put together financial reports to keep clients updated
  • Action verb: Curated financial reports to boost client knowledge

In this case, it's clear that action verbs not only appear more convincing but they also make your language more impactful and to the point. You can use action verbs in all forms of correspondence to bring attention to certain ideas and thoughts. It's a good habit to cultivate because it enhances your communication style.

What are good action verbs for a resume?

Resume action verbs are the words you employ to describe your skills, responsibilities and achievements. They are short and concise, allowing you to make the most of the limited space on a resume. Good resume action verbs are engaging. They present you as a confident candidate who can independently perform their duties to a high standard.

Since recruiters only have a short time to scan through your resume, good action verbs are a great way to make your candidacy appear more attractive. They boost the credibility of your personal characteristics, while also making them sound more impressive.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Standing Out to Hiring Managers During COVID-19

212 resume action verbs

The following outlines a few categories of competencies with powerful action verb examples under each category that you can highlight on your resume:

Leadership capability

As you progress in your career, leadership skills become an essential component of your role. The following resume action verbs highlight your ability to manage your responsibilities and lead your co-workers confidently:

  • Administered
  • Advocated
  • Chaired
  • Challenged
  • Championed
  • Coached
  • Controlled
  • Coordinated
  • Enlisted
  • Executed
  • Guided
  • Headed
  • Operated
  • Orchestrated
  • Organised
  • Oversaw
  • Nurtured
  • Planned
  • Produced

Initiative

Recruiters will want to see evidence of your initiative in carrying out your duties or taking on greater responsibilities. The following are a few resume action verbs to describe your initiative:

  • Built
  • Chartered
  • Created
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Devised
  • Drove
  • Engineered
  • Enthused
  • Established
  • Formed
  • Formulated
  • Founded
  • Furthered
  • Ignited
  • Incorporated
  • Initiated
  • Introduced
  • Instilled
  • Launched
  • Mobilised
  • Pioneered
  • Spearheaded
  • Spurred
  • Steered

Support system

The workplace is a highly social environment, therefore, recruiters want to learn about your interpersonal skills. Demonstrating that you collaborate well with others can enhance your candidacy. It implies that hiring you will maintain the efficiency of their business operations. Here are some resume action verbs that present you as a positive team player:

  • Advised
  • Advocated
  • Arbitrated
  • Aligned
  • Coached
  • Consulted
  • Cultivated
  • Directed
  • Enabled
  • Educated
  • Facilitated
  • Fielded
  • Fostered
  • Guided
  • Hired
  • Influenced
  • Informed
  • Inspired
  • Mentored
  • Mobilised
  • Motivated
  • Resolved
  • Recruited
  • Regulated
  • Shaped
  • Supervised
  • Taught
  • Trained
  • Unified
  • United

Efficiency

Successful professionals meet organisational objectives and go beyond set expectations. In your resume work experience section, it's important to highlight your achievements. Here are some key resume action verbs to describe your ability to increase efficiency in the workplace:

  • Accelerated
  • Achieved
  • Advanced
  • Amplified
  • Boosted
  • Capitalised
  • Decreased
  • Delivered
  • Enriched
  • Enhanced
  • Expanded
  • Expedited
  • Furthered
  • Gained
  • Generated
  • Improved
  • Lifted
  • Maximised
  • Modernised
  • Multiplied
  • Outpaced
  • Reduced
  • Stimulated
  • Sustained

Made an impact

Recruiters seek job candidates who show a commitment to their personal development. These are the professionals who usually excel at the workplace because they are continually investing in their skills and knowledge in order to improve their productivity. They make a significant impact on an organisation's growth through their attention to detail and drive to improve. If you relate to any of these characteristics, here are a few resume action verbs to describe your ability to change things for the better:

  • Attained
  • Awarded
  • Centralised
  • Clarified
  • Completed
  • Converted
  • Customised
  • Demonstrated
  • Earned
  • Exceeded
  • Forged
  • Influenced
  • Integrated
  • Merged
  • Modified
  • Navigated
  • Negotiated
  • Outperformed
  • Overhauled
  • Partnered
  • Reached
  • Redesigned
  • Refined
  • Refocused
  • Rehabilitated
  • Remodelled
  • Reorganised
  • Replaced
  • Restructured
  • Revamped
  • Revitalised
  • Secured
  • Showcased
  • Simplified
  • Standardised
  • Streamlined
  • Strengthened
  • Succeeded
  • Surpassed
  • Updated
  • Upgraded
  • Targeted
  • Transformed

Management style

Effective leaders recognise the talents of their individual team members and motivate them to work towards a shared mission. Those that lead by example inspire their co-workers to uphold the same values and work towards a high standard. Thus, your management style has the power to empower others and shape the way your team runs. Here are a few resume action words to elaborate on your management philosophy:

  • Aligned
  • Authorised
  • Blocked
  • Cultivated
  • Delegated
  • Dispatched
  • Directed
  • Enabled
  • Enforced
  • Ensured
  • Facilitated
  • Fostered
  • Guided
  • Hired
  • Inspected
  • Itemised
  • Inspired
  • Mentored
  • Mobilised
  • Monitored
  • Motivated
  • Recruited
  • Regulated
  • Screened
  • Scrutinised
  • Shaped
  • Supervised
  • Taught
  • Trained
  • Unified
  • United
  • Verified

Analytical approach

Comfortably being able to use data to inform your decision-making is an asset most employers desire. It shows your critical thinking skills and helps minimise errors. A good way to discuss your analytical skills in your resume is by using statistics to describe your success in previous roles. The following are a few resume action words that you can employ to emphasise these achievements:

  • Analysed
  • Assembled
  • Assessed
  • Audited
  • Calculated
  • Discovered
  • Evaluated
  • Examined
  • Explored
  • Forecasted
  • Identified
  • Interpreted
  • Investigated
  • Mapped
  • Measured
  • Qualified
  • Quantified
  • Surveyed
  • Tested
  • Tracked

Communication skills

You need to clearly communicate instructions in the workplace to ensure your colleagues' understanding and to prevent any misunderstandings. This maintains productivity while solidifying your working relationships. Research shows that top talent in the workplace display assertiveness while still remaining respectful. The following are a few resume actions words to highlight your interpersonal skills:

  • Authored
  • Briefed
  • Campaigned
  • Co-authored
  • Composed
  • Conveyed
  • Convinced
  • Corresponded
  • Counselled
  • Critiqued
  • Defined
  • Documented
  • Edited
  • Illustrated
  • Lobbied
  • Persuaded
  • Promoted
  • Publicised
  • Reviewed

What are some examples of action verbs?

The following are a few examples of action verbs in a resume work experience section you can use as a reference for your own writing:

Work Experience

Human Resources Manager
Capital Staff Recruitment | May 2019 - June 2021

  • Pioneered new recruitment strategy to attract more qualified candidates
  • Assembled company turnover data to boost employee satisfaction by 22%
  • Mentored interns to expand their understanding of corporate culture

Human Resources Executive
The Flower Specialists| Jan 2017 - Feb 2019

  • Coordinated company socials and retreats to advance working relationships
  • Standardised employee handbook to enhance adherence to corporate values
  • Orchestrated company annual dinner to give recognition to outstanding talent

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

Tips on selecting an appropriate resume action verb

Selecting the most appropriate resume action verbs is an essential skill to further your candidacy. The following are a few tips to help you determine the most appropriate action verbs for your skills and experience:

  • Keep a list of action verbs on file. Action verbs are a useful device to employ in business documents aside from resumes. They not only improve the quality of your writing, but they also make you appear more credible. Thus, print out a list of action verbs that you can refer to whenever you're writing an email, business proposal or letter.
  • Determine your purpose. Decide what you want to achieve before choosing an effective resume action verb. For example, the action verbs you would choose to describe your leadership skills would differ from the ones that showcase your analytical skills.
  • Try out different action verbs. Before you settle on one word, try to replace it with another action verb to test if it drives in your point better. This is an excellent technique that helps you present your talents in a concise yet impactful way. It also encourages you to expand your vocabulary and make the most of the limited space on your resume.
  • Don't simply rely on your action verbs. Think of an action verb as a persuasive tool that attracts a recruiter's attention. However, it's the actual information you share about your skills and experience that makes them want to interview you. Thus, remember to use statistics and examples to elaborate on your points. Using a combination of writing skills ensures your resume stands out.

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