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275 Resume Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Pop

job search linkedin profile resume written communication Apr 21, 2022

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The Resume Secret Sauce? Action Verbs 

What makes this resume stand out, you might ask? Simple! Action verbs. 
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to ensure your resume stands out, such as formatting, keywords, a punchy objective, just to name a few.
Some jobs require a cover letter, some don’t—but the fact remains that there are small tweaks you can make to ensure your resume immediately captures a hiring manager’s attention. 
So first, let’s get back to basics and focus on strong action verbs for your resume! Swap out a few words here and there, and recruiters will be knocking on your proverbial door in no time. 
If you want to skip ahead to the words, go ahead:

What Are Action Verbs? 

For those of us who didn’t major in English, here’s a quick refresher: an action verb describes a specific action, task, or movement which answers the question, "What is the subject doing?"
They are used to add impact to a sentence in order to provide relevant and important information, so they are key to an impressive resume.
Here’s an example: Supervised a team as the Marketing Manager for 3 years. 
In this case, “supervised” is the action verb. 
Action verbs are the opposite of linking verbs. Linking verbs do not express action, and instead connect the subject of a sentence with a word that gives more information about the subject. 
For example: I have been a Marketing Manager for 3 years. 
In this case, “been” is the linking verb.
When writing bullet points for your resume, it’s important to use action verbs because they provide information to hiring managers in a clear and concise way.
Whether you’re creating a brand-new resume or refurbishing an old one, be sure to research which verbs are most relevant to your industry. Also, keep in mind that many large companies have software that automatically removes weak resumes, so using strong action verbs can be crucial to a successful job search
how to use action verbs on your resume
  • Accelerated: Accelerated development of the company's inaugural internship program. 
  • Collaborated: Collaborated with a team of eight people to raise $1.5 million for charity. 
  • Supervised: Supervised a cross-departmental initiative that resulted in a 10% increase in revenue.  
  • Implemented: Implemented framework and best practices for customer success. 
  • Designed: Designed a wireframe for the company’s first-ever mobile application. 
  • Enhanced: Enhanced customer experience with a new platform.

What Are Passive Verbs vs. Active Verbs

This is where it can get a little tricky, but once you nail down using active verbs instead of passive verbs, your resume—and your writing—will improve exponentially. 
In short, passive verbs refer to someone who receives the action, rather than someone who performs the action. Not only does using active verbs make your resume more engaging, it reduces the number of words you need to get your point across. 
So when is it okay to use passive verbs or passive voice? If you don’t want your audience to know who is performing the action, or if the action itself is what’s important, then it’s recommended that you use passive voice. However, since a resume is all about you, it generally wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s best to stick to an active voice. 
Ultimately, the goal is to immediately catch the hiring manager’s attention, so you want to avoid superfluous words that detract from all of your achievements. 
Here are some examples of active verbs to help transform your resume:
active verbs for resume to replace passive verbs
Pro Tip: Pretend there is an “I” at the beginning of every bullet point on your resume, which forces you to immediately use an action verb. If one verb isn’t quite working, no worries—there are plenty of other resume buzzwords to consider. 

How to Liven Up Your Accomplishments with Action Verbs 

Trust us, your resume is not the time to be humble! On the contrary, it’s time to channel your inner Lizzo and “boss up and change your life” — by shouting your accomplishments from the rooftops!
Best case scenario, you’ve been documenting all of your achievements as they happen — but if not, no worries! That just means it’s time to take a deep dive into past roles in order to highlight why you are a good fit for this new one. 
Pro Tip: Once you find a position that you’re interested in, be sure to study the job description and pull out the keywords and skills that they’re looking for in a new hire. This will help hiring managers immediately identify relevant achievements. 
The best way to illustrate your amazing career accomplishments is through powerful action verbs. Instead of using tired verbs like led, handled, and managed (aren’t you yawning just looking at those?), infuse some creativity and spark into those resume bullet points with more impactful words.
One More Pro Tip: We are going to give you a list of action verbs. Use the words that could naturally come out of your mouth. The last thing you want is for a hiring manager to think you pulled out the old thesaurus to get the job done. Be you. 
Here are some examples of action verbs you can use to show and tell. 

How to Show That You Streamlined a Process

Expedited the purchase order process by researching, vetting and securing a new contract management software, saving employees an average of three hours of extra work per contract. 
Integrated Salesforce dashboard with company’s intranet to eliminate cross-departmental silos. 
Other active verbs to use if you streamlined a process: 
  • Revamped
  • Centralized
  • Simplified
  • Strengthened
  • Modified

How to Show That You Brought in New Business

Secured new business with a Fortune 500 company, boosting overall revenue for 2021 by 15%. 
Generated $1.5 million in new business for FY20-21. 
Other active verbs to use if you brought in new business: 
  • Established
  • Navigated
  • Partnered
  • Negotiated
  • Built

How to Show That You Led a Team

Mentored a team of recent graduates and fostered a culture of empathy, transparency and trust. 
Supervised a work group dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion, and amplified employee engagement by 40% in 2020. 
Other active verbs to use if you led a team: 
  • Facilitated 
  • Mobilized
  • Shaped
  • Hired
  • Cultivated

How to Show That You Provided Support or Used Your Problem-Solving Skills

Resolved ongoing technology issues within the hospital’s patient support portal. 
Arbitrated a disagreement between a manager and their direct report. 
Other active verbs to use if you provided support: 
  • Informed
  • Reconciled
  • Clarified
  • Rectified
  • Communicated

How to Show That You Conducted In-Depth Research

Surveyed 5,000 members to increase relevance and improve content development strategy. 
Forecasted education trends for teachers to utilize during the upcoming school year.  
Other active verbs to use if you conducted in-depth research: 
  • Discovered
  • Tested
  • Interpreted
  • Piloted
  • Evaluated

How to Strengthen Your Resume Using Action Verbs

When you consider the fact that recruiters and hiring managers are likely scanning dozens of resumes every day, it can be a challenge to figure out how to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few steps you can take to elevate your resume:
Below, we created a chart to help you upgrade your resume using strong verb synonyms. The words and phrases in the left-hand column are not necessarily wrong; however, they are typically overused.
Consider turning up the heat with this action verb list. Using these action verbs will automatically make your resume more unique!
active verbs for your resume

Even More Strong Action Verbs to Use Instead of Overused Phrases

Here are even more words to use instead of the old verbs everyone is using. Instead of these overused words and phrases, try some of these action verbs to illustrate the direct impact you made. 

Synonyms for Examined

  • Audited; Surveyed; Explored

Synonyms for Found

  • Discovered; Determined; Identified

Synonyms for Got

  • Secured; Established; Captured

Synonyms for Changed

  • Converted; Modified; Replaced

Synonyms for Updated

  • Overhauled; Upgraded; Revised

Synonyms for Taught

  • Upskilled; Educated; Cultivated

Synonyms for Led

  • Directed; Steered; Supervised

Synonyms for Combined

  • Merged; Centralized; Consolidated

Synonyms for Increased

  • Amplified; Escalated; Strengthened

Synonyms for Prepared; Organized

  • Mobilized; Developed; Standardized; Assembled; Compiled

Synonyms for Made

  • Forged; Engineered; Constructed; Created

Synonyms for Handled

  • Fielded; Controlled; Maneuvered

Synonyms for Recommended; Advised

  • Advocated; Advanced; Counseled

Synonyms for Outlined

  • Mapped; Indicated; Delineated

Synonyms for Urged

  • Lobbied; Persuaded; Influenced

Synonyms for Assigned

  • Delegated; Allocated; Earmarked

Synonyms for Carried out

  • Enforced; Fulfilled; Executed

Synonyms for Exceeded

  • Surpassed; Eclipsed; Outperformed

Synonyms for Planned

  • Designed; Envisioned; Formulated

Synonyms for Wrote

  • Authored; Composed; Produced

Synonyms for Created

  • Designed; Initiated; Invented

Synonyms for Assisted

  • Facilitated; Empowered; Accommodated

Synonyms for Participated, Took part in

  • Joined; Engaged; Performed

Synonyms for Showed

  • Illustrated; Unveiled; Demonstrated

Synonyms for Studied

  • Investigated; Explored; Surveyed

Synonyms for Thought through

  • Deliberated; Debated; Considered

Synonyms for Explained

  • Deciphered; Clarified; Mitigated

Synonyms for Supported

  • Promoted; Advocated; Authorized

Active Synonyms to Use for Key Skills

Anyone can list their leadership skills or communications skills, but what does that actually mean? How have you demonstrated that in your current or previous roles?
When hiring managers and recruiters read through resumes, they want to know exactly how you contributed to previous companies and how you might continue to do so in a new role. 
Ideally, you should list between five and 10 key skills on your resume. However, instead of just simply listing those skills, consider providing bullet points that illustrate specific examples. 
Here’s an example of what a communications professional might have on their resume—and how they can transform these skills into active examples to make a much bigger impact:
  • Show Leadership: Advocate for high-performing team members.
  • Show Communication: Elevate clients through strategic public relations campaigns. 
  • Show Time Management + Organizational Skills: Streamline content creation processes by evaluating and introducing new management platforms. 
  • Show Management Experience: Recruit diverse talent. 
  • Show Accomplishments: Consistently outperform KPIs by 10%. 
That is just an example for one specific industry, but if you’re looking for additional action verbs to amplify your skills on your resume, check out the below chart.
Instead of listing these skills, provide specific examples using these active synonyms!
action verbs on resume to show skills
  • Leadership
    Motivate; Shape; Advocate; Propel; Orchestrate; Operate
  • Communication
    Write; Edit; Elevate; Liaise; Illustrate; Lobby; Promote
  • Detail-orientation 
    Handle; Prepare; Organize; Process
  • Time management
    Prioritize; Delegate; Streamline; Consolidate; Decrease
  • Problem-solving
    Analyze; Evaluate; Diagnose
  • Management
    Cultivate; Foster; Mentor; Recruit; Train; Drew
  • Research
    Assess; Explore; Quantify; Qualify; Survey
  • Accomplishments
    Succeed; Outperform; Demonstrate

Using Industry-Specific Action Verbs

Resumes are not one size fits all, and it’s important to pay attention to the keywords in a job description and adjust it depending on what’s listed.
Hiring managers can tell if potential candidates took the time to customize their resumes for the specific role, or if they are probably sending out the same version to everyone. This tailored language will also show that you have the qualifications to understand and excel at the role. 
If you’re struggling to find industry-specific action verbs, here are some examples that might help amp up your resume: 
industry-specific action verbs
  • Information Technology
    Fortified; Standardized; Repaired; Re-engineered; Deployed
  • Marketing & Communications
    Transformed; Instituted; Facilitated; Identified; Empowered; Promoted; Influenced
  • Sales
    Expedited; Delivered; Sustained; Capitalized; Outpaced
  • Education 
    Advised; Advocated; Informed; Resolved; Encouraged; Moderated; Counseled; Served
  • Engineering
    Calculated; Constructed; Programmed; Converted; Installed
  • Human Services
    Assisted; Co-facilitated; Located; Referred; Intervened; Fielded; Determined
  • Healthcare
    Admitted; Assessed; Counseled; Monitored; Prevented

Resume Resources

At the end of the day, remember to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and consider what you would want to see in a resume if roles were reversed and you were the one hiring for the position. If you are in the process of crafting the perfect resume, here are some resources to check out.
If you need more ideas for strong action verbs to use on your resume, all you have to do is Google synonyms and action verbs, and a whole library of words will be available to you. 
If you’re ready to revamp your resume but not quite sure where to begin, SoulWork & Six Figures offers Your Soulful LinkedIn & Resume Revamp Session, which provides a fully executed resume  and LinkedIn profile that will improve your resume in just 24 hours. 
If you have a mentor who you trust in your industry, consider meeting with them to discuss how you can improve your resume. They might have some great insight!
College students, check out the career center at your school to find out if they offer free resume consultations. 

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