40 Action Verbs That Will Get Your Resume Read

Posted: 08/12/14 | Category: Resume

Ever felt a sense of déjà vu? It’s that maddening sensation that you’re repeating things ad nauseam. For hiring managers reading stacks of generic resumes, it’s all part of a typical day. Page after page blends together. Stale verbs make one resume indistinguishable from the rest. That’s why when the rare job seeker uses action verbs that stand out, that person is bound to get more than the standard 6 seconds of attention.

Not all words pack the same punch

Some words in your resume, thanks to regular overuse, aren’t as beguiling as others. Think of boring verbs like worked, made, led, used, helped, moved, produced, or created. Are they functional? Yes. Do they pique excitement or prompt action? No.

Other resume words create a large degree of uncertainty in your abilities. An obvious weak verb is try, but there are plenty of others (i.e. kept, continued, sustained, and supported) that at best flop around on deck.

Action verbs are never placeholders. Each one electrifies the power of your message. If used right, they convey something distinct that another word couldn’t.

Picking the right words in your resume

So, how do you separate the scrubs from the saplings? Always seek out words with precise definitions. Strong resume words are never ambiguous. When writing your resume, it’s okay to start with broad and simple verbs. However, you should weed them out during the writing process.

Want an example?

Let’s say you led a long-term project that garnered thousands of revenue dollars for the company. Yet the word led lacks any level of oomph. Any of these action verbs can give your resume some much needed heft: 

1.) Commanded
2.) Helmed
3.) Launched
4.) Initiated
5.) Spearheaded
6.) Presided Over
7.) Orchestrated
8.) Coordinated

Each one is a strong verb in its own right, yet still conveys its own individual message. Want some more? These can help you spit shine even the most drab-looking resume.

Verbs that highlight your curiosity

Is an open position asking for job seekers with natural curiosity? Inserting curious and curiosity is too heavy-handed. These action verbs allow you to highlight your inquisitive nature with a pinch of finesse:

9.) Explored
10.) Investigated
11.) Scrutinized
12.) Delved Into
13.) Inspected
14.) Evaluated
15.) Examined
16.) Weighed

Verbs that highlight your problem-solving skills

Problem solvers are a universal commodity. Fixed or overcame are faded and overused. The following words in your resume, however, are still crisp and fresh:

17.) Reconciled
18.) Rectified
19.) Surmounted
20.) Exceeded
21.) Surpassed
22.) Prevailed Over
23.) Revitalized
24.) Amended

Verbs that highlight your team spirit

How do you highlight team spirit? Prove you can amicably present your case and collaborate with others. These action verbs show you won’t create any unneeded turbulence on projects.

25.) Negotiated
26.) Converted
27.) Moderated
28.) Ameliorated
29.) Arranged
30.) Mediated
31.) Accommodated
32.) Resolved

Verbs that highlight your ability to create

In the tech world, people with ideas are considered rock stars, yet all industries value people who can foster projects from the ground up. Since created and built are rigid at best, try these resume words instead:

33.) Constructed
34.) Devised
35.) Forged
36.) Invented
37.) Shaped
38.) Fabricated
39.) Formulated
40.) Pioneered

On a final note:

Want more verbs? Get your hands on a thesaurus. The thesaurus often gets overlooked, but when hunting down awesome resume words, it’s one of your best tools. It allows you to cherry-pick verbs that fit and give you enough flair to stand out in the eyes of hiring managers.

by James Walsh

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