Using action verbs in your resume is a simple way to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your resume. Action verbs help you accomplish three of the 5 C's of Resume Writing (see Resume Tips).

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Concise: Starting phrases with action verbs helps you avoid using personal pronouns and diluting words like "I was responsible for ..."

Convincing: Using powerful action verbs like Negotiated, Invented, Increased, etc. at the beginning of each phrase makes the reader want to continue reading to find out what you did.

Consistent: Starting each bullet point using a verb helps you maintain a consistent grammatical style throughout your resume.

Action Verbs by Skills / Industries

Below is a categorized list of action verbs that I compiled from various sources (see refs [1] and [2]) and from reviewing many sample resumes.

Tip: Another handy way to find more action verbs is to use the Thesaurus (Shift+F7) in Microsoft Word.


General Achievements

Accelerated
Achieved
Attained
Completed
Convinced
Discovered
Doubled
Earned
Eliminated
Expanded
Expedited
Founded
Improved
Increased
Launched
Mastered
Originated
Overcame
Overhauled
Pioneered
Reduced
Spearheaded
Strengthened
Transformed
Upgraded
Won

Management Skills

Administered
Analyzed
Assigned
Attained
Chaired
Conceived
Consolidated
Contracted
Coordinated
Decided
Delegated
Developed
Directed
Encouraged
Evaluated
Executed
Handled
Implemented
Improved
Increased
Inspired
Led
Managed
Motivated
Organized
Oversaw
Planned
Prioritized
Produced
Recommended
Reorganized
Reviewed
Revitalized
Scheduled
Spearheaded
Strengthened
Supervised
Transformed

Communication Skills

Addressed
Arbitrated
Arranged
Authored
Co-Authored
Collaborated
Corresponded
Counseled
Defined
Developed
Directed
Drafted
Edited
Enlisted
Formulated
Influenced
Interpreted
Lectured
Mediated
Moderated
Motivated
Negotiated
Persuaded
Presented
Promoted
Proposed
Publicized
Published
Reconciled
Recruited
Resolved
Spoke
Summarized
Translated
Wrote


Technical Skills

Clarified
Collected
Compiled
Critiqued
Detected
Diagnosed
Evaluated
Examined
Extracted
Identified
Inspected
Interpreted
Interviewed
Investigated
Organized
Published
Reported
Researched
Reviewed
Studied
Summarized
Surveyed
Systematized

Research Skills

Analyzed
Assembled
Built
Calculated
Computed
Designed
Devised
Engineered
Fabricated
Installed
Maintained
Operated
Overhauled
Pinpointed
Programmed
Remodeled
Repaired
Solved
Trained
Troubleshot
Upgraded



Creative Skills

Acted
Composed
Conceived
Conceptualized
Created
Customized
Designed
Developed
Directed
Discovered
Established
Fashioned
Founded
Illustrated
Innovated
Instituted
Integrated
Introduced
Invented
Originated
Performed
Pioneered
Planned
Produced
Revised
Revitalized
Set Up
Shaped
Streamlined
Structured




Teaching Skills

Adapted
Advised
Clarified
Coached
Communicated
Conducted
Coordinated
Defined
Developed
Enabled
Encouraged
Evaluated
Explained
Facilitated
Guided
Informed
Initiated
Instructed
Lectured
Persuaded
Presented
Set Goals
Stimulated
Taught
Team-Taught
Trained
Tutored
Updated

Clerical Skills

Approved
Arranged
Assembled
Catalogued
Classified
Collected
Compiled
Dispatched
Edited
Executed
Filed
Generated
Implemented
Inspected
Listed
Monitored
Operated
Organized
Prepared
Processed
Purchased
Recorded
Retrieved
Screened
Specified
Systematized
Tabulated
Validated

Financial Skills

Adjusted
Administered
Allocated
Analyzed
Appraised
Audited
Balanced
Budgeted
Calculated
Compared
Computed
Developed
Estimated
Forecasted
Increased
Managed
Marketed
Planned
Projected
Reconciled
Reduced
Researched
Sold

Helping Skills

Aided
Assessed
Assisted
Clarified
Coached
Consulted
Counseled
Demonstrated
Diagnosed
Educated
Encouraged
Expedited
Facilitated
Familiarized
Gave
Guided
Helped
Inspired
Motivated
Participated
Provided
Referred
Rehabilitated
Reinforced
Represented
Resolved
Served
Strengthened
Supported
Taught
Trained
Verified


Sales Skills

Built
Collected
Conducted
Convinced
Delivered
Distributed
Doubled
Expanded
Expedited
Improved
Increased
Installed
Launched
Managed
Negotiated
Ordered
Performed
Performed
Sold
Streamlined
Supervised
Tripled


Medical Skills

Aided
Assisted
Consulted
Decreased
Detected
Diagnosed
Evaluated
Examined
Handled
Helped
Identified
Increased
Performed
Rehabilitated
Researched
Served
Strengthened
Studied
Trained
Treated
 

References

  • [1] The Damn Good Resume Guide by Yana Parker, Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, via careers.unc.edu
  • [2] To Boldly Go: Practical Career Advice for Scientists, by Peter S. Fiske, via web.mit.edu
Disclaimer: The information on this page is for educational purposes only.

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