Action Verbs List for Resumes and Cover Letters
Recruiters read through hundreds of resumes, and so you have a limited amount of time to catch their attention. When writing a resume, it is important to avoid weak and passive verbs, as they can undermine the strength and effectiveness of your resume. Instead, you should use powerful action verbs to make your resume stand out. In this article, we provide you with an action verbs list, along with some tips on how to use them on your resume.
What are action verbs?
Action verbs are words that express an action. in a resume, action verbs are used to highlight your skills, experience and accomplishments. They are specific. These verbs clarify your contributions and bring a confident tone to your resume. Using action words that are unique and powerful can increase your chances of capturing an employer's attention and moving to the next step in the hiring process. Here is an example:
Lacks strength and clarity: "Held weekly status meetings to share client updates."
Empowered and detailed: "Spearheaded weekly status meetings to communicate agency revenue growth."
Can you see how the second option is stronger and more detailed? The action verbs make your contribution clear and impactful.
Action verbs list for your resume
Reviewing an action verb list will help you understand how impactful they are when added to your resume. Below, you will find several action words grouped by impact type so you can select the most relevant words for your resume:
Action verbs to showcase accomplishments
The right action verbs can make your accomplishments sound more impactful. Here are some examples:
Action verbs to explain responsibilities
Here are some examples of action verbs that you can use when describing your previous roles and responsibilities:
Read more: How To Make a Resume (With Examples)
Action verbs to express communication skills
When used properly within a resume, the following words can help emphasise your communication skills:
Action verbs for creative experience
Here are some examples of power words you can use to describe your creative experience on a resume:
Read more: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
Action verbs for sales experience
These are some powerful words you can use to describe your sales experience:
Action verbs for leadership and management
It is important to avoid using clichés like "kick-started" or "helped" on your resume for leadership and management roles. Here are some words you can use:
Action verbs for experience with finance
Here are some compelling resume words you can use to describe your experience working as a finance professional:
Read more: How To Make a Resume for Your First Job
Action verbs for technical experience
Here are some examples of powerful verbs you can use on your resume or cover letter to describe your technical experience:
Tips for using action verbs in your resume
Here are a few tips you can use for using actions verbs in your resume effectively:
Use action verbs in combination with quantifiable results
Combine your selection of action verbs with quantifiable results to show both what you did and the effect it had. This makes the use of action verbs more impactful, as the recruiter quickly and clearly understands how your contribution affected the final outcome. This tells recruiters your contributions were not just a part of a bigger effort, but you had a clear role, which you played well.
Mentioning quantifiable results may also lead to these numbers getting discussed in the interview and this may give you further opportunities to highlight your achievements.
Example: “Championed use of user feedback in programme improvements, resulting in 50% boost in customer satisfaction ratings.”
Include action verbs in bullet points
An effective way to include action verbs in your resume is to use them as the first words in bulleted sentences. This makes the sentences easy to read and helps the action words stand out. For example, you can write a few bulleted sentences in each section of your resume and use action verbs as the first words for all these sentences.
"Lead Project Paperless Workplace, a project initiated from the MD's office, part of the larger Digital Transformation initiative."
"Conducted an exhaustive market analysis to understand Machine Learning practices being followed in Production Services across the industry."
Make sure sentences containing action words are crisp and concise
To get the maximum impact out of a sentence containing an action verb, keep it crisp and concise. Employers are more likely to read sentences that are short and to the point. If a sentence is unnecessarily lengthy, the recruiter may not fully read it and skip the most important part of the message. So make sure your sentences are engaging enough to retain the recruiter's interest until the end.
Example: "Elected as Student Coordinator from a pool of 15 candidates, shortlisted from 100+ applicants"
Make action verbs stand out
Use proper formatting to enhance the impact of your action words. For example, you may choose to bold the action verbs or the entire sentence containing such a verb. This makes the power words stand out visually and the chances of a recruiter reading these sentences increase greatly.
However, you must make these formatting changes so that the resume still looks professional. For example, you should not use fancy or informal colours or fonts. This would make you appear casual about the position or opportunity you are applying for.
What verbs are beneficial to resumes
What verbs would be the most beneficial to your resume depends on several factors. The first thing you should do is to read the job description provided carefully. This will help you in understanding what skills are being sought and you can then use the appropriate action words in your resume. You may also do some research about the company, like going through the company website or their official social media accounts. This will help you understand the company culture and you can use this information while selecting the right action verbs for your resume.
Examples of sentences with action verbs in a resume
Here are a few examples of how action verbs can be used in a sentence:
Implemented Key Account Management and devised the customer success management strategy, with a focus on retention and cross-selling
Evaluated financial and operational aspects of the GL OE and after-sales/spares business to assist the VP in data-driven decision making
Managed the Salesforce integration of the two Salesforce instances post company's acquisition of the global business
Lead Project Paperless Workplace, a project initiated from the MD's office, part of the larger Digital Transformation initiative
Conducted an exhaustive market analysis to understand Machine Learning practices being followed in Production Services across the industry
Performed competitor analysis of major fintech, tech and IT companies to understand recent developments in ML in Production Services
Analysed the recent developments across the industry and provided recommendations for better implementation of ML capabilities
Served as Point-of-Contact with client team for several modules for regular updates and issued a resolution with processes and deliverables
Conducted in-house knowledge transfer sessions for fellow employees as SME (Subject Matter Expert) for tools developed by the team
Upgraded one complete data analytics module for the EMEA region and implemented the same for the APAC region
Served as Point-of-Contact with several domestic/international banks as a support team member for issue resolution and bug fixes
Trained and managed incoming employees as a mentor under the employee induction program, validated their tasks and provided feedback
Received the highest feedback from both domestic and international clients for efficient issue resolution as a support team member
Contributed content to the company blog, with a focus on generating maximum user click-throughs
Performed search engine optimisation for better page visibility using On-Page SEO techniques
Elected as Student Coordinator from a pool of 15 candidates, shortlisted from 100+ applicants
Initiated the process for launching and printing the official college magazine
Awarded for achieving the second rank in the entire science stream in class XI
Secured winning position in the annual flagship event of Marketing Club
Volunteered in the CSR program, which involved spending time with underprivileged children
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