Being able to write a professional resume that is going to have recruiters reaching out to book interviews requires you to add some punch with powerful action verbs! The type of positions you are applying for will determine the action verbs you should be using – these should be included as part of your resume’s keyword strategy. Let’s learn more, look at some examples, and then we’ll get to the list of 50+ powerful action verbs you need to use on your resume!
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Your resume needs to use concise language to grab the attention of the person screening applications. Using action verbs to demonstrate your previous experience and how applicable it is to the position you are applying for – will set you apart from hundreds or even thousands of candidates applying for the same jobs you are!
In this post, I will cover everything you need to know about action verbs, why you need to include them on your resume, and how to include them.
Some of the common questions that I’ll answer for you include:
- What are action words/action statements in a resume?
- What are good action verbs that you should include on your resume?
- What are weak action verbs that you should not include on your resume?
- What are some examples of action words that should be included in a resume?
- And we’ll wrap it up with a list of 50+ action verbs that you need to use on your resume!
Now, let’s start learning about powerful action verbs and how using the right ones can dramatically affect the content of your resume.
What Are Action Verbs?
Action verbs are words used to describe what a person or thing is doing. When used on a resume, you use them to explain the tasks you complete in your job(s), your current and previous jobs. You should use power-packed, strong action verbs to detail your experience and achievements.
What Are Good Action Verbs To Use On A Resume?
When used correctly, action verbs will closely match the information a company has provided on their job description – which you will find within a job advertisement. When writing the experience section of your resume, you should add powerful action verbs to both your position summary and as well your selected achievements. The action verbs within your summary will follow regular sentence format; whereas, in your selected achievements, you will start each bullet point with a powerful action verb.
The most important rule of thumb to follow is to first look at the language used by the employer in the job ad, and select verbs specific to the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job the employer is looking for. Determine what the job action statements require and match your resume action statements to the requirements. This is also an important tip to help you beat an applicant tracking system (ATS) scan.
For example, if you are applying for a job that requires numerical analysis, you will want to include verbs such as: quantified, forecasted, analyzed, calculated, etc. in your resume.
What Are Weak Action Verbs That You Should Avoid Using On Your Resume?
The “weak” action verbs that you often hear about are the ones that are most commonly used and are very general.
For example “responsible for…”
Now don’t get me wrong, it is okay to use “responsible for” don’t think you will not get call-backs on your resume if you are using it. And sometimes it is the only way you can describe something. But, it can be redundant and try to find ways to spruce up what you did. When writing your selected achievements try to use action verbs that match the job specifications – you should be able to avoid using “responsible for…” in this section of your resume.
Other examples of weak action verbs include: led, coordinated, worked on, etc.
When you use weak action verbs, you’ll blend in with the other candidates who are applying for the same job you are. Spice things up while taking note of the language the job post uses to explain the job responsibilities and experience required to perform the job.
Show them what you’ve got what they want!
What Are Some Examples?
Okay so I have said it several times now, look at the language used within the job post to first understand what the company is looking for. Once you review this, then use it to tailor your resume.
Here are some example of how you should take the information included in a job post and tailor your resume:
Financial Analyst position details taken from a real job advertisement:
- Reach out to vendors for pending statements, reconcile accounts and payment discrepancies
- Review financial statements and reports
- Update expense files and prepare monthly expense forecast
Sample statements to use in your resume that are packed with powerful action verbs matching the job requirements:
- Calculated payment discrepancies and reconciled variances with vendors…
- Audited financial statements and reports…
- Forecasted monthly expense projections…
- Accurately updated and analyzed revenue and expense files…
See how I have included keywords used in the job description and tied the action verbs into terminology directly related to a job in financial analysis. Being able to calculate, audit, forecast, analyze, with accuracy, are all important in that type of job.
Alright now that we have gone through that, here is a list of powerful action verbs that you should consider incorporating into your resume. This is not an exhaustive list of all verbs that you can include, just a list of my personal favorites in alphabetical order.
But, before we look at the full list, I want to highlight that I have listed them all in the past tense. When writing or updating your resume all previous experience should be in past-tense and the present-tense should be used for current jobs. Take a look at this post for more tips on updating your resume.
Here is Your List of 50+ Powerful Action Verbs You Need to Use on Your Resume
Can you see how using these strong action verbs will elevate your resume and set you apart from other job candidates?
Alright, so we have looked at action words/action statements in a resume, good action verbs that you should include, weak action verbs that you should avoid, and examples of how to include them.
As a reminder, always be honest on your resume, don’t stretch the truth just to get the verbs in!
I am so excited for you to start adding more power to your resume and implement the tips I have provided to you in this post your resume is sure to stand out by incorporating the list of 50+ powerful action verbs you need to use on your resume.