Professional holding her resume in front of her laptop holding a pencil to make edits and add more resume action verbs

The right choice of words can transform your resume from a boring, generic document into an exciting, impressive read. How do you do it? With resume action verbs! Power-packed words convey your accomplishments and differentiate you from other candidates. 

What are action verbs?

If all the words on your resume were characters in a movie, action verbs would be the stars. The other words would be extras in the background, doing ordinary things like walking down the street or waiting in line. On the other hand, action verbs would be the ones doing the exciting stunts and saying all the clever catchphrases. 

Action verbs describe doing something–she jumped out of her seat when the quarterback threw the football, for example. They differ from ‘being’ verbs that don’t show any action, like is or are

Action verbs make for more powerful writing. To demonstrate, take this example sentence that uses a being verb:

Steve was late to the meeting. 

Okay, so we know Steve didn’t show up on time. But here’s a different version of the sentence using action verbs. 

Steve rushed into the meeting and spilled his coffee as he stumbled into his seat. 

It doesn’t even say outright that Steve was late, but the reader can instantly tell he’s in a hurry and flustered as a result.

Action verbs make it easy to picture exactly what’s going on, with added context you don’t get from being verbs. 

Why should you use action verbs on your resume?

Using action verbs on your resume conveys your accomplishments accurately and positions you in the best possible light as a candidate.

Action verbs are highly descriptive, which makes them ideal for use on a resume where you’re trying to pack a lot of meaning in a limited space. They show what you did in more specific, impressive terms than a generic verb. 

They also provide additional information. Depending on which action verb you choose, they can communicate urgency, speed, importance, and more, which is useful when you’re trying to showcase certain qualifications. Instead of saying you completed a project, which is pretty basic, you might say you directed it to show leadership, brainstormed it to show creative thinking, or streamlined it to show project management skills. 

Finally, action verbs are more exciting to read. When you’re competing against dozens of candidates with similar credentials, there’s going to be a lot of repetition in the resumes. Action verbs help yours stand out and capture the interest of a busy hiring manager. 

Need help creating your resume from scratch? Browse our sample resumes and recommendations, or enlist in a professional service like BeamJobs!

Resume action verbs to help you stand out

Ready to power up your resume language? Here are 150+ action verbs to help you out. We’ve grouped them by skill type to help you quickly find the perfect word. 

Action verbs for working on a project 

  • Administered
  • Arranged
  • Built
  • Conducted
  • Devised
  • Enhanced
  • Established
  • Executed
  • Facilitated
  • Founded
  • Implemented
  • Initiated
  • Instituted
  • Launched
  • Managed
  • Navigated
  • Oversaw
  • Planned
  • Ran
  • Shaped
  • Spearheaded

Action verbs for problem-solving

  • Adjusted
  • Formulated
  • Mediated
  • Modernized
  • Overcame
  • Overhauled
  • Rebuilt
  • Reimagined
  • Repaired
  • Resolved
  • Revamped
  • Simplified
  • Solved
  • Streamlined
  • Strengthened
  • Transformed
  • Transitioned

Action verbs for creative work 

  • Authored
  • Brainstormed
  • Composed
  • Conceived
  • Conceptualized
  • Crafted
  • Created
  • Curated
  • Customized
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Drafted
  • Drew
  • Edited
  • Experimented
  • Illustrated
  • Introduced
  • Invented
  • Outlined
  • Pitched
  • Produced

Action verbs for customer service

  • Addressed
  • Advised
  • Assisted
  • Clarified
  • Consulted
  • Counseled
  • Demonstrated
  • Empathized
  • Guided
  • Informed
  • Listened
  • Recommended
  • Referred
  • Responded

Action verbs for technical work

  • Activated
  • Debugged
  • Diagnosed
  • Engineered
  • Mapped
  • Modeled
  • Monitored
  • Parsed
  • Programmed
  • Quantified
  • Repaired
  • Restored

Action verbs for research and data

  • Analyzed
  • Assessed
  • Certified
  • Compiled
  • Determined
  • Discovered
  • Evaluated
  • Examined
  • Explored
  • Inspected
  • Interpreted
  • Investigated
  • Predicted
  • Projected
  • Studied
  • Verified
  • Visualized

Action verbs for working on a team

  • Adapted
  • Aided
  • Assisted
  • Collaborated
  • Cooperated
  • Integrated
  • Organized
  • Partnered
  • Represented
  • Resolved
  • Strategized
  • Unified
  • United
  • Volunteered

Action verbs for leading others

  • Coached
  • Delegated
  • Directed
  • Encouraged
  • Enforced
  • Guided
  • Inspired
  • Instructed
  • Led
  • Mobilized
  • Motivated
  • Oversaw
  • Pioneered
  • Supervised
  • Trained

Action verbs for persuasion

  • Advocated
  • Assured
  • Campaigned
  • Championed
  • Convinced
  • Educated
  • Influenced
  • Proved
  • Sold

Action verbs for achievements

  • Accomplished
  • Achieved
  • Attained
  • Delivered
  • Earned
  • Exceeded
  • Executed
  • Expedited
  • Mastered
  • Maximized
  • Outperformed
  • Realized
  • Showcased
  • Surpassed
  • Won

As you choose words from this list, remember that not all action verbs pack an equal punch. Though the word participated is technically an action verb, it’s a pretty weak one. A word like collaborated, supported, or facilitated would be a stronger choice. Before sending in your application, scan your resume for weak verbs that could be replaced with more powerful ones.

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Pete Newsome is the founder of zengig, which he created after more than two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also President of 4 Corner Resources, the Forbes America's Best Staffing and Recruiting Firm he founded in 2005, and is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance. In addition to his passion for staffing, Pete is now committed to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn