Resume Action Words

What are resume action words?

Resume action words are action-oriented words used in a resume that demonstrate action, accomplishment, and activity. They are verbs showing you as the active force instead of a passive spectator.

Resume Action Words are words used in place of passive words that don’t have the same impact.

For example; the words “responsible for” seem passive and don’t make an impression but action words like “drove” or “managed” or “accomplished” show intention.

Worn out phrases make for dull reading. Remembering again that a resume my only be read for a few seconds the first time, it’s important to grab the reader’s attention by making your resume sizzle.

Here is an example of a typical statement that might be found on a manager's resume:

-Responsible for increased productivity in the engineering group

While this statement shows some involvement in the management process, it's passive and doesn't suggest action. Now, look at what action words do for this statement.

-Led dramatic productivity improvement in engineering group

Doesn't the use of the action word "led" give this statement more impact? Doesn’t it suggest someone who is dynamic and successful?

Here is the same accomplishment with a different action word:

-Directed an engineering group to increased productivity

The word “directed” shows more action and intention than the words “responsible for” and would also grab the reader’s interest.

Here is another example:

-Duties included increasing territory sales by 25%

*yawn* That's nice, so what? Duties included blah, blah, blah. This is not a very interesting statement. Now, compare that statement to this one:

-Drove a 25% increase in territory sales

This is more interesting isn't it? Doesn't the action word “drove” suggest action and intention? Doesn't this suggest someone who can make things happen?

With a statement like this, a reader interested in increasing sales, you can bet they'll want to know how this candidate increased sales by 25%.

Remember, use action words to give your resume more sizzle because this will get you more interviews.

Click on the link below to see our list of suggested action words.

Click here to see a list of common action words.

To see more about this targeted resume approach, click here to see our Resume FAQ

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