Action Words to Use in Resumes

The words you choose to use in your resume are a key way to show your strengths. Well-chosen action words, or power words, give you the opportunity to clearly describe your prior responsibilities and accomplishments.

Benefits of Using Action Words

There are four main reasons to use action words in your resume.

  1. They make sentences easier to understand, so you avoid confusion.
  2. They make sentences more concise, so you’re not wasting the hiring manager’s time.
  3. They make your writing more impactful–portraying you as the ideal candidate for the position.
  4. They make your writing more persuasive, thus increasing your odds of being asked to come in for an interview

Fresh Alternatives to Overused Resume Action Words

Action words are the verbs used to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Each bullet point in a resume typically starts with an action word, which is why it’s important to vary your language and choose words that best describe what you did. Instead of resorting to endless repetitions of “achieved” and “led”, try varying your language with some of the following suggestions.


Attained Demonstrated Reached Surpassed
Awarded Earned Outperformed
Completed Exceeded Succeeded


Allocated Calculated Inventoried Reduced
Appraised Compared Invested
Assessed Conserved Planned
Audited Corrected Projected
Balanced Forecasted Quantified


Centralized Merged Restructured Streamlined
Clarified Modified Revamped Strengthened
Converted Overhauled Simplified Updated
Customized Replaced Standardized Upgraded


Administered Designed Formed Instituted
Built Developed Formulated Introduced
Charted Devised Implemented Launched
Constructed Engineered Incorporated
Defined Established Initiated


Advocated Clarified Encouraged Referred
Aided Coached Facilitated Supported
Answered Counseled Guided
Arranged Demonstrated Motivated
Assisted Educated Provided


Accelerated Enhanced Gained Lifted
Advanced Expanded Generated Maximized
Amplified Furthered Improved


Administered Executed Mentored Presided
Chaired Headed Moderated Spearheaded
Controlled Hosted Orchestrated
Directed Mediated Oversaw


Arranged Compiled Maintained Reviewed
Catalogued Filed Monitored Sorted
Categorized Inspected Processed
Collected Logged Recorded


Collaborated Contributed Listened Shared
Combined Coordinated Represented


Analyzed Discovered Interpreted Tested
Assessed Evaluated Measured Tracked
Audited Examined Quantified
Calculated Identified Surveyed


Authored Corresponded Documented Persuaded
Co-authored Counseled Drafted Promoted
Condensed Critiqued Edited Publicized
Composed Defined Explained Reviewed

Context Is Key

While this list of action words should give you some inspiration for creating a more effective resume, remember that context is key. The words in this list are not all interchangeable synonyms. For example, the words “presided” or “chaired” are appropriate for describing a position leading a professional committee. If you were a referring to supervising a team of junior employees, you might use “directed” or “mentored” to more accurately describe what you did.

Once you’ve created a rough draft of your resume, ask a friend to help you proofread the document to make sure the words you’ve selected are appropriate for your particular needs.

And now you have selected your action words take a look at Examples of Resume Objectives to find out if an objective statement is right for your resume.

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