An effective resume is all about highlighting your accomplishments and verbs are essential to this task. But not just any verb will do. The same tired verbs for resumes like “led”, “managed” and “was responsible for” are a yawn. Action verbs are the key to spicing things up and catching the attention of hiring managers.

Which candidate would you want to interview? One who “led a team of 10 responsible for growing sales” or one who “recruited and guided a team of 10 responsible for stimulating sales”? The latter one certainly sounds more impressive.

As an executive recruiter in the manufacturing industry, conveying concrete results is especially important. I always review the resumes of candidates I work with to make sure they are using the best possible action verbs to communicate their impressive accomplishments.

Action verbs for resume purposes must be relevant in addition to impactful. Start by examining the job description. What verbs are used? What accomplishments would show this employer that you are qualified?

Make a list of common verbs that you think are applicable. Then brainstorm resume power words that you can use to replace the common ones. Here are some examples:

If you led a project try:
• Directed
• Supervised
• Executed
• Headed
• Orchestrated
• Chaired

If you managed a team try:
• Recruited
• Motivated
• Guided
• Enabled
• Counseled
• Trained
• Administered
• Headed

If you boosted profits or other metrics:
• Hiked
• Raised
• Expanded
• Lifted
• Grew
• Furthered
• Amplified
If you developed a project try:
• Created
• Executed
• Initiated
• Built
• Undertook
• Designed
• Piloted
• Established
• Pioneered
• Spearheaded
• Initiated

If you cut costs or made your company more efficient try:
• Consolidated
• Maximized
• Diagnosed
• Streamlined
• Conserved
• Yielded
• Leaned out
• Simplified
• Cut down
• Reduced
• Shortened

If you improved or changed something:
• Altered
• Converted
• Reoriented
• Revamped
• Overhauled
• Modernized
• Reexamined
• Advanced
• Reformed

Complete this exercise for each accomplishment. Thesauruses are fantastic tools for stimulating your creativity. Look up several words related to each accomplishment to find the word that best captures the nuance of what you want to convey.

Tell us what actions verbs you’ve used on your resume in the comments.


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