400+ Action Verbs to use for a Job Application in 2023
Action verbs are words that describe actions. Good action words for resumes can be the difference between getting a job or not. They can make your skills shine, put your work experience into perspective and emphasize the power of your achievements. When used throughout your job application, they tell your professional story and give hiring managers insight into your capabilities, not just your qualifications.
In this guide, we will:
- Provide more than 400 action words for you to use in your resume or CV, cover letter, letter of intent, elevator pitch and interview.
- Give you tips for using action words throughout your job application.
- Offer examples to help you use resume action verbs effectively.
Action Verb Examples
Action words for top jobs
45 Action verbs for teachers
When you’re in charge of a classroom, you can tell employers that you teach, but so will every other teacher. Try some of these active verbs instead:
45 List of action words for registered nurses
As a registered nurse, you give a lot to your patients. These power words for a resume will help you articulate exactly what you do.
45 Action words to use in a resume for accountants
Being in charge of finances is a big task. Adding some of these verbs for resumes will give your job descriptions an edge.
45 Action verbs for technical project managers
You make sure things get done. Describe how you manage tasks with the following list of resume action words.
45 Power verbs for software engineers
You develop, create and improve valuable software applications. This resume verbs list will help you bring your accomplishments to life.
45 Resume action verbs for waitresses
You do a lot more than serve customers. Impress hiring managers with the full range of your skill set with these strong resume action verbs.
Resume objectives are useful when you’re starting out or changing careers. Check out these 50+ Resume Objective Examples and Writing Tips for inspiration when adding power words to your resume objective.
Make a resume with
My Perfect Resume
Our Resume builder can help you write the perfect resume. Start Now!
Action verbs for top industries
10 Good resume action words for the administrative industry
Give impact to your daily tasks with these action words.
10 Resume verbs list for the culinary industry
Workers in the culinary industry wear a lot of hats. Express your talents with these good action words for your resume.
10 Resume action words list for the transportation industry
Not sure how to describe your job history? This resume action words list for the transportation industry can get you moving in the right direction.
10 Power verbs for resumes in the customer service industry
As a job seeker in the customer service industry, you have a diverse range of skills. Present them powerfully with these strong resume action verbs.
10 Resume action words list for the medical industry
If you work in the medical industry, you give your all to others. Emphasize your abilities with these action verbs to make your resume compelling.
Combining resume action words with numbers packs a punch.
Action words to use in a resume skills section
30 Power words to showcase leadership skills
Show you’re in charge with these action words for resumes.
30 Action words to emphasize analytical thinking
Not sure how to present your impeccable analytical abilities? Try these resume action verbs out for size.
30 Action words for a resume to display interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are highly valued in most industries. Show employers how you put yours to use by incorporating the following resume action verbs into your job history.
30 Resume verbs to convey creativity
Showcase the ideas, projects, programs, or products you make with the following power verbs for your resume.
30 Good resume verbs to highlight technical expertise
Try some of these verbs for resumes to highlight your expertise and give your job application a lift.
Keywords are just as important in a resume as action words. But What are Resume Keywords and How Can They Help You?
Action verbs to describe accomplishments
10 Strong resume action verbs to describe sales achievements
Have you surpassed a sales goal? Saved money for a company? Wow employers with these resume verbs.
10 Verbs to use on a resume to showcase getting a promotion
Good job! You’ve made it to the next level. Highlight your accomplishment with these action words.
10 Action verbs for a resume to display awards
If you made employee of the month or best manager ever, don’t hide it! These verbs for resumes will help you stand out.
10 Action words for a resume to list inventions or innovations
Did your great idea make a difference? Use this list of resume action verbs to illuminate your vision.
10 Active verbs for a resume to explain process or procedure improvements
Use these action words to convey how you have increased efficiency for an organization.
Tips for using action words + Examples
Verbs for resumes can be applied to every step of the job application process, including interviews. Choose a variety of action verbs for your resume and use a resume template to customize your resume in our Resume Builder.
How to use verbs for resumes
Resume verbs can be used in almost every resume section to describe responsibilities, accomplishments and skills. Use a mix of power verbs for a resume and make them the first word of each bullet point.
Refer to our resume action word lists on this page for ideas.
In a professional summary or objective statement
Using strong action verbs in a resume summary or objective statement makes a big impact because they are the first things hiring managers see after the contact information section. Use two to three action words in this section to compel hiring managers to want to read through your resume.
Example: Human resources associate with four years of experience skilled in onboarding and training. Career highlights include instituting a new-employee training program for a 400+ employee startup, reducing recruitment lead time by 25% and increasing employee satisfaction by 40%.
In a resume work history section
Since your resume work history section should spotlight accomplishments and not responsibilities, the best verbs for resume employment sections are those that convey achievements. Start each job accomplishment with an action verb.
- Exceeded monthly customer leads target every month for two quarters.
- Increased organic search traffic by 50% within three months post-launch.
- Established reward system for students, resulting in marked improvement in test scores
Most often, the skills section of a resume is made up of lists of hard and soft skills to underscore a job applicant’s ability to perform the job, and that’s a great way to display them. However, it’s acceptable to explain how you used them by using strong resume action verbs to make your skills stand out.
Example: To explain how you used leadership skills, you could write something like ”Spearheaded an integrated marketing campaign that boosted sales by 15% in the first quarter.”
In an education section
You might use action words on a resume education section to display awards, honors, a high GPA, or a title.
- Attained a 4.0 GPA three years in a row.
- Earned the Magna Cum Laude distinction.
- Honored with Academic Excellence Award, 2018.
Want more ideas for using action verbs in your resume? We have more than 800 professional resume examples for most job titles and industries.
How to use resume action words in a curriculum vitae (CV)
Like a resume, a CV outlines your relevant qualifications for the job, but it’s more in-depth. incorporate an array of resume verbs throughout your CV and use our CV Maker with a template to create a CV that wows employers.
It’s acceptable to add personal interests to a CV versus a resume as long as they pertain to the target job. To make a great impression, frame your personal interests around volunteer work and use active verbs to describe your experience.
Congressional campaign volunteer
- Spearheaded canvassing efforts and gained support from 300 local residents.
- Conceived and crafted advertising materials that elevated the campaign’s marketing efforts.
- Screened and trained new volunteers on scriptwriting and canvassing techniques.
- Mentored student volunteers.
How to use action words on a cover letter
Pairing a resume with a strong cover letter is a must if you want to rise above the competition, and there’s no better way to make your letter compelling than with active verbs. The trick is to disperse them throughout while not repeating the exact words from your resume. Mix job- and industry-specific action words with strong action verbs that emphasize the result of your work.
If you’re in a creative field like graphic design, use power words to highlight how you used your creative skills to help a company reach a goal. For example, “I hatched a new web design for a fortune 500 company that increased web traffic by 20% one month after launch.”
If you’re an engineer, you might use action verbs to describe how you used your technical skills to solve a problem. For example, “While at Company X, I engineered and implemented backend tools that enhanced automation by 45%, which increased overall productivity by 30%.”
Our Cover Letter Builder makes it easy to customize your cover letter using resume action words. Simply choose a cover letter template, answer a few questions and we’ll take it from there!
How to use action verbs on a letter of intent
Write a letter of intent to express your desire to work for a company with no active job openings. To get noticed, add a variety of resume action verbs to make your qualifications shine.
Example: As an executive assistant at Ocean Tides Nursing Facility, I greeted new patients, family members, staff and vendors daily in person and on the phone. In addition, I liaised with the Board via email in lieu of the President and addressed patron inquiries directly. I enjoyed arranging outings for our patients and I advocated for facility upgrades on their behalf. I was recognized as “Administrator of the Year” in 2022 for my support to our patients and their families.
Pair good action words for a resume and job application letter with great references. Reach out to former managers and colleagues and create a list in a separate document just in case.
How to use resume action words in an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a short, written or verbal speech that introduces you and explains what you offer, with the intent to connect with a person from a company you’re interested in. Optimize your elevator pitch with strong resume action verbs that show hiring managers that you can do the job better than anyone else.
Example: As a seasoned ER nurse, I am passionate about providing the highest-quality patient care. In my current position, I oversee intake in a fast-paced emergency ward, where I evaluate injuries, assess patient needs and develop a care plan in collaboration with doctors and surgeons. I make decisions quickly, administer medications, log reports and track patient progress.
How to use action verbs for a resume in an interview
Project confidence and competence, and intrigue hiring managers by using resume verbs in a job interview.
If you’re a teacher and an employer asks, What’s Your Proudest Accomplishment? You might reply, “The achievement I am most proud of is that I improved my class’s test scores by 20% in one semester.”
If you’re a car driver interviewing for a job with a transportation services company and the hiring manager says, “Explain How you Would Be an Asset to This Organization,” you might say something like “In addition to my impeccable driving record and history of building relationships with customers, I’m innovative. For example, in my last job, I devised a package tracking system that saved the company $3,000 per month and grew their customer base by 20%.”
Be ready to answer tricky behavioral interview questions by practicing the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method and gathering a list of resume action verbs.
Resume action verbs key takeaways
- Power verbs in a resume, CV, cover letter and interview are compelling because they show employers you are capable of helping them achieve their goals.
- Use a mix of resume verbs in your job application.
- Choose action words that make sense for your job, industry and skill set.
- Active verbs are more intriguing to hiring managers than passive phrases.
- When used correctly, resume action words will help you stand out from other job candidates.
Action verbs for resumes: FAQ
Why are action verbs important?
Word choice is critical when applying for a job. Active verbs tell hiring managers “I did this! I can do it for you too!” Passive phrases, such as “Responsible for” and “Tasked with” tell employers what your job duties were. Hiring managers want to know what you can do for them; they don’t want to read a rehash of your former job’s description. Resume verbs are compelling because they help hiring managers visualize you as someone who can help the company achieve its goals, – and that, alone, can set you apart from other job applicants.
How do I choose strong action verbs for a resume, CV or cover letter?
When choosing verbs for resumes, CVs and cover letters, highlight the “must-haves” from the job description and take note of the “nice-to-haves” that fit you. As you read through the job requirements, think of the times you have used the skills, performed the work and achieved a goal with those qualifications and write it down. Then read through the categories in our list of 400+ action verbs for resumes, and pick action words that fit the job title, industry and each section of your resume. Choose wisely — your resume action words should be able to tell your story clearly.
How do I write a resume with action words?
To write a resume with action verbs, first, pick the power verbs for your resume that match your job, industry and skill set; then use them in each resume section, making each one the first word in a bullet list. Add numbers to intrigue hiring managers, like so:
“Implemented a new workflow that increased efficiency by 35%.”
Should I put resume action words in a cover letter?
Yes! Action words will make your job application stand out. Ensure you aren’t reusing the exact words from your resume, but instead, use them to compliment the parts of your resume you want to highlight. Having a variety of strong action verbs for a resume and a cover letter will show hiring managers that you are the person they’ve been looking for!