It’s no secret that verbs express action. For example, “They drove to the store,” or “The dog jumped over the fence.” But have you tried using action verbs on your resume?
When used on a resume, action words become power words because they make a huge impact. They bring your work experiences to life and make your skills shine, so you rise above the competition, compelling hiring managers to want to know you.
In this guide, we will:
- Explain what action verbs for a resume are.
- Provide more than 400 action words for you to use in your resume.
- Give you tips for using action verbs on your resume (and CV, cover letter, letter of intent, elevator pitch and interview!).
- Offer action verb examples for top jobs and industries.
- Show you how to use action words effectively.
What is an action verb?
Resume action verbs are powerful action words that help to make a resume more engaging and emphasize your abilities for potential employers.
Use action verbs to illuminate your skills, professional accomplishments and work experiences in a dynamic and impactful way. Some action words are more powerful than others, so be wise about which verbs you use to describe your accomplishments.
For example, “Built a new customer database to help marketing and sales teams create targeted campaigns” is fine, but “Developed and deployed a robust customer database system that effectively captured and organized customer information, enabling targeted marketing campaigns and a 95% improvement in customer relationship management” is better because it expounds on what the job seeker did and highlights the impact of their work.
Action Verb Examples
You are sure to find all the action words you need for your job application on this page. Here, we have curated more than 400 power words to use on every section of your resume, cover letter and CV and organized them by type, job title and industry.
Action verbs to describe accomplishments
When used to showcase your work achievements on your resume, verbs like “achieved,” “implemented,” “managed,” “collaborated,” “developed,” “led,” “resolved,” “created” and “improved” help you to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.
Below you will find 50 action words to describe a variety of 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 Good resume words to showcase getting a promotion
Good job! You’ve made it to the next level. Highlight your accomplishment with these action words.
10 Verbs to use in a resume to display awards
If you made employee of the month or best manager ever, don’t hide it! This resume verbs list will help you stand out.
10 Action verb examples to list inventions or innovations
Did your innovative idea make a difference? Use this list of resume action verbs to illuminate your vision.
10 Words to use in a resume to explain process improvements
Use these action verbs to convey how you have increased efficiency for an organization.
Resume words for skills
Don’t limit resume verbs to work accomplishments! Use these powerful words throughout your resume to describe your core qualifications and areas of expertise for the best effect.
30 Power words to showcase leadership skills
Show you’re in charge with these powerful resume words that express leadership.
30 Action words to emphasize analytical thinking
Not sure how to present your impeccable analytical abilities? These power verb examples can help!
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 with the following resume action verbs.
30 Resume verbs to convey creativity
Express your creative side with these power verbs and let your unique ideas, projects, or products shine.
30 Good resume verbs to highlight technical aptitude
Try some of these verbs for resumes to highlight your software and hardware expertise.
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Action words for top jobs
We compiled our top 270 resume words for a variety of job titles so you can find the best power words for your resume.
45 Action verbs for teachers
When you’re in charge of a classroom, you can tell potential employers that you teach, but so will every other teacher. Try some of these active verbs instead:
45 Resume power words for registered nurses
As a registered nurse, you give a lot to your patients. This list of action verbs 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 accountant job descriptions an edge.
45 Action verbs for technical project managers
As a technical project manager, you make sure things get done. Describe how you manage tasks with these action verb examples.
45 Resume action words for software engineers
You develop, create and improve valuable software applications. This resume verbs list will help you bring your software engineering accomplishments to life.
45 Resume action verbs for waitresses
You do a lot more than serve customers. Add these strong action verbs to your waitress resume and impress hiring managers with the full range of your skill set.
Action verbs for top industries
No matter what industry you’re in, we’ve got you covered with 50 action verbs examples to emphasize your contributions.
10 Good resume action words for the administrative industry
Give impact to your daily administrative 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.
Tips for using action words (with 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 variety of power verbs for a resume and make them the first word of each bullet point.
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.
In a resume skills section
Most often, the skills section of a resume consists of a mix of hard and soft skills to underscore a job applicant’s ability to perform the job. Use strong action words to explain how you used your skills to make your resume 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.
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 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 make your qualifications shine.
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 verbs in 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 words. 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%.”
How to use action verbs on a letter of intent
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.
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 power words for interviews
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%.”
Resume action verbs key takeaways
- Power verbs in a resume, CV, cover letter and interview engage potential employers because they illuminate your strengths.
- Some verbs for a resume are stronger than others. Choose wisely!
- Use a variety of resume verbs in your job application.
- Use numbers with action words for the greatest effect.
- Active verbs should be used throughout your resume for maximum impact.
- When used correctly, resume action words can 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. Resume verbs grab attention and make a strong impression because they:
- Demonstrate action and initiative.
- Communicate a sense of accomplishment and impact.
- Showcase relevant skills and experiences.
- Portray confidence and professionalism.
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 words, and pick strong action verbs 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!
What are good action verbs for job seekers with no experience?
For job applicants with no experience, it’s important to highlight transferable skills and life or academic experiences that can be valuable in the workplace.
Here are some action verbs that can showcase your potential and enthusiasm effectively and examples of how to use them:
- Adapted: “Demonstrated the ability to quickly learn and adapt to new tasks and environments.”
- Assisted: “Provided support and assistance to team members or supervisors in various tasks or projects.”
- Collaborated: “Worked effectively with others to achieve common goals or complete group projects.”
- Demonstrated: “Showed a particular skill or quality through examples or evidence.”
- Initiated: “Took the initiative to start or propose ideas, projects, or improvements.”
- Learned: “Actively acquired new knowledge or skills through self-study or training.”
- Organized: “Demonstrated strong organizational skills in managing tasks, schedules, or events.”
- Researched: “Conducted research to gather information or gain insights on specific topics or projects.”
- Volunteered: “Engaged in volunteer work or community service to contribute to a cause or organization.”