Below, we’ve rounded up some of the absolute best action words you should always try to add to your resume if you’re hoping to get to the next level—whether you work in a creative field or you’re looking for a more technical job, these tried-and-true action words will set you apart from the masses.
“Using the action word ‘accomplished’ shows any hiring manager that not only did you accept the goal provided to you, but that you achieved that in a tremendous fashion in most cases,” says Thomas Hawkins, Head of HR & Hiring Manager at Electrician Apprentice HQ.
“As long as you can back your case up with facts.”
“Every employer wants to know what a new hire will do for their bottom line. Including this word in your bullet points shows that you are goal-oriented, objective, and focused on getting results, period. In other words, you are the kind of person who gets the work done,” explains Darrell Rosenstein, Professional Recruiter and Owner of The Rosenstein Group.
“Innovative ability to catapult team morale through interpersonal engagements on Zoom, increasing attendance by 78%… Catapult is an eye-catching word that most professionals do not commonly use throughout their career descriptions,” says Jessica Williams, CEO at JMW Career Consulting.
“This shows you know how to work with people on a team,” explains Liz Hutz, Owner of The House Guys.
“Expand on the type of collaboration. Was it virtual or in-person? How many people were on your team?”
This should be on every resume no matter your field.
“Tell your potential employer who you communicated with and how often!” says Hutz.
“This action word will show independence and originality, which is a plus on your resume because this will let the employer know your capability in doing something that can be a contribution to the company,” says April Maccario, Founder of Ask April.
“Critical thinking, charisma, and organizational skills with words such as executed, planned, organized, controlled, chaired. These are far more convincing, not to mention refreshing than the good old ‘responsible for…’ description of your previous job role,” explains Paul French, Managing Director at Intrinsic Search.
“This is for the employees who have experience managing a team. Cultivated means that you maximized and made your team the best version of it,” says Muhammad Shabbar, HR & Admin Manager at Al Manal Development.
“If you have management experience, this is a great word to add to your resume,” says Mark Perlman, founder of TheDealExperts.
“‘Delegated’ shows that you were in charge and employees listened to you when you gave them tasks. This word will also show that you are confident in your abilities.”
This word can apply in the area of art (e.g. fashion design, interior design, etc.) as well as engineering (circuit design, software design, etc.).
Similar to “Designed” but typically is describing the process after designing. Quantify what you developed.
Every job involves some form of documentation. Instead of saying “Wrote,” use “Documented” to sound more formal and official.
“Demonstrate innovativeness and resourcefulness with words such as advocated, engineered, devised, designed, produced, authored and conceptualized,” suggests French.
“Instead of the usual and kind of coy, ‘responsible for’, starting some of your bullet points with the word ‘Headed’ is a perfect way to show strong leadership and organizational skills, and tells me that you are confident, visionary, and solution-oriented—all of which make for a high-quality employee,” says Rosenstein.
“Meticulously ignited the flame in 12 sales teams to scale the overall company overhead by 137% and earned the respect of competing teams… Ignite automatically sparks the interest of the reader to find out how the hell you were able to ignite not only 1 person but a whole team. It is a conversation starter,” says Williams.
This is similar to ‘Developed,’ although it is more about building than growing.
“Instead of saying you spearheaded or solved problems, you’ve innovated or motivated—you want your future employer to know that you’re focusing on solutions before anyone else is aware there’s a problem or issue to be solved,” says Marcus Clarke, Founder of Searchant.co.
“Using this word will give an impression to the recruiter that you are capable of teaching others or training people,” says Chris Muktar founder of WikiJob.
“Integrated is an incredibly powerful word for your resume,” says Mark Perlman, founder of TheDealExperts.
“It’s a word you see in many job listings, and can mean you are great at implementing policies and combining tasks.” Seeing this word on a resume shows you look at the bigger picture, and companies like to see that.
“This word gives you another way to show you can communicate effectively,” says Hutz.
“Say how many people or businesses you interacted with on your resume.”
According to Clarke, led better conveys leadership qualities than most other verbs.
It is not enough for you to have just ‘Oversaw a team…’ or ‘Led a team…’ instead, Rosenstein suggests using the word ‘mobilize’ to show that you are a transformative leader with the added skill to persuade team members to move in a certain direction.
“Pioneered is a great one,” says Ravi Parikh, CEO at RoverPass.
“That tells me they aren’t afraid to go out on a limb and try new ideas out. It also encompasses leadership qualities.”
“Show the employer that you are the kind of employee that delivers results by using words such as reduced, decreased, lessened, reconciled. This way, you’ll show specific ways you helped the company save money—which is the goal in every business,” says French.
This is a keyword that can apply to design review, software review, documentation review (the list goes on).
“‘Revised’ shows you can accept and interpret feedback,” says Hutz.
According to Hawkins, being recognized as a self-starter is a good action phrase to include as well. “This crosses industries and is a solid addition to any resume.”
Self-taught or in my own time
“This indicates that you have the drive and passion to learn and will do so without external input or requirements,” explains Clarke.
“Most jobs require testing ideas and designs,” explains Hutz. “Include the type of prototype or theories you tested.”
“One of the best action words to use on your resume is ‘transformed.’ This verb is often preferable over a slightly similar companion like ‘improved’ because it showcases the impact you had within your department and the overall company,” says Dana Case, Director of Operations at MyCorporation.com.
“This describes your willingness to step up and be readily available to help in a task without being asked, which makes it your advantage,” says Maccario.
Willing to do whatever it takes
According to Clarke, this showcases you’ll tell your hiring manager that you’re the best candidate there is.