The 5 most compelling resume action words

Shutterstock

Resumes aren’t a new feature of landing a job or tracking your professional milestones. They are, however, often outdated, boring or ineffective in helping you snag the dream gig you want (and deserve). Much like trends across each industry shift each year, a resume should be a living-breathing document that’s frequently updated as you gain new skills, take on more responsibility, and other feats. One of the easiest ways to upgrade your resume is to think carefully about the language you use to describe your successes. Most of the time resumes take a passive voice, rather than an active one. While this isn’t inaccurate, it’s not exactly exciting. That’s why career experts recommended a strategic edit, using these compelling verbs:

Championed

Say you took on an additional project when your workload probably didn’t allow it. Or, you decided to lead a new development within the company and executed to success. Executive career coach Elizabeth Pearson says most professionals use ‘led’ or ‘managed’ to describe anytime they illustrated leadership within their work. These verbs are true, but a better alternative is ‘championed.’ And nope, you don’t have to be a member of Queen to consider yourself a champion, rather, you have to be self-motivated. “The word ‘champion’ is inherently positive, and subtlety associates the word with you — and before you know it, the hiring manager that will see you as the champion,”  she adds. 

Examples:

-Championed launch of the marketing department’s new advertising campaign.

-Championed the development of our strategic plan for 2020. 

-Championed the company’s involvement and participation in an international finance conference.

Drive

There’s a difference between adding to the overall triumphs of projects, and being at the forefront, guiding the way. Without realizing it, you could be selling yourself short by merely describing your participation, rather than your leadership. That’s why chief engagement and brand officer at EHE Health, Joy Altimare suggests using the word ‘drive’ rather than ‘partner’ or ‘contribute.’ “This helps to quantify achievement. And if you want to demonstrate that you are results-oriented and hard-working, use the numbers that can showcase achievement in this area,” she recommends.

Examples:

-Drive all factors of project management, including timelines, deliverables, feedback and staffing.

-Drive content marketing strategy for the company, including SEO development, keyword target, metrics and more. 

-Drive team through quarterly objectives. 

Overhauled

When you were first hired at your current company, the human resources team was a mess. Everything was disorganized, the hiring process took far longer than it should have, causing goals to be met and the workforce to fall under major stress. Thanks to your diligence, now it’s an effective machine, with rave reviews on Glassdoor. Go you! Though your first instinct would be to use a word like ‘improve’, that shortchanges your work. “Replace ‘changed’ and like words with ‘overhauled’ to communicate how you improved something,” Pearson recommends. “This action verb tells hiring managers that you managed every aspect of the improvement — start to finish.” 

Examples:

-Overhauled sales processing systems which resulted in an increase in bottom-line revenue of 17 percent.

-Overhauled the human resources department, structure and flow by streamlining the hiring process, setting and meeting deliverables, and more. 

-Overhauled company’s social media pages, increasing engagement and traffic by more than 30 percent, YOY.

Curated

Every industry thrives by staying relevant, adapting to change and responding to cultural phenomenons. As an executive, your role is to stay informed and open to shifts, and encouraging those below you to get on board, too. Today, more than ever, Altimare says a growth-focused business environment demands builders. And part of describing your contributions is through a word like ‘curated’, which describes your ability to pull various pieces — and people — together and develop a strategy.

Examples:

-Curated industry reports and trends to inform overall strategy plan for 2019. 

-Curated various teams together to create a holistic approach to our budget setting for 2020.

-Curated thought leaders within our industry for our annual conference.

Mentored

True leaders prefer to have others around them at the top. Not only do they have a team-player spirit, but they want younger generations of talented professionals to follow behind them. It’s tough to reach the c-suite without managing a group of others but there are more powerful ways to describe your impact than ‘led.’ “When a hiring manager sees that you mentored others, it conveys that you are a trusted leader within your organization, which is always attractive to your prospective new employer,” Pearson explains. “Every company wants someone to step up and inspire and develop other members of the team — as it’s critical to thriving company culture.”

Examples:

-Mentor and develop dedicated team members on a quarterly basis, which cultivates increased loyalty and gratitude within my department and the organization as a whole.

-Mentored and guided junior-level employees throughout their tenure, creating a positive working environment for the team.

-Mentor junior-level colleagues through various teams, deadlines and deliverables.