Strong Action Verbs for Resumes That Get Noticed

Brandi Glass
December 31, 20203 min read
woman writing resume with strong action verbs

Recruiters go through a lot of applicants, and they see plenty of outdated, uninspiring resumes. When you build your resume with Rocket Resume, we help you create an up-to-date, professional look—but you must do your part to liven up the content using strong action verbs for your resume.

Think about resumes that use the same old boring phrases and tired formats. Do these phrases look familiar? They do to most recruiters—and recruiters are tired of reading them.

  • Responsible for increased sales three months in a row.
  • Led a team of four accountants.
  • Assisted the General Manager on a daily basis with scheduling and training.

If your resume is stuffed with bland, abstract content, recruiters will see you the same way—boring, vague, and worst of all, not a good fit for the job.

Let's get rid of that outdated content and liven things up with some action!

Why You Should Use Strong Action Verbs in Your Resume (and Your Interview)

Using action verbs for resume writing will help your resume stand out. Action verbs, or dynamic verbs, create content that is clear and concrete. Here are three ways action verbs can make your resume, and you, appear more dynamic to recruiters:

  1. Action verbs provide clarity. Action verbs make it easy for recruiters to understand your accomplishments, roles, and responsibilities. Although the pronoun “I” is often considered implied with resumes, it's still okay to use it if it adds to the impact of the sentence.

I drove sales to achieve a 10% increase over projections for the 2nd quarter.

NOT Responsible for increased sales three months in a row.

See what an action verb and a little detail can do? Passive words and phrases can be awkward and vague—things you don't want in a professional resume.

  1. Action verbs express control. Action verbs for resumes put you in control. Show recruiters that you know how to get things done with clear, detailed descriptions that get to the point.

Coached and developed an accomplished team of accountants.

NOT Led a team of four accountants.

Coached and developed sounds much more active than Led, doesn't it? Recruiters want to know how you lead and what your leadership has accomplished.

  1. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) like action verbs. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) use keywords to filter resumes. An ATS likes statements with action verbs because employers often program action verbs as keywords.

Collaborated with management to develop better scheduling and training processes.

NOT Assisted the General Manager on a daily basis with scheduling and training.

The first sentence uses stronger action verbs to express communication skills, teamwork, and accomplishments. The second sentence doesn't tell recruiters the full story.

Why You Should Use Action Verbs in Your Interview

Hiring managers will be on the lookout for action verbs when they read your resume and during the interview. Recruiters want to hear about actions, not passive, vague references to achievements or promotions. Action verbs present your value in a straightforward manner that can also express confidence and passion.

How to Use Action Verbs in a Resume

To use action verb statements for resumes, you're going to need some new words. Powerful, concrete, and dynamic verbs can make your resume shine. To get you started, check out these action verbs.

Pull up your resume and start looking for “to be” verbs like was, were, are, is, and other passive verbs. This will help you identify passive sentences and replace them with active ones using your stronger, more impressive action verbs.

How else can you find these weak verbs and phrases? Use the “by you” test. If you can insert the phrase “by you” after the verb and the sentence still makes sense, then you have a passive sentence.

Scan your resume, rework your passive phrasing, and inject your action verbs to make your resume come to life. Need more action verbs? Here is a list from LinkedIn that should give you all the action-packed words you need to create a resume that gets noticed.

When you're ready to build a professional, modern resume, Rocket Resume has you covered. Just add your experience, roles, and accomplishments using action verbs. Start building your resume today for free, and land a job you love.