Action Verbs For Resume And Cover Letters

The most powerful action verbs for professional resumes

Your career history will pack an even bigger punch with these dynamic words.

Your resume isn’t a place for modesty; it’s a chance to show companies all the awesome things you’ve done—and what you can do for them if given a chance. Take the opportunity to liven things up a bit. Weak, vague or overused verbs can actually diminish the excellent work you did at your last job, so choose words that more accurately reflect what you do.

“It’s critical to choose active, industry-appropriate action verbs,” says Linda Hollenback, a brand and career strategist who owns Philadelphia-based Hollenback Consulting. “Well-chosen lead action words make the difference between highlighting your skills and undermining your contribution.”

To help your credentials pack the maximum punch, Monster created a list of strong action verbs to make your resume more powerful.

Action verbs for communication skills

Instead of: talked, led, presented, organized
Use: addressed, corresponded, persuaded, publicized, reconciled

You can present data and lead meetings all day long, but does that mean you actually got your point across to an audience? Simply saying that you talked to other people doesn’t prove that you achieved your goals.

Stir the interest of a hiring manager by using words that have a bit more personality than the usual suspects. That might encourage him or her to want to meet you in person.

For example, instead of saying you “organized” an off-site meeting, say you “orchestrated” an off-site meeting. And instead of “leading” the meeting, perhaps you “chaired” the meeting.

“‘Persuaded’ is another great verb to use,” says Christina Austin, founder of New York City–based ExecBrands, a career-branding firm, “as it highlights a candidate’s ability to influence others.”

More precise words can also add a touch of formality to your actions, she says. Words like “addressed” or “corresponded” can carry more weight than a generic “wrote” or “spoke.”

Action verbs for organizational skills

Instead of: organized, ordered, filed
Use: catalogued, executed, monitored, operated

Did you organize a project, then walk away? Probably not, so choose words that express how you organized and followed through with a project to completion. For example, “executed” says that you saw it through to the end.

“By focusing on the task rather than the purpose or significance of the task to the organization, a job seeker may limit the perceived value of his or her experience,” Hollenback says. Instead of “filed account paperwork,” she suggests something more descriptive of your purpose, such as “monitored client accounts.”

Action verbs for management skills

Instead of: led, handled, oversaw
Use: consolidated, appointed, delegated, established

Leadership experience is excellent for a resume. However, just saying you “led” a team is not nearly as powerful as saying you “established” a team, which indicates you took the lead to create something new.

“A word like ‘oversaw’ hints that someone is supervising work on a high level, but not necessarily participating in a project actively,” says Andy Chan, co-founder of Prime Opt, a Seattle-based career-coaching center. Pick words that reflect the true nature of your contribution. For example, “Established a nine-member productivity team and delegated operational tasks to three junior managers.”

Each of these verb choices combines to give the hiring manager or recruiter an impression of your work style—just be sure to avoid repeats. “Multiple repetitions of an action word reduces the word’s impact and makes for a boring read,” Hollenback says.

Grab your dictionary or thesaurus if you’re feeling stuck, and when you’re done, be sure to have a trusted friend or colleague read over your resume to make sure it reads properly. 


Power verbs bring your résumé to life. They paint a picture for the reviewer by highlighting your skills and accomplishments, affirm your communication skills, and help you stand out in a crowd. Begin each statement or phrase with a power verb, then take you résumé to the next level, by inserting action-packed power verbs into your work history and branding statement.

Tip: Remember to use present tense verbs in your profile and qualifications summary and when creating task, responsibility and accomplishment bullets for a current position. Use past-tense verbs to describe prior positions and experience in your work history.

There are literally thousands of verbs to choose from, so feel free to share your favorites. Here are some of our suggestions (by category) to help you get started.


Achievements/Awards

• Accelerated• Generated• Prescribed
• Accomplished• Grew• Produced
• Achieved• Honored• Prevailed
• Arose• Improved• Raised
• Attained• Increased• Realized
• Awarded• Introduced• Reduced
• Chosen• Lessened• Revitalized
• Completed• Mastered• Streamlined
• Consummated• Maximized• Surpassed
• Circumvented• Minimized• Topped
• Established• Outperformed• Transformed
• Exceeded• Overachieved• Won
• Founded• Overcame

Communication

• Addressed• Disseminated• Profiled
• Advertised• Documented• Proofread
• Advised• Drafted• Publicized
• Alerted• Edited• Published
• Amended• Emailed• Queried
• Announced• Generated• Questioned
• Answered• Emphasized• Recorded
• Arbitrated• Explained• Relayed
• Articulated• Expressed• Reported
• Authored• Framed• Responded
• Branded• Highlighted• Rewrote
• Briefed• Informed• Scribed
• Broadcasted• Interacted• Search Engine Optimized (SEO’d)
• Chronicled• Interfaced• Shared
• Circulated• Interpreted• Socialized
• Cited• Interviewed• Specified
• Clarified• Liaised• Spoke
• Commended• Listened• Suggested
• Communicated• Logged• Synthesized
• Compiled• Mediated• Talked
• Condensed• Moderated• Telegraphed
• Consulted• Narrated• Transcribed
• Contacted• Notated• Translated
• Conveyed• Notified• Transmitted
• Convinced• Outlined• Tweeted
• Corresponded• Penned• Verbalized
• Crowd Sourced• Portrayed• Wrote
• Debated• Posted
• Defined• Presented
• Detailed• Proclaimed

Creativity/Innovation

• Accentuated• Drew• Merchandised
• Advertised• Enhanced• Originated
• Animated• Enlivened• Patented
• Architected• Envisioned• Personalized
• Brainstormed• Exhibited• Piloted
• Captivated• Fashioned• Pioneered
• Captured• Formulated• Photographed
• Composed• Graphed• Redesigned
• Conceived• Hypothesized• Renewed
• Conceptualized• Illustrated• Revolutionized
• Crafted• Imaged• Sculpted
• Created• Imagined• Shaped
• Customized• Improvised• Showcased
• Designed• Initiated• Sketched
• Devised• Innovated• Storyboarded
• Differentiated• Instituted• Unveiled
• Displayed• Invented• Visualized
• Drafted• Marketed

Leadership

• Advocated• Enabled• Led
• Aroused• Energized• Lobbied
• Assembled• Encouraged• Mentored
• Bolstered• Engaged• Mobilized
• Campaigned• Enlisted• Modeled
• Catapulted• Enticed• Moderated
• Chaired• Enthused• Motivated
• Challenged• Focused• Nurtured
• Championed• Furthered• Parlayed
• Coached• Garnered• Persuaded
• Compromised• Guided• Rallied
• Counseled• Ignited• Sparked
• Drove• Influenced• Spearheaded
• Elected• Infused• Spurred
• Elicited• Inspired• Steered
• Empowered• Instilled• Stimulated

Management/Supervisory

• Absorbed• Discharged• Prepared
• Accounted for• Dissolved• Prioritized
• Accrued• Dispensed• Procured
• Acted• Dispersed• Projected
• Adopted• Doubled• Promoted
• Administered• Economized• Provisioned
• Aligned• Elevated• Pruned
• Allocated• Eliminated• Quantified
• Amended• Enacted• Ratcheted
• Anticipated• Ensured• Rated
• Appointed• Estimated• Reapportioned
• Appraised• Examined• Recognized
• Appropriated• Executed• Recommended
• Approved• Extracted• Recruited
• Assessed• Facilitated• Redefined
• Audited• Forecasted• Reinforced
• Augmented• Fought• Reigned in
• Authorized• Fulfilled• Reorganized
• Avoided• Furnished• Researched
• Benchmarked• Funded• Restructured
• Budgeted• Gained• Required
• Calculated• Gauged• Reversed
• Capitalized• Governed• Reviewed
• Carried out• Hired• Revised
• Carved out• Injected• Risked
• Cemented• Intervened• Saved
• Charged• Justified• Seized
• Charted• Leveraged• Set goals
• Checked• Magnified• Sharpened
• Chose• Managed• Shortened
• Commanded• Mandated• Slashed
• Commended• Maneuvered• Solicited
• Compared• Measured• Sourced
• Complied• Mitigated• Supervised
• Contracted• Monitored• Sustained
• Controlled• Mounted• Terminated
• Convened• Navigated• Transferred
• Critiqued• Normalized• Trimmed
• Cut• Off shored• Tripled
• Decided• Orchestrated• Turned
• Deduced• Outsourced• Vetted
• Delineated• Oversaw• Weighed
• Delegated• Planned• Withstood
• Designated• Praised
• Directed• Predicted

Teamwork

• Acknowledged• Diversified• Melded
• Amassed• Embraced• Merged
• Anchored• Elevated• Nominated
• Assimilated• Encouraged• Organized
• Augmented• Energized• Participated
• Balanced• Enlisted• Partnered
• Blended• Forged• Supplemented
• Buoyed• Fostered• Syncopated
• Collaborated• Gathered• Teamed
• Coalesced• Harmonized• United
• Contributed• Ignited• Volunteered
• Coordinated• Joined• Wove
• Cultivated• Married

Technical Work

• Accelerated• Equipped• Qualified
• Added• Evaluated• Quality Assured
• Adopted• Expunged• Ranked
• Aggregated• Extended• Realigned
• Analyzed• Extracted• Rebooted
• Applied• Extrapolated• Rebuilt
• Assembled• Fabricated• Reconciled
• Authenticated• Finalized• Reconstructed
• Automated• Fine-Tuned• Recovered
• Backed-up• Formatted• Rectified
• Balanced• Functionalized• Re-engineered
• Blocked• Grouped• Refreshed
• Boosted• Hosted• Reinforced
• Branched• Identified• Rehabilitated
• Bridged• Implemented• Released
• Built• Initialized• Remodeled
• Bundled• Installed• Replicated
• Calculated• Integrated• Restored
• Calibrated• Isolated• Retooled
• Certified• Launched• Retrieved
• Changed• Licensed• Retrofitted
• Checked• Linked• Revamped
• Classified• Loaded• Revised
• Cleaned• Maintained• Road mapped
• Cleansed• Manufactured• Rolled out
• Cleared• Mapped• Rotated
• Coded• Mechanized• Routed
• Collocated• Merged• Safeguarded
• Computed• Migrated• Salvaged
• Computerized• Mined• Scanned
• Configured• Mirrored• Scoped
• Consolidated• Mobilized• Scrubbed
• Constructed• Modeled• Secured
• Corrected• Modified• Selected
• Debugged• Moved• Sequenced
• Deciphered• Networked• Solved
• Decoded• Neutralized• Stabilized
• Dedicated• Operated• Standardized
• Defended• Optimized• Straddled
• Delivered• Overhauled• Systematized
• Deployed• Packaged• Tested
• Digitized• Patched• Toggled
• Discovered• Penetrated• Traced
• Dispatched• Pinpointed• Transitioned
• Distributed• Prevented• Updated
• Duplicated• Prioritized• Upgraded
• Enabled• Processed• Validated
• Engineered• Programmed• Verified
• Enhanced• Protected• Virtualized
• Eradicated• Prototyped• Web-enabled
• Estimated• Provisioned

Training

• Assessed• Enriched• Lectured
• Adapted• Enrolled• Showed
• Advised• Familiarized• Taught
• Demonstrated• Honed• Trained
• Demystified• Indoctrinated• Tutored
• Dispensed• Informed
• Educated• Instructed

User/Technical Support Experience

• Appeased• Formatted• Resolved
• Allayed• Inspected• Responded
• Ascertained• Inventoried• Satisfied
• Assisted• Investigated• Scheduled
• Assured• Issued• Served
• Cabled• Labeled• Serviced
• Closed• Located• Set up
• Connected• Logged• Shipped
• Corrected• Monitored• Supported
• Diagnosed• Performed• Sustained
• Dispatched• Pleased• Ticketed
• Dissected• Prioritized• Tracked
• Eased• Racked• Trailed
• Escalated• Remedied• Triaged
• Expedited• Repaired• Troubleshot
• Fixed• Requisitioned• Uncovered

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