Resume action words
You’ve heard it over and over again – a well-written resume is a winning
resume. What does that mean? How can you determine whether your resume is
written in a tone and style that employers will respond to? Synthesizing
your educational achievements, years of your professional experience, and
numerous qualifications you have acquired over the years into one to two
pages is not easy to accomplish. Every phrase or statement you write has
to convince your potential employer that you are the best candidate for
the job. To do so, you will need to use action or power word.
Action words, or power words, are keywords (verbs) that add strength and
positive implication to your job responsibilities or qualifications. When
you submit your resume to your potential employer, there are two
scenarios that will occur. One, your application will be ran through a
computer software program, which searches your resume for key terms as
indicated by the employer. If your resume contains those key words, your
resume will be pulled aside for further review. Two, a hiring manager, or
most often a human resources associate, will receive a stack or resumes
and scan through them quickly to pick out those that stand out the most,
again based on certain key words. It should now be clear why these action
words are critical to your success in job hunting.
When listing your employment history, each job’s responsibilities should
be listed in bullet point form, with each statement starting with an
action word. Using power verbs or phrases will indicate to your employer
that you are driven by action and results, and that you can effectively
articulate your professional experience (thus, showcasing your
Here is a small sample of action words:
- developed and implemented
- consulted, etc.
This is a very short sampling of action words. Many resources on the
Internet contain extensive listings of action words or phrases. Do some
research and use only those terms that are relevant to your field of
experience. Your best bet would be to locate samples of resumes by
professionals in your industry. Review those resumes for ideas on how to
list your responsibilities. Important note: do not copy exact statements
from someone else’s resume; while you can do your research, you will want
to make your resume personalized to your professional experience.
Don’t fall into the trap of using the same action word over and over. If
you have in fact managed multiple projects, you may want to be a bit more
specific about your role in each. For example, maybe you were the
communication liaison in one project, while you were the project manager
for another task. Begin the first bullet point with “communicated,” and
the second bullet point with “managed.” However, be aware of the words
that you are using and consider their value in your resume. Do not go
overboard with using varying terms, especially those that may change your
role or your responsibilities.
Additionally, you can find key action words in job descriptions. Review
your resume against a job description and make sure that all required
qualifications are addressed in your statements. This will also help you
identify action words that the employer uses, which you can in turn use
to customize your resume or cover letter to that specific job.
Always make sure that you are consistent in the way you list all of your
responsibilities and qualifications, and make sure that your statements
exude positive attitude and focus on actions and results. By doing so,
you are guaranteed to create a winning resume that will get you noticed.