Should you put interests and hobbies on a resume? Learn the answer to this question, and pick up 5 tips that will help you do it right.
You're about to learn our best resume action words, but first, think about this:
What makes this list of 240 resume action words so useful?
Let’s do an experiment.
Gather 350 bottles of shampoo. (I’ll wait.)
Now spend the next 3 hours reading the instructions.
Did you get tired of, Lather, rinse, repeat?
That’s exactly how employers feel when they read resumes.
The right resume power words can make you stand out from the crowd like Wonder Woman in a neon A-Line skirt.
Here’s the problem:
Most lists of resume words are kind of like a junk drawer. It’s hard to find the one you want.
This list of resume action words provides:
- 240 resume action words grouped by keyword synonym.
- Easy-to-use lists of resume power words, organized to save you time.
- Separate lists of resume buzzwords and resume adjectives to make your work stand out.
- Expert tips to use the best resume verbs and other good resume words like a pro.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Sample resume made with our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.
Resume Action Words to Use Instead of Boring Words
Why use powerful resume words?
Well, pretend you’re hungry.
In front of you are 300 American cheese sandwiches on white bread.
But then you see a turkey-bacon panini with thin-sliced avocado and a side of homemade curly fries.
Beside it sits a frosty mug of ice cold beer.
Resume power words make your resume stand out like that.
Bear in mind this isn’t a “how to fluff a resume” piece. It’s not a checklist of magic NLP phrases that will hypnotize the recruiter.
Use it to improve your writing, highlight strengths on your resume, and to help the employer understand why you should be the chosen one.
But you don’t want a phone-book-style list of 240 resume verbs, buzzwords, and adjectives. So—here are 10 individual lists.
After that are lists of resume buzzwords, resume adjectives, and how to find the best keywords for your resume.
Click to see each action verbs list below and jump to the right section:
Resume Action Words Lists
- “Team Player” Action Words
- “Leadership” Words for Resume
- “Responsible For” Synonyms
- “Communication” Power Words
- “Achiever” Action Words
- “Worked On” Action Words
- “Improved” Power Words
- “Researched” Synonyms
- “Creativity and Problem Solving” Words
- “Managed” Resume Verbs
- “Assist” Resume Verbs
- “Utilize” Resume Verbs
Want buzzwords, adjectives, or resume keywords to give your job search a fighting chance? Click any of the resume words lists below, or just scroll down.
Resume Buzzwords and Resume Adjectives
Pro Tip: Picking power verbs for resume writing? Change it up. Use each one only once if you can help it.
Use powerful words and action verbs on your LinkedIn profile too. Want yours to really sing? See our guide: A LinkedIn Summary & Profile That Gets Jobs
How to Use Resume Power Words
Everybody knows how to use resume action words. Right?
The answer may surprise you.
The best resume words don’t describe you.
They describe the things you’ve done.
What are Resume Action Words?
Resume action words, also called resume power words, are words you should use in your resume to describe your professional skills, tasks, and achievements at work in a short and powerful way. Typically, they are action verbs but adjectives and some buzzwords are also considered good words for resumes.
With action words:
- Responsible for becomes Improved...
- Worked with becomes Collaborated on a team that...
- In Charge Of becomes Directed 20 employees to...
Rather than describe your job, resume action verbs paint a vivid picture of your expertise and professional wins.
Why Do Good Resume Verbs Make Writing Stronger?
Resume action verbs make writing stronger for two reasons.
First, they zap the boring phrases hiring managers see hundreds of times daily.
Second, they guide you toward job-winning specifics. With action words, you didn’t just handle a responsibility. You slashed costs X% or drove time savings of X hours/week.
What Action Words to Use in a Resume
Avoid like the plague words that say, “I’m awesome, great, experienced, an expert, a hard worker.”
Those are “toot your own horn” words.
Instead, use resume words that say, “I’m about to show you how I’m awesome.”
The 240 resume words in this article do just that.
Use Exact Numbers with Your Resume Power Words
With any of the resume words below, add numbers.
Calculate the dollars saved, the revenue increased, the time reduced.
Then use good resume action verbs to introduce those numbers.
Implemented a new inventory system and slashed costs 20%.
Pro Tip: What’s even more powerful than great action words for a resume? Great referrals. Reach out to employees at the company and listen to them talk about their job.
Need achievements to pair with all those great resume action words? See our guide: Achievements to Put on a Resume - Complete Guide (+30 Examples)
Resume Action Words for “Team Player”
Employers hate seeing “team player” on a resume.
Yet, they want to hire team players.
See the problem?
You’ve got to show you’re a team player without saying it.
So, in your resume bullet points, display achievements. Show times you worked with others and got great results.
You cut costs, raised revenue, or found efficiencies. Give specific dollar amounts, hours per week, and percentages.
Lead off with the resume action verbs for collaborate below.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Team Player:
Pro Tip: Use great action verbs for resume writing, but use them sparingly. One active power verb per bullet point sentence is plenty.
Want to fit your resume words to the job offer like a pair of yoga pants? See our guide: How to Personalize Your Resume to Match a Job Description (Examples)
Resume Power Words for “Leadership”
Hiring managers love leaders.
They can’t stand candidates who merely say they’re leaders.
How many team members were you in charge of? How many hours of training did you give? What projects did you spearhead?
There’s your proof. Showcase it in style with the resume power words for leadership below.
20 of the Best Resume Words for Leadership:
Pro Tip: Action verbs for resume use can backfire if you use them wrong. Make sure you fully understand the power words you use.
If adding resume words can help your chances, what other great tips are just around the corner? See our guide: 42 Amazing Resume Tips That You Can Use in 30 Minutes [Examples]
Trying to stand out with power words for your resume?
Make sure they’re the right ones.
Avoid resume buzz words.
This is a list of the most popular ones:
Overused Resume Buzz Words
- In Charge Of
- Go Getter
- Hard Worker
- Strategic Thinker
- Outside the Box
- Responsible For
- Specialized In
- Go To
- Team Player
- Detail Oriented
A CareerBuilder study of 2200 hiring managers found the common resume buzzwords hiring managers hate most.
What do they have in common? Most say you’re great, but don’t convey any actual information.
Use resume words you can hook achievements to instead.
Tired Resume Buzz Words
In Charge Of
Outside the Box
Pro Tip: What if you land the interview, then they ask you to describe yourself in three words? Use resume action words to show how well you’ll fit the job.
Looking for resume buzzwords to use in a student resume? Want help making it 10x more effective? See our guide on the subject: Student Resume Sample & Complete Writing Guide [with 20+ Examples]
Resume Words for “Responsible For”
“Responsible for” is the sneakers-in-a-dryer of resume words.
Instead, say how you improved what you were responsible for.
Use these resume words to do it right:
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Responsible For:
- Acted As
- Succeeded In
Pro Tip: It’s okay to use more common resume action verbs once in a while. Just avoid the most common power words whenever possible.
How many words should a resume be? Check our resources: Should a Resume Be One Page? How to Make It a Single Page [+Tips]
Good Resume Verbs for “Communication”
What hiring manager doesn’t love a good communicator?
Here’s a tip:
An applicant with good communication skills would never say, “I’m a good communicator.”
She’d show it.
So—tout achievements your communication caused.
Did you negotiate deals 10% more effectively than others? Author the company newsletter?
Show it with the powerful resume words below.
20 of the Best Resume Words for Communication:
Pro Tip: Can’t find the right action verbs for resumes to describe your great achievement? Sometimes it’s best to let the accomplishment speak for itself.
Are you listing work experience the best way on your resume? Try this link: How to List Work Experience on Your Resume [+20 Examples]
Resume Power Words for “Achiever/Achieved”
Want to look incompetent?
Just put “Achiever” on your resume.
Want to look like Tony Stark with MS Office skills?
Use the strong resume words below to show exactly what you have achieved.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Achiever:
Pro Tip: Avoid over-flashy resume action verbs like “destroyed,” “smashed,” or “annihilated.” Use them only if you’re applying to the WWE.
Poor use of resume action words is a big mistake. The same is true for choosing tenses. See how to fix this: Resume Tense: Past or Present? What Voice?
The Best Resume Adjectives
Use those self-descriptive words on a resume:
- A Self-starter.
- Cutting Edge.
Let’s not tiptoe.
Most people think the right adjectives for resume will impress the employer.
Have you ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life?
There’s a scene where a pipsqueak tells Donna Reed, “Nobody’d say anything to me about it because they all know what kind of guy I am.”
That’s exactly how “powerful” resume adjectives make you look.
They’re a bluff. A strutting rooster. A little guy beating his chest.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Your big stick is achievements. Ditch the flowery resume adjectives and cite jaw-dropping accomplishments. Use the resume words below.
Rated by customers as...
Received kudos for...
Pro Tip: We’re not saying to use zero resume power words as adjectives. One or two in a resume can help paint your picture. But stick to a couple. They’re the wave crest, not the ocean.
What else can make your resume stand out aside from strong resume phrases and words? Using the best fonts. For more info see: Best Font for a Resume: What Size & Typeface to Use? [15+ Pro Tips]
Resume Words for “Worked On”
It’s not enough to tell employers what you worked on.
Thomas Andrews worked on designing the Titanic.
What exactly did you accomplish?
Don’t just say you worked on something. Say how many, how much, how often. Find the success. Give numbers. Show value.
To share those numbers, include these powerful resume words for “worked on” below.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Worked On:
- Engaged In
- Made Progress On
- Put Together
- Set Up
Pro Tip: Avoid passive verbs for resumes like “is,” “were,” and “was” when possible. Use active verbs instead.
Should you send a PDF or MS Word Doc resume? See our guide: Resume in PDF or Word: What is the Best Resume File Type?
Resume Verbs for “Improved”
Did you make something skyrocket?
Showing it on a resume can get you hired.
But you can’t keep saying “I improved” over and over.
Mix it up with the resume words below.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Improved:
Pro Tip: Using action verbs for resumes to describe accomplishments? Try to match them to what the hiring manager needs. That’s easy to find—it’s in the job ad.
Besides resume verbs, what else should you put on your resume? See our guide: What to Put on a Resume to Make it Perfect [Tips & Examples]
Resume Power Words for “Researched”
Does the job description call for research skills?
Steer clear of generic resume phrases like, “Handled research duties and responsibilities.”
Focus instead on the effect your research had.
Did your analytical skills save money? Time? Earn commendations from management?
Use the resume verbs below to say that.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Researched:
Not sure how to present your current position? Explore ideas for professional titles here: 450 Job Titles that Work on a Resume & Job Hunt [Current & Desired!]
Synonyms for “Creativity and Problem Solving”
Lots of jobs need creativity skills.
Saying, “I’m creative” on a resume proves you aren’t.
Use resume power words to show what you created.
Exactly what did you design? Did your creations win awards and commendations?
Did you go faster than your coworkers? Do it cheaper? Get higher customer reviews?
Use the resume words below to show that with a little zest.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Creativity and Problem-Solving:
Pro Tip: “Why should we hire you?” Have the right resume verbs ready. Back them up with numbers, and you’ll ace that common interview question with flying colors.
Can formatting help as much as action verbs for a resume? See our guide: Resume Format: How to Format a Professional Resume (Examples & Templates)
Strong Resume Words for “Managed”
You could just say your last job was in management.
That alone will show you’ve got experience.
But hiring managers love metrics.
So, think about what you achieved through managing employees.
The good resume words below will help.
20 of the Best Resume Action Words for Managing:
Pro Tip: Action words are a great addition to a CV too. A CV vs a resume may be two different documents, but both benefit from kicking the content up a notch.
Need some great resume keywords that look good on any resume? Want resume skills words that boost your interview odds? See our guide: 30+ Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)
“Assist” Synonyms for a Resume
Not only assistant jobs require assisting.
Still, the word seems not strong enough to convey competence and trustworthiness.
Use the following synonyms instead to show your impact:
Top 15+ Resume Synonyms for Assist
You can also use these phrases when writing your cover letter. Find out how to format your cover letter the right way. Check our guide: Cover Letter Format: Templates & 20+ Samples
“Utilize” Synonyms for a Resume
This three-syllable word means the same thing as the word “use”.
Both have more powerful substitutes to use in a resume.
Take a look at the list below.
Best 10+ Resume Synonyms for Utilize
- Put to Use
- Specialize in
Is this your first time writing a resume? We have a tailor-made guide for you. Check: First Resume with No Work Experience: Samples and Expert Tips
Resume keywords aren’t the same as action words.
Action words begin your bullet points.
They introduce achievements that convince the hiring manager to hire you.
You saved, slashed, raised, or developed something.
Resume keywords showcase your specific skills.
Need a list of good skills to put on a resume? The best ones are in the job offer.
Use the ones the employer is hungry for, and the Applicant Tracking Software will reward you.
- Use 25-30 resume keywords.
- Read the job offer carefully. Highlight any skills keywords the job requires.
- Don’t just use those keywords in your bullet points. Add resume action verbs to show how those skills helped the company.
What’s the most important resume keyword every application should contain? Find that and other key tips in our guide: Best Resume Keywords to Use: Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s a recap of resume action words and how to use them:
- Resume action verbs are words that introduce accomplishments. They describe job duties, but leave room for all-important metrics.
- Don’t ever simply say you’re skilled, a go-getter, or hardworking. Back it up with resume power words and concrete figures.
- Avoid resume buzzwords like “outside the box” or “innovative.” They’re the worst resume words because they come off like empty bragging.
- Use the 240 resume action verbs in this guide to make your resume more readable. They’ll also help you prove your worth and get a lot more interviews.
Do you have questions resume action words? Not sure how to use resume power words to get the best effect? Give us a shout in the comments! Let's talk about phrases you love to hate and hate to love!