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240 Resume Words: Action Verbs, Power Words, Adjectives, Buzzwords

240 Resume Words: Action Verbs, Power Words, Adjectives, Buzzwords

Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Career Writer

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.

 

examples of action words on a resume

Sample resume made with our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.

 

1

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.

 

Ho hum.

 

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, 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 verb lists below (shown later in this article).

 

Resume Action Words Lists

 

 

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

 

2

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 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. Resume action words are also called resume power words.

 

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.

 

Example:

 

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)

 

3

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:

 

  1. Acknowledged
  2. Assimilated
  3. Blended
  4. Coalesced
  5. Collaborated
  6. Contributed
  7. Diversified
  8. Embraced
  9. Encouraged
  10. Energized
  11. Gathered
  12. Harmonized
  13. Ignited
  14. Joined
  15. Melded
  16. Merged
  17. Participated
  18. Partnered
  19. United
  20. Volunteered

 

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)

 

4

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:

 

  1. Authorized
  2. Chaired
  3. Cultivated
  4. Delegated
  5. Directed
  6. Enabled
  7. Executed
  8. Facilitated
  9. Fostered
  10. Guided
  11. Headed
  12. Hosted
  13. Inspired
  14. Mentored
  15. Mobilized
  16. Operated
  17. Orchestrated
  18. Oversaw
  19. Spear­headed
  20. Trained

 

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]

 

5

Resume Buzzwords

 

Trying to stand out with power words for your resume?

 

Make sure they’re the right ones.

 

Avoid resume buzz words.

 

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.

 

Resume Buzzwords

Tired Resume Buzz Words

Use Instead

In Charge Of

Directed...

Excellent

Improved...

Go Getter

Accomplished...

Hard Worker

Achieved...

Strategic Thinker

Designed...

Outside the Box

Created...

Responsible For

Managed...

Expert

Delivered...

Innovative

Developed...

Specialized In

Handled...

Creative

Created...

Synergized

Collaborated With...

Go To

Trusted By...

Results-driven

Raised...

Team Player

Participated In...

Detail Oriented

Spotted...

Focused

Refined...

Ninja

Installed...

Super

Slashed...

Great

Increased...

 

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]

 

6

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:

 

  1. Accomplished
  2. Acquired
  3. Achieved
  4. Acted As
  5. Completed
  6. Created
  7. Executed
  8. Finished
  9. Forged
  10. Made
  11. Navigated
  12. Negotiated
  13. Operated
  14. Partnered
  15. Performed
  16. Prepared
  17. Produced
  18. Secured
  19. Succeeded In
  20. Undertook

 

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]

 

7

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:

 

  1. Advocated
  2. Authored
  3. Clarified
  4. Composed
  5. Consulted
  6. Conveyed
  7. Convinced
  8. Corresponded
  9. Defined
  10. Explained
  11. Fielded
  12. Illustrated
  13. Influenced
  14. Informed
  15. Mediated
  16. Moderated
  17. Negotiated
  18. Promoted
  19. Persuaded
  20. Publicized

 

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]

 

8

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:

 

  1. Accelerated
  2. Accomplished
  3. Advanced
  4. Amplified
  5. Boosted
  6. Completed
  7. Created
  8. Delivered
  9. Enacted
  10. Enhanced
  11. Expanded
  12. Expedited
  13. Generated
  14. Improved
  15. Lifted
  16. Managed
  17. Maximized
  18. Outpaced
  19. Produced
  20. Stimulated

 

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. Are you making others? See our guide: Resume Dos and Don'ts: 50+ Tips & Advice on Building Great Resumes

 

9

Resume Adjectives

 

Let’s not tiptoe.

 

Most people think the right adjectives for resume will impress the employer.

 

They won’t.

 

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.

 

Resume Adjectives

Resume Adjectives

Use Instead

Self-Starter

Initiated...

Insightful

Noticed...

Intelligent

Solved...

Astute

Sighted...

Meticulous

Caught...

Thoughtful

Cared for...

Cutting Edge

Devised

Ingenious

Invented...

Unique

Commended for...

Skilled

Achieved...

Competent

Constructed...

Devoted

Worked to...

Genuine

Rated by customers as...

Dedicated

Formed...

Determined

Discovered...

Sincere

Received kudos for...

Knowledgeable

Trained...

Persistent

Accomplished...

Disciplined

Forged

Honest

Trusted with...

 

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]

 

10

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:

 

  1. Arranged
  2. Compiled
  3. Composed
  4. Constructed
  5. Created
  6. Developed
  7. Engaged In
  8. Fashioned
  9. Forged
  10. Formulated
  11. Made
  12. Made Progress On
  13. Operated
  14. Organized
  15. Perfected
  16. Prepared
  17. Pursued
  18. Put Together
  19. Set Up
  20. Undertook

 

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?

 

11

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:

 

  1. Boosted
  2. Converted
  3. Customized
  4. Grew
  5. Integrated
  6. Lifted
  7. Merged
  8. Overhauled
  9. Raised
  10. Redesigned
  11. Refined
  12. Remodeled
  13. Reorganized
  14. Restructured
  15. Revamped
  16. Saved
  17. Slashed
  18. Streamlined
  19. Strengthened
  20. Updated

 

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]

 

12

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:

 

  1. Analyzed
  2. Assessed
  3. Audited
  4. Calculated
  5. Checked
  6. Discovered
  7. Examined
  8. Explored
  9. Identified
  10. Inspected
  11. Investigated
  12. Mapped
  13. Measured
  14. Probed
  15. Proved
  16. Quantified
  17. Studied
  18. Surveyed
  19. Tested
  20. Tracked

 

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!]

 

13

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:

 

  1. Altered
  2. Built
  3. Corrected
  4. Crafted
  5. Designed
  6. Determined
  7. Devised
  8. Drafted
  9. Enhanced
  10. Established
  11. Fashioned
  12. Fixed
  13. Initiated
  14. Invented
  15. Overhauled
  16. Patched
  17. Piloted
  18. Pioneered
  19. Rebuilt
  20. Resolved

 

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)

 

14

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:

 

  1. Aligned
  2. Cultivated
  3. Directed
  4. Enabled
  5. Facilitated
  6. Fostered
  7. Guided
  8. Hired
  9. Inspired
  10. Mentored
  11. Mobilized
  12. Motivated
  13. Recruited
  14. Regulated
  15. Shaped
  16. Supervised
  17. Taught
  18. Trained
  19. Unified
  20. United

 

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)

 

15

“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

 

  1. Abet
  2. Aid
  3. Advance
  4. Boost
  5. Help
  6. Counsel
  7. Coach
  8. Cooperate
  9. Collaborate
  10. Dispatch
  11. Expedite
  12. Endorse
  13. Facilitate
  14. Maintain
  15. Promote
  16. Reinforce
  17. Support

 

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: Covering Letter Format: Templates, Ready-to-Use Layouts & 20+ Samples

 

16

“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

 

  1. Apply
  2. Adopt
  3. Deploy
  4. Employ
  5. Exert
  6. Handle
  7. Mobilize
  8. Operate
  9. Promote
  10. Put to Use
  11. Restore
  12. Revive
  13. 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

 

17

Resume Keywords

 

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

 

Key Takeaway

 

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!

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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