Using Action Verbs in Your Resume

Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
Your resume is the first thing recruiters and human resources see when you apply for a position. Using action verbs in your resume not only helps make your resume stronger but also makes it look professional and polished.

Your Dream Job

You searched many websites and found your dream job: quality tester at a designer chocolate boutique! You have the qualifications and a good work background. You have a degree in culinary arts, worked as a baker in a French restaurant specializing in chocolate recipes and volunteered for the last four years at the annual Chocolate Festival. You are qualified and ready to get the interview!

Tester needed!

Your Resume Represents You

You decide to apply for the job. It is time to look at your resume and cater it to the desired qualifications of the chocolate quality tester position. A helpful hint even if you love your job: once you have created your resume, update it regularly. That way, when your dream job (or any job that you might want to apply for) does come along, you are ready.

How to show you are the best qualified for the position? Human resources and recruiters see lots of resumes. They want the best possible candidate to fill the position. Your resume is the key that gets you through the gate. You want to make a good first impression.

One of the most important parts of a resume is using action verbs. Sometimes when people write their resume, they use too many words. You want to highlight your skills and experiences by using short, powerful sentences. The person looking at resumes might see hundreds of them a day. Action verbs help your skills, qualifications and professional experiences stand out.

Using Action Verbs

When you bullet point (listing) your skills and experience, action verbs are words that immediately show what you did rather than tell. They give a picture of what you do or did. Worked is not an action verb. When you are trying to use fewer words in those few precious minutes that recruiters look at your resume, they really help.

There are many action verbs for different skill sets. If you get stuck thinking of an action verb for your skill, it's OK to search for your skill + action verb (like manager action verb) online. Avoid using the same action word twice on your resume. You want to show you have different abilities. As you can see by a small list of action words, action verbs can be used for many skills:

People Organization Technical Leadership Helping
administered arranged designed delegated cooperated
motivated categorized solved improved encouraged
instituted validated modeled guided coached

Let's take a look at your resume for the quality tester position at the chocolate boutique.

Without action verbs, there is a lot of was:


Chief Baker


  • Was the chief baker for a restaurant.
  • Made the speciality dessert of the day.
  • Was in charge of two other bakers.


Quality Control


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