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There are many rules to resume writing; an important one being the need for ‘action words’ or ‘action verbs’. Don’t worry if you don’t really know what they are, we’ve got you covered. Action words are verbs that describe a mental or physical action, and are usually written in the past tense. They are the words that should be used to start bullet points in your resume, for example:

  • Evaluated training manual for errors.
  • Demonstrated 95% efficiency with SalesForce lead funnel protocols.
  • Facilitated corporate meetings across multiple states.

‘Evaluated’, ‘demonstrated’ and ‘facilitated’ are all action verbs. They are the first word of the experience or achievement, and they are considered a “must” on every resume. With a few exceptions, action verbs are the ideal way to make sure that your resume is ready to get noticed by hiring managers, for the right reasons! Why are they so important, and what are the benefits of using them? Read on.

Action words…

…Have more impact

Action verbs start each sentence off with a bang! The alternative is writing your achievements out in complete sentences, with ‘I worked on’ and ‘I did’. This is extremely repetitive and boring for the hiring manager to read. Writing long sentences full of dull descriptions of the work you’ve done does nothing to capture attention or interest. Strong action words, however, are a far more persuasive language tool that allows you to be concise and impactful.

…Make for easy skim-reading

Most employers spend only a few seconds on each resume, before discarding it if they don’t find what they want. Action verbs provide instant information, and are often the first words that hiring managers see after your name. Doing your research and using industry-specific action verbs will make it easy for hiring managers to see what they want on your resume and prompt them to spend more time reading through your skills.

…Help people to picture you in the role

Action verbs represent an action. When the verb is specific to the job to which you are applying, it helps the hiring manager visualize you doing the work. For example, if you are applying to a job as an assembler, and you use ‘assembled’, ‘manufactured’ and “compiled” as your action verbs, the hiring manager is going to naturally visualize you doing the job.

Other examples:

Achieved, completed, expanded, exceeded, improved, pioneered, spearheaded, transformed, integrated, modeled, modified, performed, planned, revised, revitalized, shaped, solved

…Render your resume unique

One caveat is that action verbs should be carefully chosen for both accuracy and impact. Ideally, choose the most powerful and soecific action word you can find, and be sure you have used the word correctly. When you choose great action verbs which accurately showcase your abilities and achievements, you automatically set yourself apart from applicants who use generic verbs that send readers to sleep. This will give you the competitive advantage you need when hiring managers review applications.

…Give your resume a greater flow

Finally, action verbs make it easier for you to flow from one point to the next, without having to use the word “also” or “in addition” regularly. The goal of every resume should be to make sure that each and every bullet point you place is read, understood and leads nicely onto the next one!

Action verbs have a certain power to them that other words do not, and the more time you take determining which one are best for your resume, the more likely you are to have an application that creates an excellent impression on employers. Make sure you take the time to select strong action verbs, and then wait for the phone to ring with your interview request!

About the author: Micah Abraham is a writer at Online Resume Builders. If you are looking for a new resume, start building yours today at – it takes as little as 5 minutes. 

Image: Shutterstock

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