How can action words help your resume stand out? Here are 50+ ways.

A resume is snapshot of your work experience. It may include your skills (technical and transferrable), education, certificates and maybe even your hobbies or pastimes. Ultimately, it’s a static moment in time looking at your past activities and contributions.

What hiring managers are looking for is action. What have you done previously that assures me that you can get the work done if I select you?

This requires strategic and authentic use of action words – not buzzwords – but words that help you stand out in a crowded job market. Recruiters and hiring managers typically receive 75-250 resumes for every job posted and typically spend 25-30 seconds screening resumes. This means you have 25 seconds to communicate quickly that you are an action-oriented person who does great work. Getting in the “read more” pile is imperative to your success and moving to the next step.

Using action words enhances your abilities and accomplishments by being specific, focused, and descriptive. They will make your resume more precise and succinct – things hiring managers love when they are staring down an inbox of two hundred plus resumes.

Which statement stands out to you?

  1. Created a monthly social media calendar.
  2. Met with internal stakeholders to develop monthly social media calendar to align with weekly sales promotions.
  3. Executed a monthly social media calendar that promoted sales programs and contributed to a 25% increase in online sales.

Statement C provides confidence and quantifiable details. It also communicates you understand the impact your contribution makes to the organization and to other departments. When you use the right words paired with deliverables to describe your job responsibilities and contributions, you can make a quick and lasting impression.

Here are over 50 powerful action words that can make your resume stand out and leave the hiring manager wanting to learn more about you:

Communicate change or improvements:

  • Centralized
  • Converted
  • Integrated
  • Merged
  • Modified
  • Overhauled
  • Refined
  • Strengthened
  • Transformed
  • Updated
  • Saving money or resources:
  • Audited
  • Consolidated
  • Decreased
  • Lessened
  • Optimized
  • Minimized
  • Reconciled
  • Reduced
  • Saved
  • Streamlined

Personal accomplishments:

  • Awarded
  • Demonstrated
  • Drove
  • Earned
  • Exceeded
  • Outperformed
  • Managed
  • Sparked
  • Steered
  • Surpassed

Responsibilities and duties:

  • Accomplished
  • Aligned
  • Automated
  • Boosted
  • Built
  • Championed
  • Charted
  • Communicated
  • Constructed
  • Created
  • Critiqued
  • Defined
  • Delegated
  • Deployed
  • Detected
  • Developed
  • Documented
  • Enabled
  • Engineered
  • Empowered
  • Established
  • Expedited
  • Facilitated
  • Finalized
  • Forecasted
  • Gained
  • Guided
  • Hired
  • Improved
  • Intensified
  • Installed
  • Lobbied
  • Mentored
  • Negotiated
  • Performed
  • Persuaded
  • Pioneered
  • Prepared
  • Produced
  • Quantified
  • Secured
  • Supervised
  • Supported
  • Troubleshoot
  • Volunteered

Still not finding the right words? Click to find over 280 action-packed words in this Indeed article.

It’s important to be authentic and accurate when building your resume. Try to avoid over-used language or buzzwords. They tend to make your resume look insincere and contrived. Words like results-driven, passionate, dynamic, proactive, experienced, highly qualified, and hard worker maybe be true but communicate that with proof through your deliverables. Who’s not going to say they are passionate or a hard worker? Let your results build your persona.

When choosing words for your resume and what work experience/deliverables to use, look at the job posting itself for direction. For instance, if the job posting mentions that they are looking for someone who has led a team before, use the words “Successfully led a team-leading to 2% increase in profits” or any other quantifiable result from your work history. This will not only attract the hiring manager’s attention to your resume but will also increase the chances of your resume successfully passing through the ATS. Read our tips to make your resume ATS-friendly.

Looking for more info on shaping your work experience into an exceptional story? Here are some tips on how to write a resume.

As the Canadian job market heats up, job seekers are looking to land better jobs and make career moves. Business leaders and hiring managers will have more choice than ever before. Business leaders today are hiring candidates who are ready to work, quick to adapt, tech-savvy, and can quickly pivot and perform. Making the right first impression with a resume that uses the optimal words to communicate your skills and potential impact is a must, to be seen by decision makers and secure that interview.

Looking for employment? For more than 46 years, Agilus has served our candidate and employer networks, connecting great job seekers with meaningful employment. We place nearly 10,000 job seekers in roles every year in Engineering, Technology, Professional/Office, and Light Industrial roles. Check out or open roles on our job boardcreate a job alert or build a profile so any of our more than 100 recruitment professionals can find you quickly when a role becomes available. Please follow us on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and Twitter for job seeking tips, new roles and Agilus.

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