Companies

${ company.text }

Be the first to rate this company Not yet rated ${ company.score }

Career Resources

${ getArticleTitle(article) }

Topics

${ tag.display_name }

Community

${ getCommunityPostText(community_post) }

Writers

${ author.full_name }

${ author.short_bio }

InHerSight logo
Jobs Community For Employers

Join InHerSight's growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more!

Sign up now

Already have an account? Log in ›

  1. Blog
  2. Applying
  3. June 12, 2020

Action Words to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Lights, camera, action words

Action Words to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Image courtesy of Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Imagine you’re a hiring manager for a company and you receive 100+ applications for a position. Most of these resumes probably include many of the same words, such as “managed,” “wrote,” and “helped.” These words aren’t bad in and of themselves, but they are commonly used, and there are often more descriptive alternatives.

Read more:How to Use Resume Buzzwords the Right Way

What are action words and why are they important on a resume?

Action words, sometimes called action verbs, are used to express action (obviously). They’re words like “interviewed,” “computed,” and “tracked.” On a resume, action words help define one’s achievements and contributions. Employers want to see that you have made an impact and produced something tangible. You want to show employers that you have accomplished tasks and projects. A great way to do this is by using action words.

Action words are important to use for a variety of reasons. The first being that they keep your descriptions short, which is essential to a clear, concise resume. Employers typically spend less than six seconds reading a resume, so you want to keep it short yet descriptive. Action words also communicate a sense of confidence because they show conclusive and explicit action.

Finally, you don’t want your resume to just follow suit with all the others, you want yours to really catch the employer’s eye. Deliberately choosing specific action words that best describe your experiences will give your resume a better chance to stand out.

Write in the active voice, not the passive voice

It is important to note that action words are not the same thing as active voice. Action words, or verbs, are related to word choice, while active voice is related to sentence construction.

In order to review the difference between the active and passive voice, we need to go back to middle school grammar class. The passive voice is used when the subject is being acted upon (or when the subject is unclear), while the active voice is used when the subject performs the action. It can be tricky to avoid writing in the passive voice, because we use it so often verbally. When you use active voice on your resume, however, you will find yourself more inclined to use action words.

When writing a resume, specifically when describing your accomplishments and job responsibilities, you should avoid using the passive voice because it distances you, the achiever, from your achievements. It can also be hard to read quickly.

For example, 43 percent increase was achieved by my department in a one-year period, is written in the passive voice. To make the sentence active, you would say: My department achieved a 43 percent increase in a one-year period.

Sounds better, right?

Read more:19 Dos and Don’ts for Crafting Your Best Resume

Replacing common resume verbs

It can be easy to overuse the same action words. If you find that you are using the same words to describe your past experiences on your resume, then try and replace them with words that best fit your unique experiences.

Here are some more descriptive swaps for some commonly used resume words

Made

  • designed

  • created

  • produced

  • built

Wrote

  • authored

  • composed

  • prepared

  • drafted

Spoke with

  • interacted with

  • communicated with

  • reported to

Worked with

  • collaborated

  • co-produced

  • partnered with

  • teamed up with

Managed

  • mentored

  • directed

  • guided

  • oversaw

  • piloted

  • fostered

  • unified

Helped

  • aided

  • advocated

  • furthered

  • supplied

  • counseled

  • fostered

Used

  • employed

  • applied

  • deployed

  • mobilized

Assisted

  • advanced

  • boosted

  • supported

  • maintained

  • expedited

Read more:Need a Job ASAP? 10 Things to Do Right Now

Rate this article

Share this article

Photo of Lilly Washburn

Lilly Washburn

Editorial intern

Lilly Washburn is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill who has a passion for writing about marginalized communities, specifically women and the HIV/AIDS community.

Don't Miss Out

Create a free account to get unlimited access to our articles and to join millions of women growing with the InHerSight community

Looks like you already have an account!
Click here to login ›

Invalid email. Please try again!

Sign up with a social account or...

If you already have an account, click here to log in. By signing up, you agree to InHerSight's Terms and Privacy Policy

Success!

You now have access to all of our awesome content

You’ve Been Matched!

On InHerSight, we connect women to jobs at companies where they can achieve their goals. View your dashboard to see your daily job matches.

Popular

  1. ${post.title}

About InHerSight

InHerSight is the career navigator for working women. Founded on the belief that data measurement leads to advancement, we manage the largest database of women-rated companies, and we use those insights to match our users to jobs and companies where they can achieve their goals. Anonymously rate your current or former employer now to unlock our one-of-a-kind resources.

Topics in this article