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Selling Yourself in a Resume with Action Words

4 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing a Resume

Use action words (verbs) to describe your strengths — your abilities and accomplishments — in a resume. Effective action words zero in on abilities and achievements. Include words of substance and power, such as improved, upgraded, reconciled.

For example, consider the difference between "Was the head of a team that . . ." and "Managed a team of 10 that . . ." Which is more direct? Which conveys more strength?

Try not to use the same word twice on your resume — the thesaurus in a word-processing program can give you more possibilities.

Take a look at the action words in these categories and choose the words that work for you:

Administration and management

advised initiated prioritized
approved inspired processed
authorized installed promoted
chaired instituted recommended
consolidated instructed redirected
counseled integrated referred
delegated launched reorganized
determined lectured represented
developed listened responded
diagnosed managed reviewed
directed mediated revitalized
disseminated mentored routed
enforced moderated sponsored
ensured monitored streamlined
examined motivated strengthened
explained negotiated supervised
governed originated taught
guided oversaw trained
headed pioneered trimmed
influenced presided validated

Communications and creativity

acted edited proofread
addressed enabled publicized
arranged facilitated published
assessed fashioned realized
authored formulated reconciled
briefed influenced recruited
built initiated rectified
clarified interpreted remodeled
composed interviewed reported
conducted introduced revitalized
constructed invented scheduled
corresponded launched screened
costumed lectured shaped
created modernized stimulated
critiqued performed summarized
demonstrated planned taught
designed presented trained
developed produced translated
directed projected wrote

Financial management

adjusted economized reported
administered eliminated researched
allocated exceeded reshaped
analyzed financed retailed
appraised forecast returned
audited funded saved
balanced gained shopped
bought generated secured
budgeted increased sold
calculated invested solicited
computed maintained sourced
conciliated managed specified
cut marketed supplemented
decreased merchandised systematized
developed planned tested
disbursed projected tripled
dispensed purchased underwrote
distributed quadrupled upgraded
doubled reconciled upsized
downsized reduced vended

Helping and caregiving

advanced encouraged reassured
advised expedited reclaimed
aided facilitated rectified
arbitrated familiarized redeemed
assisted fostered reeducated
attended furthered referred
augmented guided reformed
backed helped rehabilitated
balanced instilled repaired
boosted liaised represented
braced mentored served
clarified ministered settled
collaborated negotiated supplied
comforted nourished supported
consoled nursed stabilized
consulted nurtured streamlined
contributed obliged translated
counseled optimized treated
demonstrated promoted tutored
diagnosed provided unified

Office support

adhered distributed managed
administered documented operated
allocated drafted ordered
applied enacted organized
appropriated enlarged packaged
assisted evaluated planned
assured examined prepared
attained executed prescribed
awarded followed up processed
balanced formalized provided
budgeted formulated recorded
built hired repaired
charted identified reshaped
completed implemented resolved
contributed improved scheduled
coordinated installed screened
cut instituted searched
defined justified secured
determined liaised solved
dispensed maintained started

Research and analysis

administered detected interviewed
amplified determined invented
analyzed discovered investigated
applied documented located
articulated drafted measured
assessed edited obtained
audited evaluated organized
augmented examined pinpointed
balanced exhibited planned
calculated experimented prepared
charted explored processed
collected extracted proofread
compared focused researched
compiled forecast reviewed
composed found riveted
concentrated generated screened
conducted grouped summarized
constructed identified surveyed
consulted integrated systematized
critiqued interpreted unearthed

Sales and persuasion

arbitrated judged purchased
catalogued launched realized
centralized lectured recruited
consulted led reduced
dissuaded liaised reported
documented maintained repositioned
educated manipulated researched
established marketed resolved
expedited mediated restored
familiarized moderated reviewed
identified negotiated routed
implemented obtained saved
improved ordered served
increased performed set goals
influenced planned sold
inspired processed solved
installed produced stimulated
integrated promoted summarized
interpreted proposed surveyed
investigated publicized translated

Teaching

acquainted designed influenced
adapted developed informed
advised directed initiated
answered dispensed innovated
apprised distributed installed
augmented educated instituted
briefed effected instructed
built empowered integrated
certified enabled lectured
chaired enacted listened
charted enlarged originated
clarified expanded persuaded
coached facilitated presented
collaborated fomented responded
communicated formulated revolutionized
conducted generated set goals
coordinated grouped stimulated
delegated guided summarized
delivered harmonized trained
demonstrated implemented translated

Technical ability

analyzed expedited operated
broadened fabricated packaged
charted facilitated pioneered
classified forecast prepared
communicated formed processed
compiled generated programmed
computed improved published
conceived increased reconstructed
conducted inspected networked
coordinated installed reduced
designed instituted researched
detected integrated restored
developed interfaced revamped
devised launched streamlined
drafted lectured supplemented
edited maintained surveyed
educated marketed systematized
eliminated mastered trained
excelled modified upgraded
expanded molded wrote

Action words for many skills

accomplished evaluated overhauled
achieved executed performed
adapted facilitated prioritized
adhered forecast promoted
allocated founded proposed
appraised governed reconciled
arbitrated guided rectified
arranged illustrated remodeled
articulated improved repaired
assured increased reshaped
augmented initiated retrieved
collected integrated solved
communicated interpreted stimulated
composed invented streamlined
conceptualized launched strengthened
conserved led trained
contributed navigated upgraded
coordinated optimized validated
demonstrated organized won
dispensed originated wrote
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