Resumes & Cover Letters

Powerful Action Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Look Like a Million Bucks

Written by Peter Jones

Try spicing up your resume or cover letter with a few failsafe action verbs, to really show your stuff. Get a little more creative and give the hiring manager something to get excited about, rather than the same old humdrum list of verbs they see on every other resume.

If you led a project, don’t just say “led.” Try one of these instead:

Chaired, Controlled, Coordinated, Executed, Headed, Operated, Orchestrated, Organized, Oversaw, Planned, Produced, or Programmed

If you want to highlight an achievement or mention an award, here are a bunch of stellar verbs to choose from:

Accelerated, Generated, Prescribed, Accomplished, Grew, Produced, Achieved, Prevailed, Arose, Improved, Raised, Attained, Increased, Realized, Awarded, Introduces, Reduced, Lessened, Revitalized, Completed, Mastered, Streamlined, Maximized, Surpassed, Circumvented, Minimized, Topped, Established, Outperformed, Transformed, Exceeded, Won, Founded, or Overcame

If you brought a project to life—not just led it, but envisioned it, from start to finish, and did something new and fresh:

Administered, Built, Charted, Created, Designed, Developed, Devised, Founded, Engineered, Established, Formalized, Formed, Formulated, Implemented, Incorporated, Initiated, Instituted, Introduced, Launched, Pioneered, or Spearheaded

If you came up with a solution to save your company time or money, or you helped your team operate more efficiently or cost-effectively, try these instead of the ordinary “solved”:

Conserved, Consolidated, Decreased, Deducted, Diagnosed, Lessened, Reconciled, Reduced, or Yielded

If you boosted the bottom line, in either sales or revenue, or just plain old customer satisfaction:

Accelerated, Achieved, Advanced, Amplified, Boosted, Capitalized, Delivered, Enhanced, Expanded, Expedited, Furthered, Gained, Generated, Improved, Lifted, Maximized, Outpaced, Stimulated, or Sustained

If you changed or improved something dramatically for the better, try using some of these spicy verbs to describe your success:

Centralized, Clarified, Converted, Customized, Influenced, Integrated, Merged, Modified, Overhauled, Redesigned, Refined, Refocused, Rehabilitated, Remodeled, Reorganized, Replaced, Restructured, Revamped, Revitalized, Simplified, Standardized, Streamlined, Strengthened, Updated, Upgraded, or Transformed

If you landed a new account or a partner, or maybe a major donor or other source of funding, try:

Acquired, Forged, Navigated, Negotiated, Partnered, or Secured

If your job includes research or fact-finding and you really killed it, don’t just say “Researched.” Try:

Analyzed, Assembled, Assessed, Audited, Calculated, Discovered, Evaluated, Examined, Explored, Forecasted, Identified, Interpreted, Investigated, Mapped, Measured, Qualified, Quantified, Surveyed, Tested, Tracked

And if you were a communications superstar, speaking, lobbying, writing, etc. to further your cause:

Authored, Briefed, Campaigned, Co-authored, Composed, Conveyed, Convinced, Corresponded, Counseled, Critiqued, Defined, Documented, Edited, Illustrated, Lobbied, Persuaded, Promoted, Publicized, Reviewed

In short, don’t be afraid to bring a little sexy into your document. It can really help you stand out among the other applicants in the crowd.

About the author

Peter Jones