When you use action verbs, you’re providing more color to what you did rather than using plain phrases like “was tasked with” or “was responsible for.”
Rather than describing yourself as a “designer,” you can substitute with these skills:
Instead of saying that you have “good editing skills,” or “quality assurance skills,” you can try out some of these action words:
Lastly, rather than mentioning “human resource skills” or “communication skills,” you can showcase these related action verbs:
These are all strong action verbs that can create a better impression of you as a proactive, energetic employee in your resume.
Additionally, look over the traits and qualifications you list in your skills section, and back those skills up in your summary and work history in your resume. Instead of “Used communication skills” in your work history section, you can be specific and energetic: “Mediated discussions between marketing and business development departments.”
Some terms to describe yourself have been so overused that they’re often regarded as tired buzzwords. Avoid them when you can and substitute action words instead. Here are a few buzzwords to avoid:
These buzzwords don’t really tell the hiring manager anything. Saying that you “think outside the box” doesn’t really give any extra information about how you think; it just fills out a checklist. You want to show off your skills and how you’ve used them, and using action verbs can make the difference.
Even action verbs can be carried too far. Check our resume examples for how to best use action verbs, and hold back from being too casual or “colorful.” For instance, you wouldn’t want to use words like “destroyed” or “smashed,” even if you’re using them in a positive context. Not only do these words very rarely actually provide anything extra to your resume, but they can also be read in a negative light rather than a positive one. Saying “Systematized paperwork submission processes” is much more effective than saying “Destroyed paperwork issues at previous workplace.” The second reads very unprofessionally, but the first gives helpful information.
Keywords are certain words that you’ll find in the job description that tell you the specific skills and experiences an employer is looking for. These words will be picked up by applicant tracking systems (ATS) employers often use to scan resumes and make sure you’re qualified for a specific job. Action words, on the other hand, are verbs that showcase how you do certain things in your job. They’re both words you’ll use all throughout your resume, but one of them helps with ATS and the other helps when it actually gets to a hiring manager.