Action Verbs (and why you need them on your resume)

Resume writing is one of the most important parts of the job search process. The information you present on your resume gives potential employers a quick glance at who you are, both as a professional and as a person. With that in mind, you should always be seeking ways to improve the presentation of your skills, qualifications, and talents.

There are endless resume rules that are all designed with one goal in mind: to help you land an interview and hopefully get a job. An often-overlooked rule is that your resume should be full of action words. Those terms might not be super clear, but don’t worry. By the end of this post, you’ll not only know what they are, but how to add them into your resume for ultimate influence.

Action words are verbs that describe physical or mental actions. Usually, they’re written in past tense and should be used to start bullet points on your resume.

For example, you might say something like:

  • Demonstrated effective team leadership
  • Facilitated the development of a new SOP
  • Evaluated new team members based on organizational criteria

These action words are the first word of your experience in a specific role, and they need to be included in every single resume section. Action words are easily seen by hiring managers, making it simple for them to review your resume, and easy to determine if you’re a good fit for the second round of the hiring process.

Not only does it make for quick skimming, but it allows you to avoid writing long sentences full of descriptions. Strong action words are persuasive and useful in allowing you to be concise.

The instant info provided by action words means that a hiring manager gets a quick look at what you’ve done in your previous roles without having to read a lot. To make this work best for you, use industry-specific lingo in your action words. That way, it’s easy for employers to find the skills they already know they want.

Action words make it easy to transition from one section to the next without the need for filler words. Since we already know that time is a premium, this is a great way to keep the flow of your resume quick, simple, and easy to follow.

Action words do more than make for quick reading. They also allow employers to picture you in the role for which you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying for an assembler position, using words like “manufactured” or “assembled” in your resume sections helps a hiring manager immediately visualize you in that role.

Something to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t use action words just to use them. Your word choices should be carefully selected for accuracy and to make an impact. A thesaurus can help you find the most powerful and action-specific verbs to use. Then, make sure you’re using the words correctly. These words can help you showcase your talents, skills, and achievement. Even better, they’re separate you from the rest of the applicant pool, and that’s a distinct advantage to have.

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