The most important principle for writing an effective resume is demonstrating how you can provide value to a business. Action verbs help emphasize your experience by showing the responsibility and impact you've made for your company. Hiring managers want to know what you've accomplished in the past and how you can translate that to future experiences.
Action verbs are also helpful in getting your resume get passed through an ATS (applicant tracking systems) since it will try to match keywords from your resume to the job description. You can get passed this by re-using verbs that are mentioned in the tasks and responsibilities section of the job description and adding them to your resume.
Action verbs are usually the make-or-break deal when trying to make your resume look effective. If you were to list an experience without it, it would be difficult to show how actionable your responsibility was and its outcome.
Let’s take a look at the difference of an experience without an action verb looks and another one with an action verb.
I took care of ill, injured, and disabled patients.
Administered nursing care to ill, injured, and disabled patients.
However, it’s not so simple. Making your resume seem effective means showcasing a wide variety of diverse skillsets. Continue reading below to see how using action verbs on your resume can represent an effective and diverse skillset to make you stand out and help land your next job.
Using resume action verbs
It's important to use the right actionable terms in context to the overall goal and responsibility. We broke down these by categories, so you can see which action verbs to use for to represent the correct categories like Managment or Collaboration skills.
Management & Leadership skills
If you have prior experience managing and leading teams, emphasizing the skills you’ve developed can make your resume sound more seasoned. These skills can help let employers know that you’re great with mentoring people, leading big initiatives, making decisions and executing on goals.
Here’s some examples of management and leadership skills in action:
Employed over 20 contract-workers in a rapidly scaling organization.
Accelerated overall business growth by 50% gross profit year over year.
Led company-wide strategic planning initiatives every quarter with a participation rate of 95%.
Communication might seem like it’s a standard skillset, however, being an effective communicator is necessary and valuable in almost any job. It helps you translate ideas, suggestions, commentary, and feedback with any audience. Employers generally seek effective communicators as they can trust that feedback and reporting on decisions and results will be followed-through.
See how we can make our communication skillset sound more effective:
Consulted on all client-facing business development calls and meetings.
Negotiated all external vendor contact deals, saving over $25,000 annually.
Reported on business KPI’s and company health metrics to executive leadership every quarter.
Research & Analysis skills
If you worked at a job that required you to perform research on different topics, you can showcase the different steps that were involved when conducting research initiatives. This is everything from collecting data, to analyzing it, and writing up evaluations.
Here’s how you can break down your research skillset into more actionable pieces:
Surveyed over 2,000 participants across 6 research studies to better understand global climate issues.
Analyzed closed to 23,000 responses and feedback from user research participants.
Evaluated strategic decisions by synthesizing research studies across the entire organization.
Technical & Creative skills
Does your current or prior job require technically proficient skills and responsibilities? More often than not, it is always beneficial to showcase these skills on your resume. Acquiring and mastering technical skills lets employers not have to worry about providing additional training for computer and software applications and demonstrates your ability to learn.
These are some ways to showcase your technical understanding and impact:
Architected the building networking infrastructure to support system-wide IT development for a company size of 550 employees.
Engineered and built a product inventory management tool to help gather and store product information for over 23 retail stores in the U.S.
Designed informational handouts and marketing signage for use in large-scale conferences and events that generated over 300 new leads.
Coaching & Teaching skills
You don’t need to be a teacher to gain experience in teaching. There are many ways you can demonstrate this highly valuable skill without needing an education degree. If you ever found yourself mentoring co-workers, facilitating meetings, or guiding someone in the right direction - this and more will all translate to you showing how much you care about the effectiveness and growth of others around you.
See these examples for ways you can expand on your teaching skillset:
Trained over 50 new employees in a week-long onboarding process to help them learn how to use our check-in management software to welcome new hotel guests.
Developed a three-part, 225-page instructional guide to teach staff how to process software updates.
Instructed all staff on new company-wide policies regarding all software licensing terms.
Financial & Data skills
Love numbers, reports, dashboards, metrics, and any-and-all things data? Job positions that require crunching spreadsheets and analyzing data often require many different skill sets that can be very technical. Reporting on the wrong numbers or datasets can move company metrics in the wrong direction. Therefore, it’s highly important to demonstrate both your responsibility and the outcome it had.
Reference these examples to display your financial literacy:
Projected a 20% growth increase by analyzing market trends and consumer behavior which resulted in an additional $40 million dollars in bottom-line revenue.
Audited all quarterly earning reports to find discrepancies and accurately report on top-level KPI’s like customer acquisition costs (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV).
Maximized internal resourcing, based on impact analysis, to be used more cost-effectively for opening new retail outlets.
Collaboration & Teamwork skills
If you work in team settings, which many people often do, being a strong collaborator is a trait that teammates highly value. Collaboration shows that you care about working with others to help move business goals forward.
Strong collaborators will often write examples like the following:
Contributed to group working sessions by providing findings from all company-wide customer research and insight.
Volunteered 20% of weekly time to help onboard and transition new employees.
Supported teammates by managing all project timelines and expectations as well as reporting on updates to the wider organization and stakeholders.
Being organized is perhaps one of the most underrated skills that people often leave out. Organization doesn’t just save time, but it helps teach others best practices and is a showcase of effective leadership. Showing how organized you are is attractive to employers because it lets them know that you care about the details as much as you care about the outcome.
Here’s some ways to call out your organizational abilities:
Coordinated conferences for over 400 attendees which included everything from managing RSVPs to hiring contractors and taking care of all purchasing and payment.
Documented all agile processes to help improve team workflow and communication, resulting in a 46% increase in more team engagement and productivity according to a company survey.
Categorized more than 200 documents using folders and tags to improve discoverability of all company training instructions and guidelines.
Remember, you don't want a dull resume. Not making your prior experience seem actionable makes it difficult for future hiring managers to know what you're capable of.
Thankfully, Easy Resume takes care of the hard part of making resumes stand out by designing resume templates to be clear and legible. It's your turn now to get started on making them really effective by using the action verbs as listed above.
Ed is a self-taught coder, designer, and entrepreneur who has spent a bulk of his career helping early-stage startup companies grow their teams and products. His desire is to help talented individuals achieve new career goals by sharing his learnings on leading and growing teams.