153 Action Verbs and Power Words To Use on Your Resume

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated June 29, 2022 | Published July 18, 2018

Updated June 29, 2022

Published July 18, 2018

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Related: Resume Words to Include and Avoid

In this video, we provide examples of persuasive resume action words and words that should be avoided.

When an employer reviews your resume and cover letter, you have a limited amount of time to leave a lasting impression. Often, recruiters are tasked with reviewing many applications at once, and it’s not uncommon for them to see the same ‘standard’ verbs used on most resumes. A great way to stand out and effectively capture their attention is to include resume power words.

In this article, we define power words and discuss the benefits of using them, and we offer 153 action verbs and power words that you can use to help your resume stand out to a hiring manager.

What are action verbs and power words?

Power words are action verbs you can use to highlight your skills and experience to help your resume stand out and increase your chance of moving on to the next step in the hiring process. These words add quick and effective context to your resume, helping employers better understand your value as an employee.

What are the benefits of using resume power words?

There are many advantages to using power words for resume writing. Using these action verbs will help you accomplish the following:

1. Improved readability

While you’ll likely need to use some industry terms when describing previous job experiences, it’s important your resume still makes sense to someone outside your job role. Power words can help you get your point across while still using industry terms.

For example, instead of saying:
“Refactored core component libraries from Ruby to Node.js.”

You could say:
“Simplified code library from Ruby to Node.js to increase development team productivity.”

2. Varied language

Sometimes it can be challenging to describe similar duties in a role without repeating the same verb. Having a list of strong resume words to reference will help you add variety to descriptions, and make the language more compelling.

For example, instead of saying:

Responsible for managing team of five sales representatives
Responsible for hitting monthly sales goals
Responsible for communicating weekly with clients to ensure success

You could say:

Manage, mentor and develop a team of five sales representatives
Consistently attain and exceed monthly sales goals
Lead weekly client meetings to foster open communication and ensure ongoing success

3. Stronger descriptions

Including power words in your bullet points can make your responsibilities and accomplishments sound more impactful. The descriptive nature of power words allow the recruiter or hiring manager to get a better feel for the efforts and effects of you put forth in that position.

For example, instead of saying:
Prospect for new business opportunities by making cold calls and following up on leads

You could say:
Aggressively prospect for new business by completing 50+ cold calls a day and pursuing leads to ensure pipeline sufficiency

Resume Format
Image description

Resume Format

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary or objective

  3. Professional history
    a. Company name
    b. Dates of tenure
    c. Description of role and achievement

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)

Related: 139 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to decide which power words to use

Some words will be more effective than others in describing your specific skills and experiences. First, take the time to review the job posting and identify which requirements align with your strengths and experiences. Then, look for power words that describe those accomplishments and attributes.

For example, if you’re applying for a customer service manager position and the employer has included “Experience leading and training new customer service agents,” in the job posting, you might describe your experience like this:

“Educated new customer service representatives on best practices, coached new hires through their first calls and acted as team mentor.”

Next, review the company page for clues about the organization’s culture and values to find ways to incorporate those descriptions in your resume and cover letter. For example, if the company describes itself as “Seeking employees with a strong work ethic who take ownership and responsibility,” you might describe your experience like this:

“Sought opportunities to grow my experience and develop my skills, happily accepting challenging projects and working hard to exceed company goals.”

Here are several power words you can use to share your experience, divided by type of role:

Describing a leadership role

  • Assist

  • Authorize

  • Chair

  • Coach

  • Counsel

  • Critique

  • Cultivate

  • Delegate

  • Develop

  • Direct

  • Educate

  • Enable

  • Enforce

  • Evaluate

  • Foster

  • Found

  • Guide

  • Head

  • Inspire

  • Lead

  • Manage

  • Mentor

  • Monitor

  • Motivate

  • Oversee

  • Orchestrate

  • Review

  • Run

  • Supervise

  • Teach

  • Unite

Describing a sales or customer service role

  • Accelerate

  • Accomplish

  • Advance

  • Advise

  • Advocate

  • Achieve

  • Boost

  • Build

  • Capture

  • Convince

  • Correspond

  • Deliver

  • Drive

  • Earn

  • Enhance

  • Expand

  • Field

  • Generate

  • Increase

  • Initiate

  • Maximize

  • Merge

  • Negotiate

  • Outperform

  • Perform

  • Persuade

  • Resolve

  • Stimulate

  • Sustain

  • Win

  • Yield

Describing a communication or creative role

  • Address

  • Aid

  • Author

  • Build

  • Collaborate

  • Compose

  • Conceptualize

  • Construct

  • Convey

  • Create

  • Demonstrate

  • Develop

  • Document

  • Draft

  • Edit

  • Energize

  • Explain

  • Formulate

  • Guide

  • Illustrate

  • Interact

  • Listen

  • Modify

  • Prepare

  • Share

  • Showcase

  • Transform

  • Translate

  • Upgrade

  • Visualize

  • Write

Describing a technical role

  • Advance

  • Architect

  • Automate

  • Built

  • Code

  • Deploy

  • Design

  • Develop

  • Devise

  • Discover

  • Engineer

  • Implement

  • Program

  • Test

  • Transform

  • Troubleshoot

  • Upgrade

Describing a project management role

  • Coordinate

  • Complete

  • Delegate

  • Execute

  • Establish

  • Facilitate

  • Forecast

  • Formulate

  • Formalize

  • Guide

  • Handle

  • Implement

  • Inspect

  • Initiate

  • Introduce

  • Launch

  • Manage

  • Map

  • Organize

  • Plan

  • Process

  • Prioritize

  • Propose

  • Reorganize

  • Report

  • Represent

  • Solve

  • Spearhead

  • Test

  • Track

Describing an achievement

  • Attain

  • Complete

  • Conserve

  • Decreased

  • Earn

  • Exceed

  • Grow

  • Improve

  • Reach

  • Reduced

  • Succeed

  • Surpass

  • Yielded

Related: Words To Avoid and Include on a Resume

If you’re not sure where to insert power words in your resume and cover letter, highlight each verb and find a strong synonym to replace it from the above lists. This will give your resume an instant boost and ensure employers take notice of your valuable experience.

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