Resume and Cover Letter Action Verbs

Inspiring word cloud
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It’s always a good idea to use keywords and action verbs in your resume and cover letters. Using the right words not only shows what you have accomplished in previous jobs. These words also help your resume, cover letter, and other application materials get selected by the software and hiring managers who screen your documents.

What Are Resume Action Verbs and Keywords?

From the job seeker perspective, keywords are the words job seekers use to search for available positions.

 For the employer, keywords are the terms that hiring managers use to screen resumes and cover letters to find applicants that are a good fit for a job.

There are different types of keywords. Job keywords are words that describe your skills and qualifications. They describe the hard skills you have that qualify you for a job.

Action verbs show your ability to succeed. For example, words like accomplished, developed, managed, and handled describe what you have achieved.

Keywords are used to match an applicant with an available job. The closer a match the keywords in a resume are to a job description, the better a candidate's chances of being selected for a job interview.

Why and How to Include Action Verbs in Your Resume

The keywords in your resume will help you get selected for a job interview. Hiring managers search by keywords to find resumes that match the job qualifications they established when they listed the job.

In addition to listing keywords specific to your occupation (like software or sales skills) include action words that show you what you have accomplished. Rather than just stating a list of duties, include action keywords in your position descriptions.

Here's an example:

  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Specialized in product order management
  • Helped manage associates on the sales floor

List of Resume and Cover Letter Action Verbs

Review these tips for how to get your resume past the applicant tracking systems employers use, and this list of action keywords to use to get your application noticed when applying for jobs.

A
Achieved, accomplished, acted, adapted, addressed, analyzed, authored, authorized, assessed, assisted, appraised, amended, advised, allocated, altered, accelerated, acquired, aided, assembled

B
Budgeted, built, brainstormed, balanced, blended, boosted

C
Compiled, combined, challenged, chaired, committed, communicated, coordinated, calculated, contributed, commissioned, confirmed, customized, created, challenged, critiqued

D
Decided, developed, disclosed, documented, discovered, designed, determined, demonstrated, deferred, distributed, directed, devoted, drafted, doubled, diversified, designated, dedicated, discussed

E
Exercised, expected, earned, elected, engaged, entered, engineered, employed, edited, evaluated, entertained, eliminated, exchanged, ended, estimated, exempted, endorsed, expedited, experienced, enforced, explained

F
Facilitated, focused, financed, fueled, figured, fit, formed, fortified, functioned, formulated

G
Guided, grouped, gave, garnered, granted, generated, guaranteed, gathered, graphed

H
Hired, handled, helped, headed

I
Improved, identified, installed, inspired, interviewed, issued, invested, illustrated, implemented, incurred, innovated, inspected, invented, interpreted, inaugurated, informed, induced, instilled, incorporated

J
Judged, joined, justified

L
Located, lectured, launched, litigated, lobbied, led, listened

M
Mastered, managed, merchandised, modified, met, minimized, modeled, measured, moderated, motivated, multiplied, marketed, maximized, moved, mediated

N
Negotiated, noticed, navigated, networked

O
Operated, owned, observed, oversaw, organized, obtained, oriented

P
Participated, printed, proposed, pursued, persuaded, perceived, preserved, processed, produced, promoted, planned, performed, pioneered, passed, prioritized, proficiency, provided, profiled, polled, presented, procured, purchased, placed, permitted

Q
Quoted, qualified, questioned, queried

R
Ranked, resolved, received, rewarded, revised, revitalized, revamped, responded, restored, rejected, reinforced, reinstated, rehabilitated, remedied, redesigned, recruited, recovered, recorded, reduced, replaced, retained, retrieved, reversed, ran, raised, reached, reviewed, researched

S
Saved, secured, stabilized, scheduled, screened, settled, separated, sent, selected, shaped, shortened, showed, signed, simplified, sold, specialized, staged, standardized, steered, stimulated, strategized, surveyed, supported, supplied, substantiated, set goals, supervised, studied

T
Trained, tabulated, took, traveled, transformed, tested, transferred, tailored, targeted

U
Utilized, uncovered, united, updated, undertook, unified, upgraded

V
Verified, valued, validated, visited, visualized

W
Witnessed, worked, weighed, wrote, won, welcomed

Lists of Keywords

Read More: Cover Letter Keywords | Resume Keyword Examples | How to Use Resume Keywords