Resume Verbs

When it comes to resumes, the difference between a winner and a loser can boil down to the verbs you use to describe your job skills and work experience.

resume-verbsResumes land job interviews. And whether you like it or not, you only get one shot at impressing potential employers with your resume, so you need to make every word count. Filler material, run-on sentences and (worst of all) bad verbs are like rotten eggs – they send employers running for the exits and seriously jeopardize your chances of a face-to-face meeting with decision-makers.

The rule of thumb is that resume verbs should always pack a punch. Action verbs (e.g. “forged”) are de rigueur these days and widely accepted as a sign of a truly dynamic job candidate. Passive verbs (e.g. “was assigned”) or weak verbs, on the other hand, send the wrong signals to employers and may indicate a lack of passion for your work.

Although it’s possible to become too obsessive about resume vocabulary, it never hurts to take a second look at your resume to make sure it contains the kinds of verbs that pop with hiring managers. To help you make the most of your verbiage, we’ve compiled a list of strong and weak verbs that might be relevant to the work experience contained in your resume.

Strong Resume Verbs

  • Accelerated
  • Achieved
  • Championed
  • Diagnosed
  • Doubled
  • Exceeded
  • Generated
  • Optimized
  • Orchestrated
  • Pioneered
  • Recaptured
  • Spearheaded
  • Upgraded


Weak Resume Verbs

  • Assisted
  • Contributed
  • Helped
  • Maintained
  • Provided
  • Supported
  • Was (responsible for)

A Special Note About Adverbs: Adverbs (words that end in –ly) are dangerous in resumes, especially if they are redundant or have no meaningful value. For example, preceding resume verbs with the word “successfully” is pointless – if your efforts weren’t successful, you would be a fool to include it in your resume.


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