News and Insights / Career Resources

Action Verbs: The Key To An Impactful Resume

Man Reviewing Resume

How to make a clear, concise, and concrete statement in your resume


If you’re an avid career blog reader, you’ve most likely heard that you should use action verbs throughout your resume. But what exactly are action verbs, and why should you use them?

It’s actually quite simple: action verbs are targeted, impactful verbs that make a clear, concise, and concrete statement about your tasks. For example, using “Architected new deployment pipeline” instead of “Responsible for deployment pipeline creation.” The latter is very generic, implying you had a part in the process, while the former makes it clear you built the entire thing from scratch yourself.

Action verbs should be used in your resume to highlight your skills and expertise.

How should I use action verbs?

Our first piece of advice would be to research the terms that are used in your industry. You can do this by searching for jobs and reading their description.

For example, DevOps uses terms such as architected, leveraged, evangelized, implemented, designed, delivered, automated, standardized, prioritized, optimized, etc. By using industry terms in your own resume, you’ll clearly indicate your responsibilities and knowledge of the field – and as an added bonus, the improvements will better support your resume’s visibility within Applicant Tracking Systems used to manage candidate resumes and profiles.

A word of warning: when using action verbs, make sure you know what they mean! This may seem like a silly warning, but it’s sadly a bit necessary. Action verbs are there to make you sound intelligent and impactful, but using the wrong verbs will make you sound unprofessional and perhaps lacking experience in your field. A quick google ‘define:’ search to confirm the word means what you think it means will easily mitigate this problem.

Great, I’m on board! What action verbs should I use?

As stated above, you’ll want to research your industry for specific terms and sprinkle those in your job responsibilities. However, here’s a good list that may help you get a head start. These can be applied to pretty much any industry.

Here are action verbs that imply leadership or ownership of a project:

Orchestrated, delegated, spearheaded, managed, created, led, implemented, strategized, established, architected, organized, advocated, oversaw, designed, negotiated, planned, presented, produced, researched, solved, trained, championed, coached, enabled, facilitated, instituted, launched, advised, aligned, cultivated, developed.

Here are action verbs that describe having a stake in, or making improvements to a project:

Optimized, improved, redesigned, leveraged, maintained, configured, engineered, evangelized, delivered, automated, standardized, prioritized, audited, collaborated, generated, identified, tested, decreased, partnered.


Where do I go from here?

Revise responsibilities in your resume to include action verbs at the start of each sentence.

For example, if a sentence in your resume read:

Responsible for 3 juniors, including training and management.

Change that to:

Trained and managed 3 juniors on company policies, job duties, performance, and more.

Play around with the verbs, and – we cannot stress this enough – utilize verbs specific to your industry. These seemingly small changes will make a big impact on your resume.

We’ve always advocated for tailoring your resume. This advice still stands when it comes to action verbs. For instance, if you have general experience in marketing and you’re applying for jobs as a marketing specialist and as a content writer, the experience may overlap in some sense, but the action verbs and responsibilities will need to be tailored for each job. You should not be sending the same resume for a content writing job and a marketing specialist job!

The good part is, by working on multiple resumes, you’ll get a ton of experience using action verbs and figuring out which verbs work well for what types of tasks. So, here’s to becoming a pro in action verbs!


Did you have a positive experience updating your resume to use action verbs? We want to hear from you! Share your experience with us:


About System One

System One delivers specialized workforce solutions and integrated services. We help clients get work done more efficiently and economically, without compromising quality. For more than 40 years, we’ve built our reputation on exceptional talent, flexible delivery, and full accountability. System One’s national network spans energy, engineering, IT, commercial, scientific & clinical, legal, marketing, and beyond. System One is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Looking for business solutions?

Explore System One

Have business needs? Searching for a job?

Let's connect.
We can help.

Get Started
Happy employees working together for success