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Action Verbs

Introduction

Resumes often use lists that start with action verbs. Here’s an example of such parallel structure:

  • Coached the senior basketball team
  • Organized all fundraising activities for the athletics program
  • Received the Peter O’Brian Volunteerism Award

Compare, by contrast, the following version:

  • Coach of the senior basketball team
  • Organized all fundraising activities for the athletics program
  • I was awarded the Peter O’Brian Volunteerism Award

This list feels sloppy and disorganized. Obviously you don’t have to use only action verbs, but they can certainly help to achieve a unified look.

Categories

The following list focuses on verbs that are particularly useful for high school and university students who are just starting out in their careers. For lists with a different focus, please see the resources section below.

Leading

administered
approved
assigned
conducted
controlled
coordinated
decided
determined
directed
handled
headed
hired
hosted
implemented
initiated
led
managed
oversaw
planned
recruited
responsible for
supervised

Communicating

advertised
answered
clarified
communicated
consulted
contacted
corresponded
distributed
emailed
explained
formulated
informed
interacted
interviewed
listened
marketed
persuaded
presented
promoted
proposed
publicized
recommended
referred
reported
represented
responded
spoke

Being Creative

acted
designed
drew
directed
displayed
entertained
illustrated
painted
performed
photographed
played
recited
sang
spoke

Starting and Developing

adapted
began
created
designed
developed
devised
established
experimented
explored
founded
initiated
introduced
invented
maintained
modified
started
updated

Analyzing

analyzed
assessed
compared
evaluated
examined
judged
inspected
investigated
located
measured
monitored
observed
researched
reviewed
screened
searched
tested
tracked

Organizing

administered
arranged
catagorized
catalogued
collected
combined
compiled
defined
expanded
gathered
integrated
organized
prepared
processed
reconciled
reorganized
revised
scheduled
submitted
synthesized
verified

Writing

composed
condensed
drafted
edited
formulated
outlined
recorded
revised
summarized
translated
wrote

Financial

assessed
audited
budgeted
calculated
estimated
purchased

Improving Productivity

altered
corrected
focused
improved
increased
lessened
maximized
modified
optimized
prevented
prioritized
redesigned
reduced
replaced
resolved
restored
simplified
solved
standardized
streamlined
systematized
upgraded

Supporting

assisted
collaborated
coached
contributed
enabled
encouraged
enhanced
facilitated
helped
guided
instructed
involved
joined
participated
partnered with
provided
suggested
supplied
supported
taught
trained
tutored
volunteered
worked with

Achieving

completed
concluded
ensured
executed
finished
obtained
produced
qualified
secured
solved
succeeded in
surpassed
won

Operating

handled
operated
ran

Further Resources

For more lists of action verbs, check out the following: