Action words, also called power words, are essential in any resume to show jobs, skills, or accomplishments. They make the resume more positive and strong, showing the applicant in the best possible light. Look at these two sentences:
The second sentence is stronger and shows action. The first sentence is passive and weak.
There are four main reasons to use action words in resumes.
When writing in the active voice, the reader knows who or what is performing the action. Writing in the passive voice is often vague, hard to understand, and awkward. Many times, writing in the passive voice is done to intentionally obscure the facts and place the blame elsewhere.
Here is a list of action words to use in resumes sorted by type of skill being described. Remember, each line in a resume should ideally start with a strong action word.
Here is a list of some great action words for engineering resumes:
adapted, applied, analyzed, assembled, built, calculated, computed, conducted, conserved, constructed, converted, debugged, designed, determined, developed, devised, engineered, fabricated, fortified, installed, overhauled, printed, rectified, reengineered, regulated, remodeled, repaired, replaced, restored, solved, specialized, standardized, studied, transmitted, upgraded, and utilized.
Here are some action words for sales resumes:
achieved, acted, analyzed, assisted, budgeted, collaborated, conducted, coordinated, created, defined, designed, determined, developed, distributed, ensured, established, exhibited, generated, implemented, increased, launched, led, maintained, managed, met, originated, planned, prepared, processed, promoted, reorganized, represented, reviewed, trained, and worked.
The words you choose in a resume are key to show your strengths. Well-placed adjectives can ensure that you describe yourself correctly. Well-chosen action words give you the opportunity to clearly describe your prior accomplishments.
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