How to Use Action Words in Your Résumé

How to Advance Your Career

If you want to get your foot in the door at a coveted company, you'll need a strong résumé. The key to a good résumé, however, isn't always its contents -- impressive experience, skills, education, for instance. Often, it's good writing.

"Poor wording that does not adequately reflect your qualifications can be the difference between landing an interview and landing at the bottom of the résumé pile," author Skye Schooley writes in an article for Business News Daily, in which she says the secret to a well-written résumé is cogent action words.

"Action words are the verbs on your résumé that allow hiring managers to quickly understand where you spent most of your time in each job and what impact you had on the organization as a whole," notes Schooley, who says action words can make your résumé stand our for recruiters, who spend an average of just six seconds scanning a résumé before making a decision about it. "Action words serve two main purposes: highlighting your skills and experience, and making your résumé easier to read."

According to Schooley, the best action words include those that describe how you improved or increased something (e.g., boosted, accelerated, enhanced, expanded and strengthened), how you facilitated or managed something (e.g., directed, organized, supervised, spearheaded, coordinated) and how you achieved something (e.g., awarded, exceeded, earned, succeeded, honored with).

Concluded Schooley, "Always focus on what you did and the results you achieved for your organization. Using action words to clearly convey those messages brings you one step closer to your dream job."

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