Mar 24

How to use action verbs to make your resume stand out

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Our previous post this month covered the best ways you can make sure that your job descriptions are concise, clear, and easy to understand. We reviewed the reasons for this, namely that a well-written description might just be the deciding factor in helping you get your foot in the door.

In addition to writing the best job descriptions possible and using any relevant industry-specific keywords, you also already know that you should be avoiding using military language unless it’s a foregone conclusion that the person reading it will be able to understand. Now let’s take a look at action verbs, what they are, and why you should be using them.

Action verbs are confident, plain and simple. They provide specific language that clearly identifies your contributions at previous positions. Unlike weak cliché verbs that undermine the strength of your resume, well-placed action verbs can help you stand out from the crowd. In this competitive job market, that’s always a good thing. Let’s take a look at some examples of the difference that action verbs create.

Weak and unclear: “Participated in weekly team status meetings.”

Confident and specific: “Facilitated and led status meetings to communicate growth.”

The second option here is incredibly detailed and offers the reader a clear understanding of precisely what you did in your role. As a transitioning service member, this is super important since it’s likely that you’re already facing an uphill battle translating your military service into language civilians can comprehend. Your resume should be full of action verbs to make sure hiring managers understand the impact of your contributions.

One of the most impacting things you can do is combine action verbs with measurable results to show both what you did and the effect that it had. For example, “Rewrote the organization’s SOP, which resulted in smooth and simple communication with outside offices.”

English is a robust and dynamic language, so you might be wondering what kind of action verbs are best to include in your resume. Here are a few categories that can help you decide which words to add to your well-written job descriptions.

To expand on your accomplishments within the unit, try any of the following:









These verbs are all clear and are immediately understood by the reader. These types of verbs will serve you well as you continue to fine-tune your resume to make it easier for civilians to understand.

As you put the final touches on your action verbs, remember that you can easily group your achievements into categories. Instead of tired phrases like “responsible for,” “served as,” or “duties included,” consider using impacting verbs that will resonate with the hiring manager. Any of these words are excellent substitutes for those phrases.















Most importantly, remember that your resume is only as good as s the effort you put into it, and the more time you invest, the better it’s going to serve you. Adding in action verbs, writing clear and easy to understand job descriptions, and using a resume format that’s best suited for you will all help bring you one step closer to finding your next favorite job.