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Writing Action Verb Statements

The use of well-chosen action verb statements is a proven, highly effective resume writing technique. Incorporating action verbs with the description of your experiences emphasizes the strengths and skills you possess.

Examples:

  • "Tutored" a group of underachievers in remedial reading.
  • "Organized" information for budget and "delivered" to management.
  • "Conducted" interviews with prominent sports figures for student newspaper.
  • "Directed" test programs to insure conformance of equipment to customer requirements.
  • "Planned" group sessions in math and "created" individual lesson plans for problem students.
  • "Selected, supervised, and trained" a staff of 20.
  • "Created, built, and tested" a piston pump later adopted by the company.
  • "Collected and interpreted" survey data. "Documented" results and conclusions.
  • "Prepared" monthly reports and "created" an index file system for quick retrieval of documents.

A simple way to begin your building of action verb statements is to first write your experiences in complete sentences beginning with the pronoun "I". For example:

I called our customers to collect the unpaid bills they owed us. I invented some form letters to send to our customers asking them to pay their bills. I wrote up the daily remittance report to give to the comptroller. I helped to settle disputes our customers had about faulty merchandise. I changed our filing system to make it easier to find things in a hurry.

Now, drop the "I" and begin your statement with an action verb. Make sure you statements are to the point.

  • Collected $1.0 million in receivables in one year.
  • Developed form letters which resulted in more efficient cash flow.
  • Compiled daily remittance report.
  • Reported directly to corporate controller.
  • Settled customer disputes.
  • Reorganized filing system resulting in quick access to all departmental information.

Here's an example for an Education resume:

    I constructed and then taught lesson plans according to specific IEP objectives for Resource Room Students grades 6-8. I worked on a learning center so that students could understand colors. I went to a few meetings with parents. I met with students after school to help them study for an exam on a book we were reading. I led a field trip to the Niagara Falls Aquarium and used the experience in my science class.

Now, drop the capital "I" and begin your statement with an action verb.

  • Developed and implemented lessons from sixth-eighth grade resource room classes based on students' IEP objectives.
  • Created a learning center called "Crazy Colors" to reinforce a unit on rainbows.
  • Participated in parent-teacher conferences
  • Organized after-school literature study group for To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • Facilitated field trip to Niagara Falls Aquarium.
  • Planned and taught lessons on aquatic life utilizing hands-on experiences.

Notice how adding specific titles (e.g. Niagara Falls Aquarium, Crazy Colors) adds authenticity and is more eye-catching. Also notice that the first bullet in each example provides an overview of your major responsibility(ies). Bullets following the overview speak to individual and specific accomplishments and achievements.

The following is a sample list of verbs commonly used in writing resumes. Using this list, think of additional action verbs that appropriately describe the skills you used. You may find other examples of action verbs in written job descriptions. A thesaurus might also be used. Use present tense when describing current work; otherwise use past tense.

ACCOMPLISHED ACHIEVED ACQUIRED
ADDED ADRESSED ADJUSTED
ADMINISTERED ADVERTISED ADVISED
ALLOCATED ALTERED ANALYZED
ANSWERED ANTICIPATED APPLIED
APPRAISED APPROVED ARRANGED
ASSEMBLED ASSESSED ATTAINED
AUDITED AUTHORED AWARDED
BUDGETED BUILT CATALOGUED
CALCULATED CHAIRED COACHED
COLLABORATED COLLECTED COMBINED
COMMUNICATED COMPILED COMPLETED
CONCEIVED CONDENSED CONDUCTED
CONSULTED CONSTRUCTED CONTRACTED
CONTRIBUTED CONTROLLED CONVERTED
COORDINATED COUNSELED CREATED
CRITIQUED CULTIVATED DECREASED
DELEGATED DELIVERED DEMONSTRATED
DESIGNED DETECTED DETERMINED
DEVELOPED DEVISED DIAGNOSED
DIRECTED DISPLAYED DISTRIBUTED
DOCUMENTED DRAFTED EDITED
EFFECTED ELIMINATED ENFORCED
ENLARGED ENTERED EQUIPPED
ESTABLISHED EVALUATED EXAMINED
EXPANDED EXPEDITED FACILITATED
FOLLOWED FORMULATED FOSTERED
FOUNDED GATHERED GENERATED
GOVERNED GROUPED GUIDED
HANDLED HARMONIZED IDENTIFIED
ILLUSTRATED IMPLEMENTED IMPROVED
INCORPORATED INCREASED INDEXED
INDIVIDUALIZED INITIATED INSPECTED
INSTALLED INSTIGATED INSTITUTED
INSTRUCTED INSURED INTERPRETED
INTERVIEWED INTRODUCED INVENTED
INVENTORIED INVESTIGATED LOCATED
LOGGED LOWERED MAINTAINED
MANAGED MAXIMIZED MEDIATED
MENTORED MODERATED MODIFIED
MONITORED MOTIVATED NEGOTIATED
NOTIFIED OPENED OPERATED
ORDERED ORGANIZED ORIGINATED
OVERSAW PARTICIPATED PERFORMED
PERSUADED PLANNED PREDICTED
PREPARED PRESENTED PRESIDED
PROCESSED PRODUCED PROGRAMMED
PROJECTED PROMOTED PROPOSED
PROVED PROVIDED PUBLICIZED
PUBLISHED PURCHASED RAISED
RECEIVED RECORDED RECRUITED
REDUCED REFERRED REORGANIZED
REPORTED RESEARCHED RESHAPED
RESPONDED RESTORED REVAMPED
REVIEWED REVISED SAVED
SCANNED SCHEDULED SCREENED
SECURED SELECTED SOLD
SOLICITED SORTED STANDARDIZED
STARTED STRATEGIZED STREAMLINED
STRENGTHENED SUCCEEDED SUMMARIZED
SUPERVISED SURVEYED SYSTEMATIZED
TABULATED TAUGHT TESTED
TRAINED TRANSFERRED TRANSLATED
UPGRADED UTILIZED WROTE

Career Development Center

Buffalo State College  •  1300 Elmwood Avenue  •  Cleveland Hall 306
Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-5811  •  Fax: (716) 878-3152

askcdc@buffalostate.edu