150 Resume Action Words to Impress Employers in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Action words are impactful verbs that help tell your professional story to hiring managers, and they can strengthen your resume by more specifically conveying your experience, impact, and outcomes.

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The right words on your resume can say a lot, conveying your skills, expertise, and accomplishments. Not only can they help you stand out from other candidates who use plain language to describe their responsibilities and accomplishments, but they can also help you specifically express what you have to offer as a candidate and get more attention.   

Finding the best action words to capture your unique professional story can have a big impact. In this article, we’ll discuss how to use action words to talk about your work and ways you can begin looking for more impactful language to bolster your resume.  

What are action words on a resume? 

Action words are verbs that communicate your professional experience: the kind of work you’ve done, what you’ve achieved in your previous roles, and the skills you’ve developed.

Many applicants end up using similar language on their resume: perhaps they led or oversaw or assisted. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with these words, they’re not very dynamic or descriptive, so they don’t effectively express your unique work history, skills, and achievements. 

Why are resume action words important? 

Action words are impactful verbs that help tell your professional story—think designed rather than managed, or initiated rather than oversaw. When you choose the best words to describe your past experience and accomplishments, you help explain to a recruiter or hiring manager why you’d be a strong hire.  

It’s important that you select action words that can quantify your impact. Data has become increasingly important for businesses, and the same holds true for your resume. You should be able to provide some amount of data to quantify your impact, such as:  

  • Redesigned the main homepage, leading to an 18% increase in site visits

  • Streamlined incident response reports, reducing average time to completion from 18 minutes to 12 minutes  

  • Generated three new TikTok campaigns, resulting in a 32% boost in engagement across the platform   

Read more: Resume Keywords: How to Find the Right Words to Beat the ATS

150 resume action words

Looking for the right words to put on your resume?

Below, you’ll find an array of action words arranged by type of responsibility, management, and impact. Use each section as a starting point to help you think about what you’ve done and how to best describe it for a potential employer. 

General responsibilities 

These words express what you did in your previous roles based on your area of responsibility. 


Being creative in a role often means having to generate innovative ideas—or improve upon existing ones. Detail the ways in which you’ve done both with words like:  



Knowing what to look for, or even where to look for it, is a critical skill when conducting research. Show off your critical thinking and analytical skills as much as possible with words like:  



Finding sales leads, bridging relationships with clients or customers, and closing deals all contribute to a business’s overall financial success. Share how you’ve done that with words like:   



Many jobs require some technical or specialized knowledge. Think about the main tasks unique to your role and find action words that represent your ability to do that specific kind of work. Explore the words below to help you get started:


Read more: What Are Technical Skills?


Communicating clearly with people inside and outside of your organization shows a potential employer that you know how to interpret and share information (and it also happens to be a valuable transferable skill). Convey your communication abilities with words like:   


Read more: What Is Effective Communication? Skills for Work, School, and Life


Overseeing a team is a big responsibility. It means managing everything from personalities to deadlines. Detail your leadership abilities and impact with words like:  



Besides finding words that capture your responsibilities, it's important to also highlight what you’ve accomplished in your previous roles. The sections below detail more general impact as well as impact in specific areas.

General impact 

Tell a potential employer about the effect you’ve had with words that highlight how you changed something—a process or a task—and ideally created a better outcome: 


Budgeting impact 

When you’re responsible for budgeting, a potential employer likely wants to know two things: how did you save money and how did you increase profits? Find words that communicate how you achieved one or both:


Project impact 

Projects rely on timeliness, organization, and foresight. Show a potential employer how you impacted past projects—whether that meant contributing to its success or pushing it over the finish line—by choosing language that demonstrates problem solving and attention to detail:   


Customer impact 

Strong customer relationships are the backbone of a good business. Explain how you cultivated new relationships and improved existing relationships to call attention to your impact in this area:  


Tips for finding the best action words for you

The words listed above are just a starting point. Use the following tips to help you expand your resume vocabulary and find the best words possible to detail your past experience. 

1. Use a thesaurus. 

A thesaurus will give you a number of synonyms to use in place of stale or empty words. However, it’s a good idea to verify whether the word you’d like to use fully captures what you originally meant to say. For example, if you’re looking for words synonymous with managed, you’ll likely come across supervised, administered, and organized. But other synonyms, like handled or coped, might not be the best words to use because they don’t impart the leadership or strength of the original word.  

2. Avoid repeating words. 

It’s important that you don’t repeat the same words throughout your resume. Your resume should help tell your story—relying on the same language doesn’t let you express the variety, diversity, or growth of your experiences. 

3. Add an adverb to qualify your impact. 

Adverbs can help qualify your work, meaning that they express your impact in terms of degree—not data. While it’s not necessary to pair every action word with an adverb (or word that modifies a verb), it can be useful in places if you want to highlight a success. For example, instead of organized you can say successfully organized or proactively organized

Make your resume shine with Coursera

In addition to honing the way you describe your professional past on your resume, you can add to the credentials and technical skills you list on your resume by earning a Professional Certificate on Coursera. Learn valuable skills in areas like project management, UX design, data science, marketing analytics, and sales, with courses from top industry leaders like Google, Meta, IBM, and many more.  

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