Resume and Cover Letter Action Verbs

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It’s always a good idea to use keywords and action verbs in your resume and cover letters. Using the right words not only shows what you have accomplished in previous jobs. These words also help your resume, cover letter, and other application materials get selected by the software and hiring managers who screen your documents.

What Are Resume Action Verbs and Keywords?

From the job seeker perspective, keywords are the words job seekers use to search for available positions. For the employer, keywords are the terms that hiring managers use to screen resumes and cover letters to find applicants that are a good fit for a job.

There are different types of keywords. Job keywords are words that describe your skills and qualifications. They describe the hard skills you have that qualify you for a job.

Action verbs show your ability to succeed. For example, words like accomplished, developed, managed, and handled describe what you have achieved.

Keywords are used to match an applicant with an available job. The closer the keywords in a resume are to those in a job description, the better a candidate's chances of being selected for a job interview.

Why and How to Include Action Verbs in Your Resume

The keywords in your resume will help you get selected for a job interview. Hiring managers search by keywords to find resumes that match the job qualifications they established when they listed the job.

In addition to listing keywords specific to your occupation (like software or sales skills) include action words that show you what you have accomplished. Rather than just stating a list of duties, including action keywords in your position descriptions.

Here's an example:

  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Specialized in product order management
  • Helped manage associates on the sales floor

List of Resume and Cover Letter Action Verbs

Review these tips for how to get your resume past the applicant tracking systems employers use, and this list of action keywords to use to get your application noticed when applying for jobs.

A
Achieved, accomplished, acted, adapted, addressed, analyzed, authored, authorized, assessed, assisted, appraised, amended, advised, allocated, altered, accelerated, acquired, aided, assembled

B
Budgeted, built, brainstormed, balanced, blended, boosted

C
Compiled, combined, challenged, chaired, committed, communicated, coordinated, calculated, contributed, commissioned, confirmed, customized, created, challenged, critiqued

D
Decided, developed, disclosed, documented, discovered, designed, determined, demonstrated, deferred, distributed, directed, devoted, drafted, doubled, diversified, designated, dedicated, discussed

E
Exercised, expected, earned, elected, engaged, entered, engineered, employed, edited, evaluated, entertained, eliminated, exchanged, ended, estimated, exempted, endorsed, expedited, experienced, enforced, explained

F
Facilitated, focused, financed, fueled, figured, fit, formed, fortified, functioned, formulated

G
Guided, grouped, gave, garnered, granted, generated, guaranteed, gathered, graphed

H
Hired, handled, helped, headed

I
Improved, identified, installed, inspired, interviewed, issued, invested, illustrated, implemented, incurred, innovated, inspected, invented, interpreted, inaugurated, informed, induced, instilled, incorporated

J
Judged, joined, justified

L
Located, lectured, launched, litigated, lobbied, led, listened

M
Mastered, managed, merchandised, modified, met, minimized, modeled, measured, moderated, motivated, multiplied, marketed, maximized, moved, mediated

N
Negotiated, noticed, navigated, networked

O
Operated, owned, observed, oversaw, organized, obtained, oriented

P
Participated, printed, proposed, pursued, persuaded, perceived, preserved, processed, produced, promoted, planned, performed, pioneered, passed, prioritized, proficiency, provided, profiled, polled, presented, procured, purchased, placed, permitted

Q
Quoted, qualified, questioned, queried

R
Ranked, resolved, received, rewarded, revised, revitalized, revamped, responded, restored, rejected, reinforced, reinstated, rehabilitated, remedied, redesigned, recruited, recovered, recorded, reduced, replaced, retained, retrieved, reversed, ran, raised, reached, reviewed, researched

S
Saved, secured, stabilized, scheduled, screened, settled, separated, sent, selected, shaped, shortened, showed, signed, simplified, sold, specialized, staged, standardized, steered, stimulated, strategized, surveyed, supported, supplied, substantiated, set goals, supervised, studied

T
Trained, tabulated, took, traveled, transformed, tested, transferred, tailored, targeted

U
Utilized, uncovered, united, updated, undertook, unified, upgraded

V
Verified, valued, validated, visited, visualized

W
Witnessed, worked, weighed, wrote, won, welcomed

Resume Example

This is an example of a resume with action verbs. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a resume
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Download the Word Template

Resume Example (Text Version)

Lewis Givens
18 Oak Lane
Houston, TX 77009
Cell: 555-555-5555
lgivens@email.com

PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE

Physician Education / Territory Development / Relationship Building

Nationally top-ranked pharmaceutical sales representative with unprecedented success establishing market dominance for antidiabetics products. Charismatic presenter and negotiator, deftly forging and maintaining lasting relationships with physician groups and pharmacies. 

Notable Sales Achievements

  • Scored Pharma Sales Rep of the Quarter regional and national titles every year between 2010 and 2018.
  • Pioneered new territories for newly launched Bleudacan® family of products, leading product to top 5% ranking nationally within six months of release.
  • Consistently earned Chairman’s Circle and National President’s Club accolades throughout career.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Biomed Corporation, Houston, TX
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2016 to Present)

Orchestrate market launch and territory penetration for Bleudacan® antidiabetics across the Southwest region of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

  • Leveraged network of major accounts across four-state territory to ensure immediate market dominance of novel Bleudacan® products.
  • Authored well-received whitepaper on sales trends in the antidiabetics market.
  • BigPharma Inc., Houston, TX

Biogenics LLC, Houston, TX
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative (06/2009 to 06/2016)

Established reputation as winning physician educator as representative for the antidiabetics Restorex® and Historelb® in the Texas regional market.

  • Captured Chairman’s Circle rankings for each year of tenure.
  • Increased sales of Restorex® by 58% and of Historelb® by 46% within six months of hiring.

EDUCATION

University of Texas, Austin, TX
Bachelor of Science in Marketing

Professional Development

Antidiabetics Sales, Value-driven Sales Techniques, Territory Growth Strategies, Regulatory Issues