Resume 3 mins read

Action Verbs vs. Buzzwords: Crafting a Compelling Resume

Generic, overused resume buzzwords are the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for recruiters. They see terms like "team player," "motivated," and "results-oriented" so often that they lose all meaning. The solution? Infuse your resume with powerful action verbs that tell a story about your unique accomplishments! Let's dive into how to make your resume truly stand out.

Why Action Verbs Matter

  1. Showcase Skills: They demonstrate what you did, not just abstract qualities you think you possess. Example: "Spearheaded" conveys leadership far more powerfully than "team player."

  2. Quantify Success: Action verbs pair beautifully with numbers to illustrate impact. Instead of "handled customer service," try "Resolved 20+ customer issues daily, exceeding satisfaction targets by 15%."

  3. Tailor to the Job: Different industries favor certain verbs. Analyze job descriptions to see which actions are emphasized and mirror those words in your resume.

Buzzwords to Banish (and What to Use Instead)

  • "Team Player" Try: Collaborated, Supported, Mentored

  • "Problem Solver" Go with: Analyzed, Troubleshot, Optimized.

  • "Results-Oriented" Demonstrate results: Boosted, Increased, Reduced

  • "Innovative" Prove it: Developed, Pioneered, Streamlined

Buzzwords to Avoid (with Action-Oriented Replacements)

  • Hard Worker: Doesn't illustrate what you achieve. Try: Dedicated, Diligent, or use examples of going above and beyond (e.g., "Consistently worked overtime to meet project deadlines").

  • Detail-Oriented: Again, show don't tell. Try: Meticulous, Thorough (or use examples highlighting accuracy, QA work, error reduction)

  • Dynamic: Vague and overused. Instead: Adaptable, Resourceful, Versatile

  • Strategic: Prove it! Try: Designed, Implemented, Evaluated (Tie to specific strategic outcomes)

  • Creative: What kind of creativity? Try: Conceptualized, Visualized, Innovated

Power Verb Tips

  • Start Bullet Points: Each achievement bullet in your experience section should begin with a strong verb.

  • Vary Your Verbs: Avoid repetition; a mix of verbs makes your resume more dynamic.

  • Online Resources: Thesauruses and "power verb" lists can spark inspiration. [Consider linking to a helpful resource]

Beyond the Verbs

While verbs are vital, don't neglect these aspects for a compelling resume:

  • Specificity: Saying you "managed projects" is vague. What kind of projects? What was the scope?

  • Outcomes: Never just list tasks. Always tie back to results (increased sales, improved efficiency, etc.)

Power Verb Examples (Categorized)

  • Leadership: Initiated, Mentored, Delegated, Oversaw, Supervised

  • Communication: Articulated, Presented, Negotiated, Facilitated, Persuaded

  • Technical: Coded, Built, Analyzed, Tested, Troubleshot

  • Problem-Solving: Identified, Diagnosed, Resolved, Optimized, Streamlined

  • Project Management: Planned, Executed, Managed, Budgeted, Tracked

Additional Tips:

  • Industry Matters: Tech resumes might favor verbs like "deployed" and "prototyped," while marketing might lean towards "crafted" and "engaged."

  • Thesaurus Power: Use one, but carefully! Choose verbs that accurately reflect your actions, not just those that sound fancy.

The AI Advantage

AI resume builders can be powerful allies in crafting a compelling resume. Tools like AcePrep, an AI Resume Builder not only suggest powerful verbs but analyze your overall text to spot buzzwords and help you create a more unique and impactful presentation of your skills.

Ready for a Resume Revamp?

Put these tips into action and give your resume a fresh dose of energy! If you want a shortcut, try our free AI resume builder AcePrep for personalized suggestions on verb usage and overall optimization.

Other blogs in this series


  1. The Essential Resume Sections: What to Include and Why

  2. Resume Design Matters: Formatting Tips for Readability and Impact

  3. The Power of Keywords: Optimizing Your Resume for Success

  4. Action Verbs vs. Buzzwords: Crafting a Compelling Resume

  5. Tailoring Your Resume: The Key to Landing Your Dream Job

    Experience-Based Guides

  6. Crafting a Winning Entry-Level Resume: Highlight Your Potential

  7. Resume Transformation for Career Changers: Sell Your Transferable Skills

  8. The Mid-Career Resume: Showcasing Growth and Achievements

  9. Senior Executive Resume: Highlighting Leadership and Impact

  10. Freelancer & Consultant Resumes: Project-Based Success Stories