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Grew, increased, augmented: the trick to writing the perfect resume is choosing the perfect resume words. That is, making good verb choices without a thesaurus.

The structure for each bullet point on your list of accomplishments is a success verb plus specific numerical data regarding an accomplishment in your field or role. Which means that you’re in the market for a list of good success verbs.

Finding the perfect resume words

Finding enough different verbs to say “I did it” in a clever way is often a struggle for professionals writing their resumes. Typical resume advice has focused on making sure that each verb is an active verb, but there are two problems with this advice.

First, most Americans don’t work with active vs. passive verbs on a daily basis, so the concept is not entirely relevant to their lives. “Was shot out of a cannon,” for example, doesn’t count.

And, second, even the stable of active verbs includes some very bland duds that do nothing to help persuade a future employer.

The worst resume action verbs

One of the most over-used active verbs is ‘managed,’ but there are others equally as tepid such as ‘established,’ ‘defined,’ and ‘performed.’

None of these are very good, even though they are active: they don’t sell your future employer on what you are able to do, or what benefits you are able to bring to their team.

After all, white-collar employees by definition establish, manage, define and perform a wide variety of tasks. But were they any good at them? That’s the important fact a hiring manager or recruiter wants to know.

Use success verbs for your resume accomplishments

Which makes it important that every bullet point in your resume include a success verb, not just an active verb. Success verbs demonstrate success — something got better. Because you were there, something changed, something improved, something progressed.

Verbs such as increased, decreased, improved, and reduced are all success verbs. Verbs that should be avoided are verbs and phrases that are static such as 'managed,' 'my responsibilities included,' 'hired to,' 'was responsible for,' and so forth. These are all verbs that merely tell a fact rather than show you in a heroic light.

When you begin a bullet point with empty non-achievements such as 'I was hired, 'I managed' and 'I was responsible for,' you are squandering the opportunity to showcase the benefits you brought to your boss and your company in your prior role.

These are the words you should use on your resume

So what are “success verbs?” The list below covers most bullets you can think of on your resume.  Here, then, are all the success verbs you might ever need:

Accelerated

Achieved

Added

Awarded

Changed

Contributed

Decreased

Delivered

Eliminated

Exceeded

Expanded

Gained

Generated

Grew

Improved

Increased

Introduced

Maximized

Minimized

Optimized

Produced

Reduced

Saved

Sold

Streamlined

 

 

 

Of course, it’s not enough to just have the verb. You should try to include a specific numerical accomplishment as well in your accomplishment statements. Numbers and statistics tell a powerful story, and indicate to a recruiter or hiring manager what you can do to impact the bottom line of their company.