99+ Essential Keywords and Phrases for Impactful Resumes

Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer
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Hiring managers review thousands of resumes in their careers. Since these professionals spend a matter of seconds reading each, they are looking for something special to draw them in. That’s where resume action words come into play.

If you want to make sure that your application gets more than a cursory glance, using strong action verbs is the answer. In the following guide, we will take a look at some of the worst words you can use on your resume, plus 99+ essential keywords and phrases that will help you create the most impactful resume.

The worst words to use on your resume

Want to stand out from the crowd for the right reasons? 

Avoid using cliche words and phrases that are likely to appear on a ton of other resumes. These tired terms fail to convey a strong message and will bore the hiring manager. It’s not a good look. 

The language you use says a whole lot about you as a candidate. Using the wrong wording can make you sound like a cog in the machine instead of a creative go-getter. 

Here are some examples of words and phrases that are often used but should be avoided at all costs:

Experience in…

This says nothing about your achievements. All “experience” means is that you were present and maybe attempted to contribute. You won’t win any prizes for merely showing up. 

Instead, use words that express your actual contribution in quantifiable terms. The more you can showcase your value to the hiring manager, the better your chance of landing an interview. 

Later in this guide, we will take a look at the best resume action words to use.

Team player

Here’s another meaningless phrase that hiring managers are tired of seeing. Once again, you’re making a claim without backing it up with an example or any real evidence. If you worked as part of a department, you will have become a “team player.” It counts for zero.

Instead of using this phrase, bring an example of a situation in which you exemplified success in a team setting. 

Using the “show, don’t tell” approach is the way to go. 

That means showing the hiring manager what you can do. To get this right, the most important thing you need to do is quantify your success.

Hard worker

Spoiler: Telling someone you’re a hard worker won’t convince them of a single thing. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can make this claim, but — without evidence — it’s a waste of paper. 

Rather than using this bland statement, provide the hiring manager with some evidence of your work ethic. That will show them that you are worth your weight in gold. 

Specific examples work best. Be prepared to discuss these examples in depth come interview time.


Here’s the golden rule: Do not include things that should be a given. Motivation is an absolute must for nearly every position, and it’s hardly something you should brag about.

Don't waste space reiterating the obvious. Use your resume to show the employer what sets you apart from the rest of the pack, not to state you have the bare minimum requirements.

Results-oriented professional

This dull phrase is similar to the one above and just as common. The fact that you’re applying for a position as a professional should be enough to express the fact that you consider yourself a professional. 

Don’t state the obvious. 

As for the “results-oriented” statement, that’s pretty useless to a hiring manager. If you never saw the results of your work, you’re probably not a professional. This type of redundancy doesn't help you stand out; it just lumps you in with the rest of the pile.

Strong negotiation skills

Here’s a standout example of a phrase that sounds kind of descriptive. But, it fails to properly describe your achievement related to the claim. 

It’s important that you bring an actual, real-life scenario as evidence for your claim. 

Something like, “Negotiated with vendors for 8% savings” is a more descriptive and way more effective way of conveying this message.

Your goal is to be perceived as a go-getter and an achiever, not someone playing a minor part who just waits for orders to follow. Creative wording will not only help you better present yourself as a strong potential asset, it will make your resume more interesting to read.

Resume action words to use in 2024

Now that we have a good idea of what ineffective resume wording looks like let’s go over some alternatives. Using powerful resume action words will elevate your application. 

In this section, we will be discussing what action verbs are and why you should use them. As if that wasn’t enough, we will also share 99+ resume action words you can use right now.

What are resume action words?

First up, let’s talk about what these words are. Resume action words are typically verbs that give your application that extra pizazz. Rather than simply stating what you did, these words put you in the driver’s seat, showing that you were in charge of the action that took place.

Chances are, you’ve heard that action verbs are important before now. There’s a reason for that. Most of the bullet points you include on your resume should start with a verb. You have the choice of whether to use a dull, tired verb or a punchy action verb. You know which to choose.

If you want to win over the hiring manager and land your next interview, it’s important to use resume action words well. These phrases will help you to gain a competitive edge over other candidates. If you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself, you’ve just found it. 

Expert Tip

Don’t rely solely on resume action words!

Of course, it’s not simply about using the right words. In addition, you want to tell a short story in each point. Don't just proclaim yourself an expert negotiator; show them why you are an expert negotiator. Quantifying your accomplishments is always a must! 

Resume action words examples for communication skills

Communication is the beating heart of any business. When you work as part of a team, you need to make sure that you can understand your coworkers and get your point across. 

While you should include communication skills in your skills section, you can also convey your talents elsewhere. Let’s take a look at some of the resume action words you can use:

  1. Addressed 

  2. Presented

  3. Arranged 

  4. Convinced

  5. Spoke 

  6. Coached

  7. Educated

  8. Fielded

  9. Recruited

  10. Motivated 

  11. Influenced 

  12. Proposed

  13. Advocated

  14. Consulted 

  15. Clarified

  16. Corresponded

The important thing to notice is that these examples of communication-oriented action verbs on a resume set the stage for a descriptive point. You need to quantify them when you use them. 

Here are some examples of how that might look: 

  • Addressed logistical issues by reworking supply line, resulting in 20% savings

  • Presented weekly progress report on behalf of development team

  • Influenced management’s decision regarding [WHAT?], resulting in 15% uptake in monthly revenue

As you can see, when you use words like “addressed” or “presented,” you are making it clear that you’re about to describe exactly what you addressed, what you presented, and why that was beneficial to the company.

Your resume should be all about providing the potential employer with examples of your successes. Using strong action verbs like the ones listed above tells the reader that you’re about to follow with an example, and that’s exactly what they are looking for.

Expert Tip

Looking for some more advice? You can learn more about the best ways to highlight communication skills in our primer on Including Communication Skills on a Resume (Examples and Tips). Check it out now. 

Resume action words examples for organizational skills

Organizational skills are soft skills, making it hard to quantify them. However, that doesn't mean you can’t go into detail about these talents. Here are some great words to start off descriptive bullet points that effectively convey your exceptional organization:

17. Actualized
18. Oversaw
19. Managed
20. Organized
21. Arranged
22. Coordinated
23. Modeled
24. Tracked
25. Visualized
26. Tested
27. Calculated
28. Prepared
29. Reviewed
30. Ordered
31. Developed
32. Constructed
33. Spearheaded

As you can see from the above list of examples, these action verbs show the reader that you’re about to tell them, specifically, what you did. The more specific you are when using these words, the more effective they will be. Here are some examples of how that works:

  • Developed new filing system, resulting in more efficient workplace and easier collaboration

  • Spearheaded an innovative initiative that increased productivity by 6%

  • Implemented updated organizational software leading to easier customer management

We can’t over-emphasize how important it is to have specific, actionable points. The very purpose of these verbs is to make it clear what you have achieved. Start by using one of the above resume action words and then build upon that point. Think of it like painting a picture for the reader.

Resume action words examples for management skills

Management is no different from any other skill. On a resume, our goal is the same: Use the points to give a detailed description of your responsibility and, more importantly, how you successfully made good on that responsibility. 

If you want to show that you have what it takes to be a leader, you need to highlight your experience and talents in that area. With that in mind, here are some examples of action verbs that will start off your points most effectively:

34. Delegated 
35. Administrated 
36. Coordinated 
37. Established
38. Executed 
39. Pioneered
40. Headed-up
41. Hosted
42. Presided
43. Motivated 
44. Analyzed
45. Managed
46. Overhauled
47. Chaired
48. Elevated

These can be a bit trickier because management always depends on the people they are managing for effective results. Of course, if you have specific statistics that will demonstrate your effectiveness as a leader, that’s the most important thing to convey. Let’s look at some examples of how you might do just that:

  • Presided over sales team, resulting in a 30% increase in sales in 4 months

  • Coordinated efforts between 3 teams to quickly roll out new product

  • Managed development team to consistently produce deliverables ahead of schedule

As you can see, it’s possible to get into the details of your achievements even if you do not have quantifiable statistics to back them up. Consider how you can most effectively showcase your talents to the hiring manager on your resume. 

Resume action words examples for technical skills

Technical skills are hard skills. That means that they can be demonstrated directly through questioning, testing or be proved with a degree or certificate.

Expert Tip

Use a hybrid resume format!

When you’re applying for a role in the world of tech, you have countless options. If you’re building a technical resume, you could put a larger emphasis on its skill section. 

You can do this by using a hybrid resume format rather than the standard chronological order format. Read more about the different resume formats here.

While you should include technical skills in your skill section, that rarely gives you the space to qualify them. For that reason, it’s smart to weave these talents through the body of your resume. You can include them in the bullet points in your work experience section. 

To make sure that each of your points has a real impact, you should use the right resume action words. These phrases let the hiring manager know that you’re a real pro. 

Here are some great action verbs to start off your technical points:

49. Assembled
50. Upgraded
51. Built 
52. Created
53. Solved 
54. Maintained
55. Debugged
56. Frame-worked 
57. Engineered
58. Deployed 
59. Coded
60. Restructured 
61. Designed
62. Unified
63. Predicted 

Let’s look at these in context for a moment. “Developed a CRM system using Java” does not show that you are the best candidate for the job. If another candidate comes along who is an expert in Java, they can easily usurp you. However, if you say, “Frame-worked, developed, and maintained a CRM system using Java,” you show that you were the head honcho.  

The lesson here is that you should always be looking for ways to accentuate your value. Don’t merely state what happened; let the reader know that you were the main character. Your achievements are your best weapon when it comes to landing a job interview. 

Productivity resume action words examples

Productivity is the aim of the game in the modern working world. If you want to make sure that you get ahead, showing that you are efficient and prolific is the way to go. 

Rather than simply stating the duties that you completed in a previous role, talk about how you made each of them more efficient. Luckily for you, there are plenty of resume action words you can use to get the job done here.

The right words can showcase your productive prowess in seconds. Let’s take a look at some resume action words that you may want to include in your next application: 

64. Boosted
65. Enhanced
66. Improved
67. Consolidated 
68. Delivered
69. Exceeded
70. Expedited 
71. Maximized
72. Outpaced
73. Reduced
74. Capitalized
75. Gained
76. Furthered
77. Amplified 

The above words convey a sense of efficiency and transformation. Rather than saying that you “saved money for the business,” you can say that you “Maximized the business’ saving potential.” The small tweak makes a major difference to how the hiring manager sees you. 

Sales resume action words examples

If you work in sales, it’s vital that you show what you can bring to the table. The hiring manager wants to know that you have what it takes to seal deals. While you can show that by quantifying your statements, using the right resume action words is a good place to start. Here are some examples that you may want to try for yourself:  

78. Negotiated
79. Partnered
80. Acquired
81. Pitched 
82. Upsold
83. Secured
84. Closed
85. Championed
86. Sourced
87. Forged 
88. Navigated 
89. Liaised 
90. Resolved
91. Identified 
92. Evaluated 
93. Quantified
94. Reported

Examples of how you might use these include “Secured 100+ new leads every quarter and liaised with partners.” It’s all about demonstrating your ability to take charge of your work. 

  • What exactly did you do each quarter? 

  • How can you outline those results? 

You should be asking yourself these questions before you start writing your statements. Combining strong action verbs with tangible results will help you to put your best foot forward here. 

Resume action words examples to demonstrate achievements

And finally, let’s talk about your achievements. It doesn’t matter which career path you have chosen to follow; your achievements will speak for themselves. Outlining these on your resume is a simple way to pique the hiring manager’s interest quickly. 

Think long and hard about the accomplishments that you want to share with the reader. When you are ready, you can use the following resume action verbs to write about them:

95. Achieved
96. Won
97. Completed
98. Showcased
99. Reached
100. Attained
101. Succeeded
102. Earned

There are plenty of ways that you can use the above to talk about your achievements. Here are some examples that you may want to use for inspiration: 

  • Successfully completed quarterly task list before the hard deadlines

  • Attained the Employee of the Month Award 3 times in 2 years

Think about how you can share your biggest brags with the hiring manager. By using strong action verbs throughout your work experience section, you will grab their attention. 

Get their attention, get the job

If you need to find a job fast, you need to impress and catch the attention of the recruiter with effective and attention-grabbing vocabulary. The words you use paint a picture of your value before you ever speak to the hiring manager – shouldn't you use the best words you can?

Ready to take your resume to the next level? Get your free resume review from our team of experts now. Stand out from the competition for the right reasons. 

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Marsha Hebert, professional resume writer

Written by

Marsha Hebert, Professional Resume Writer

Marsha is a resume writer with a strong background in marketing and writing. After completing a Business Marketing degree, she discovered that she could combine her passion for writing with a natural talent for marketing. For more than 10 years, Marsha has helped companies and individuals market themselves. Read more advice from Marsha on ZipJob's blog.

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