Grammatically speaking, so-called “action” verbs are no different from any other verbs. However, strong verbs are not the same thing as action verbs.
What are action verbs? They are verbs that clearly and vividly demonstrate an action. According to CliffsNotes, “An action verb animates a sentence, either physically ( swim, jump, drop, whistle) or mentally ( think, dream, believe, suppose, love). Verbs make sentences move; sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly.”
Action verbs are the opposite of linking verbs. Those are verbs like “is” that describe a state of being. For instance, in the sentence, “He is the King of England,” is functions as a linking verb. It’s not very inspiring or specific. Notice the difference when we change is to an action verb: “ He ruled England.” The sentence is shorter and makes more of an impact.
How will this impact your resume? You have a limited amount of real estate on the page and less than a minute to make a good impression. When you use powerful, dynamic verbs, you can describe your experience very specifically and in fewer words. For instance, “I worked in advertising for fifteen years” may be an accurate statement, but it does not tell the reader anything interesting.
According to a 2013 study conducted by CareerBuilder, we discovered potential employers want to see action verbs. “Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills, and accomplishments,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven’; it would be better to show the employer your actual results.”
Any time you make a change on your resume, you run the risk of introducing an error. It doesn’t matter how powerful your verbs are so make sure you always proofread!
Click link below to download a list of our own 500 Resume Action Verbs to help you clinch that job: