A résumé, or curriculum vitae (CV), is a record of your history and achievements in a concise yet comprehensive form. An effective résumé does not summarize everything you have done in your life. Details of your education and qualifications are essential, but other information should be carefully selected. It provides information about past activities that demonstrate your suitability for activities in the future.

Your résumé provides an opportunity to impress potential employers with a presentation of your background and skills. This is perhaps one of the most important documents you will ever produce in your professional life. A carefully crafted résumé can help land you an interview for a dream job. A résumé is a form of marketing which can potentially get you a direct pay-off.

Common Expressions

One important feature of résumés is the frequent use of action verbs. Action verbs can demonstrate your initiative, highlight your talents, and stress your past accomplishments. Writing with action or strong verbs characterizes you to potential employers as an energetic and active person. Action verbs can also express achievements or something a person does in a concise and persuasive manner.

Below is a list of skills that you may like to highlight in your own résumés. Can you think of some relevant action verbs to describe the skills?

Management/Leadership Skills

- Administered a variety of online questionnaire surveys to collect data about workers’ job satisfaction
- Coordinated data processing operations for the 2014 census in the government office, including training supervisors and staff members

Useful Action Verbs:
analyzed, appointed, assigned, attained, authorized, chaired, consolidated, contracted, coordinated, delegated, directed, enforced, executed, hosted, incorporated, initiated, inspected, instituted, mediated, motivated, overhauled, oversaw, planned, presided, prioritized, recommended, reviewed, scheduled, streamlined, strengthened, united, etc.

Communication/People Skills

- Reconciled conversion of customer accounts between clearing firms
- Instructed campers in scuba diving, snorkeling, lifesaving and canoeing

Useful Action Verbs:
addressed, advertised, arbitrated, articulated, authored, clarified, collaborated, conferred, conveyed, debated, directed, drafted, edited, elicited, explained, formulated, furnished, incorporated, interacted, judged, marketed, mediated, negotiated, observed, presented, promoted, proposed, publicized, recruited, solicited, synthesized, translated, wrote, etc.

Technical Skills

- Served as a technical advisor on operational activities of the data processing and field departments during the 2014 census
- Implemented financial procedures for securities firm for reconciliations and financial reporting

Useful Action Verbs:
adapted, assembled, built, calculated, computed, conserved, constructed, converted, debugged, designed, determined, engineered, fabricated, fortified, installed, maintained, operated, overhauled, printed, programmed, rectified, regulated, remodeled, repaired, restored, specialized, standardized, upgraded, utilized, etc.

Teaching Skills

- Developed compliance, financial and operations procedures for full-service brokerage house
- Processed transfer of new stock for over 600 client accounts after acquisition of Western Mutual Savings and Loan

Useful Action Verbs:
aided, advised, clarified, coached, communicated, conducted, critiqued, defined, enabled, evaluated, facilitated, fostered, guided, incorporated, individualized, instilled, lectured, motivated, simulated, stimulated, tested, trained, transmitted, tutored, etc.

Financial/Data Skills

- Established and maintained accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and inventory control
- Completed a $65 million acquisition of a company and integrated its operations into the group

Useful Action Verbs:
administered, allocated, analyzed, appraised, audited, balanced, budgeted, computed, conserved, corrected, determined, documented, estimated, forecasted, invested, managed, marketed, measured, planned, predicted, programmed, projected, quantified, reconciled, recorded, reduced, retrieved, verified, etc.

Helping Skills

- Handled employee payroll from processing of employee computer time records to the generation of W-2 forms
- Operated and maintained customized system for billing and receipt of payments from hospital patients

Useful Action Verbs:
adapted, advocated, aided, answered, arranged, assessed, assisted, clarified, coached, collaborated, contributed, counseled, demonstrated, diagnosed, educated, ensured, expedited, facilitated, familiarized, furthered, helped, insured, intervened, performed, rehabilitated, represented, simplified, solved, supported, trained, upheld, volunteered, etc.

Organization/Detail Skills

- Standardized management reports for customer service department
- Formulated and implemented advertising programs for a major consumer products company

Useful Action Verbs:
approved, arranged, catalogued, categorized, charted, classified, coded, compiled, distributed, executed, filed, generated, implemented, incorporated, inspected, logged, maintained, monitored, obtained, operated, ordered, registered, reserved, responded, scheduled, screened, submitted, supplied, systematized, etc.