How to Use Action Verbs

1.Apply action verbs to your resume. Start by making a list of your skills and abilities in simple language, with simple verbs. Read over the list and replace the verbs with action verbs. You can also adjust the phrases so the language is concise and clear.
For example, your list of skills and abilities for a customer service position at a retailer might be: “dealt with customers on a daily basis, ran the customer service desk, completed returns and sales transactions, worked with other customer service representatives, talked to my supervisor to keep the customer desk going, counted my till at the end of my shift.”
If you rephrase this list using action verbs, it may look like: “responded to the needs of customers and provided excellent customer service, coordinated the customer service desk with the assistance of my supervisor, processed returns and sales transactions, communicated well with other customer service representatives, and balanced a cash float.”
2.Use skill specific action verbs. If you want to do revise your entire resume so it contains action verbs, you will need to use skill specific verbs to describe different skills. You will describe your communication skills differently than your creative skills and you will need to use different action verbs for each skill set.
To describe your communication skills, use action verbs like “interpreted”, “coordinated”, “negotiated”, “clarified”, and “advocated”.
To describe your creative skills, use action verbs like “composed”, “created”, “established”, “presented”, and “introduced”.
To describe your service skills, use action verbs like “trained”, “assisted”, “facilitated”, “performed”, and “volunteered”.
To describe your management and leadership skills, use action verbs like “achieved”, “managed”, “attained”, “implemented”, “motivated”, “organized”, and “supervised”.
To describe your research skills, use action verbs like “identified”, “examined”, “analyzed”, “collected”, “measured”, and “surveyed”.
To describe your technical skills, use action verbs like “designed”, “programmed”, “assembled”, “calculated”, and “engineered”.

3.Adjust passive language with action verbs. If you are trying to use action verbs in an essay or a piece of professional writing, you will need to shift any passive language and passive verbs to include active language and action verbs. Do this by going through your writing and identifying instances of the passive voice. Then, consider how you can shift the language to the active voice. Pay attention to the use of “was”, “had” and “has been” in your writing. These are often signs of the passive voice and need to be adjusted to the active voice.
For example, a paragraph in the passive voice would be: “A poll on how many people use private healthcare in my neighborhood was conducted by me for my year end project. This meant I was interviewing my neighbors in their homes. A spreadsheet was used to keep track of the information collected. The due date for my project was met and I was awarded an A.”
The same paragraph adjusted to the active voice would be: “For my year end project, I created and prepared a poll of private healthcare use in my neighborhood. I interviewed my neighbors in their homes and created a spreadsheet to record and analyze the data. I completed the project by the due date and achieved an A.”
The second version in the active voice is clear and concise. It uses action verbs that are not too complicated or difficult, but still gets the point across to the reader.

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Note: This article has been adapted from the following source.

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