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Use Action Words to Get the Job

Action words help your application, resumé, and job interview stand out. They’re the specific, descriptive words you use to tell employers about your skills and achievements.

These exercises will help you identify action words that highlight your successes and strengths as an employee, student, or volunteer.

Task 1: What you’ve done

Circle or write down the words that describe your tasks or successes. Think about activities at work, in school, or as a volunteer. If you’re choosing most of these verbs, skip to tasks. 

  • accomplished
  • achieved
  • adjusted
  • administered
  • adopted
  • advised
  • analyzed
  • ascertained
  • assessed
  • assisted
  • attained
  • budgeted
  • calculated
  • collaborated
  • communicated
  • completed
  • conceived
  • conducted
  • consolidated
  • constructed
  • consulted
  • contributed
  • controlled
  • co-ordinated
  • counselled
  • created
  • decreased
  • delegated
  • delivered
  • demonstrated
  • designed
  • developed
  • disseminated
  • distributed
  • diverted
  • doubled/tripled
  • eliminated
  • enforced
  • engineered
  • equipped
  • established
  • evaluated
  • executed
  • expanded
  • expedited
  • generated
  • implemented
  • improved
  • improvised
  • increased/raised
  • initiated/started
  • inspected
  • inspired
  • installed
  • instructed
  • introduced
  • investigated
  • launched
  • lowered
  • maintained
  • monitored
  • motivated
  • multiplied
  • negotiated
  • obtained
  • opened
  • operated
  • ordered
  • organized
  • originated
  • persuaded
  • predicted
  • prepared
  • prescribed
  • produced
  • promoted
  • proposed
  • provided
  • realized
  • recommended
  • reconciled
  • reduced/cut
  • reinforced
  • repaired
  • revamped
  • reviewed
  • revised
  • revitalized
  • risked
  • saved
  • scheduled
  • secured
  • selected
  • simplified
  • sold
  • solved
  • stimulated
  • strengthened
  • submitted
  • succeeded
  • supported
  • transferred
  • translated
  • trouble-shot
  • uncovered
  • unified
  • upgraded
  • used
  • widened
  • won
  • wrote

Highlight the words that describe activities you enjoy. These activities probably involve skills you’re good at. Use them when you write your resumé and talk to employers.

For each word you chose, ask yourself "what?" or "who?" For example, what did you achieve? Who did you advise? Who did you motivate? What did you upgrade? Fill in your answer next to the circled words.

Use these answers for the skills or employment history of a job application or resumé.

Task 2: Who you are

This exercise helps you describe your positive traits and strengths.

Circle or write down the work-related words that describe you best.

  • accurate
  • adaptable
  • adventurous
  • alert
  • ambitious
  • amiable
  • analytical
  • articulate
  • assertive
  • attentive
  • attractive
  • broad-minded
  • businesslike
  • calm
  • capable
  • careful
  • cautious
  • charitable
  • charming
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • compassionate
  • competent
  • competitive
  • confident
  • conscientious
  • conservative
  • considerate
  • consistent
  • constructive
  • cool-headed
  • co-operative
  • courageous
  • courteous
  • creative
  • curious
  • daring
  • decisive
  • dedicated
  • dependable
  • determined
  • diligent
  • disciplined
  • discreet
  • eager
  • easy-going
  • efficient
  • energetic
  • enterprising
  • enthusiastic
  • flexible
  • forceful
  • formal
  • frank
  • friendly
  • generous
  • hard-working
  • healthy
  • helpful
  • honest
  • humorous
  • imaginative
  • independent
  • industrious
  • informal
  • innovative
  • introspective
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • light-hearted
  • logical
  • loving
  • loyal
  • mature
  • meticulous
  • modest
  • motivated
  • objective
  • obliging
  • open-minded
  • optimistic
  • organized
  • original
  • outgoing
  • patient
  • people-oriented
  • perceptive
  • persevering
  • pleasant
  • positive
  • practical
  • productive
  • progressive
  • prudent
  • punctual
  • quick
  • quiet
  • realistic
  • receptive
  • reflective
  • reliable
  • resourceful
  • responsible
  • self-confident
  • self-reliant
  • sensitive
  • sharp-witted
  • sincere
  • smart
  • sociable
  • sophisticated
  • spontaneous
  • stable
  • steady
  • supportive
  • systematic
  • tactful
  • talented
  • tenacious
  • thorough
  • thoughtful
  • tolerant
  • trusting
  • trustworthy
  • unaffected
  • versatile

For each word you chose, ask yourself or "how?" For example, how were you accurate? How did you show your confidence? How did you show your patience? Fill in your answer next to the circled words.

Use these answers for the strengths or attributes section of a job application or resumé.

Power up your resumé       

Action words add polish and power to what you tell employers about yourself. The more precisely you describe your skills and strengths and the situations in which you’ve used them, the more impressed employers will be.

 

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