An Effective Way to Get You Noticed

I was never one to boast about accomplishments, so when it came to resume writing I was stuck. “A resume is your way of bragging about your abilities to people who have never met you.” What a horrifying but necessary concept. That’s when I began to emerge from my guilt cocoon and discovered that I didn’t need to be uncomfortable with bragging, just smart. I will show you the what, how, and why of action language. You can thank me later. 

What is Action Language?

Action language: words that express action, verbs. In the context of resume writing action language is used to convey strength, cause, and certainty. Hiring staff are clued into the horribly reliable buzzwords and are looking for more unique and stunning resumes.

For instance, a typical definition of action language in use is ‘leadership.’ It’s a great thing to have on your resume, very important for growth and trust. However, it also is very typical and easy to brush off. Instead of the expected word try using a synonym like Headed, Operated, Produced, Planned, Coordinated, Executed. All are much more descriptive, therefore they are eye-catching and useful to a hiring manager. 

How do I use it in my resume?

That is to say, where is it most effective? The greatest readability is only having a few bullet points under each previous experience. Here is where action language is key.

For example:

2018-2019: Soaps, Scents, and Suds- Manager

  • Lead a team of seven to completing company customer service and policy
  • Created a new version of the Christmas display for customers to better see the products
  • Provided excellent customer service through the complaints and management. 
  • Achieved a new sales milestone by managing my team. 

There isn’t anything really wrong with this example, it’s just a bit boring. Their accomplishments should be the focus but it’s passed over because of how they wrote it. On the other hand, when we insert some action language the resume reads a lot better: 

2018-2019: Soaps, Scents, and Suds- Manager

  • Directed a team of seven to completing company customer service and policy
  • Designed a new version of the Christmas display for customers to better see the products
  • Resolved customer comments, complaints, and questions. 
  • Attained a new sales milestone by managing my team. 

There are more great articles with examples of active language and how to use them at The Muse and at wellesley.edu:

Why is Action language important?

Action language does wonders to highlight your accomplishments. Using descriptive, active language creates a sense of drive and specificity that will encourage hiring staff to engage with you.

In other words, being intentional with your speech directly affects the way you carry yourself and how people respond to you. Saying you ‘earned your title’ rather than you ‘got a promotion’ is a much more effective position to interview from.

Action language has helped me immensely. Not only am I confident in my work, but I am also building confidence in myself. Learn more about effective resume writing at our Career Creation Course; sign up to have access to incredible tools that will help you navigate the job market.