Your Resume Should Show What You Accomplished, Not Just What You Did

Members of my career mentoring site will tell you that I’m always looking for great information to post here.  Last week I came across a list of 25 action words that work well on resumes.  A good resume writer can help you incorporate these words into your resume in a natural sounding way.  You can see the article where I found them here.

Here are the action words…

  • Advised
  • Compiled
  • Critiqued
  • Coached
  • Designed
  • Directed
  • Established
  • Examined
  • Generated
  • Guided
  • Hypothesized
  • Illustrated
  • Improved
  • Influenced
  • Invented
  • Motivated
  • Negotiated
  • Ordered
  • Oversaw
  • Prepared
  • Recruited
  • Resolved
  • Supervised
  • Trained
  • Upgraded

I’m all for action words on resumes, but action words alone do not make for a compelling resume.  Here’s the reason why.  Action words tell the reader what you did.  Hiring managers are interested in what you’ve accomplished.  There is a big difference.

Let me give you some examples…

What you did: Negotiated a new office supplies contract.

What you accomplished: Negotiated a new office supplies contract resulting in a 20% year to year savings.

What you did: Coached new hire mentors.

What you accomplished: Coached new hire mentors resulting in a 30% decrease in first year employee turnover.

What you did: Established an inbound marketing program.

What you accomplished: Established an inbound marketing program that led to a 25% increase in sales.

See what I mean?  Use action words – they’re a great way to begin sentences.  But show what you accomplished as a result of taking the actions you did.  That’s the key to resumes that generate interviews.  And that’s all a resume is meant to do — generate interviews.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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