The CSE’s Go-To List of Action Verbs

Lights Camera Action Image

Lights! Camera! Action Verbs!

Definition of action verb

a verb that expresses action “Drive” in “We often drive past their house” and “think” in “Let’s think about the problem” are both action verbs.

A few days ago, I was using our updated resume templates to explore VMock (our AI Resume Editing Platform) and was surprised, and a little embarrassed, to see that VMock had caught us over-using “Analyze” in several places throughout the templates.

So we definitely get it, finding – and not overusing – the right action verbs for your resume can be hard! Fortunately the CSE has a go-to list of action verbs that we use help students spice up their resumes and cover letters, and we’ve put this list in several formats (below) so you can find the version that work’s best for you!

#1: Original Article: The Muse “185 Powerful Action Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome

This CSE recommended article by The Muse takes a specific accomplishment or action, and provides a list of potential action verbs that would be appropriate for describing that action. Start with this article if you’re new to the concept of action verbs, or if (like me) you know the words but struggle to remember them while putting together your application materials.

#2: Sortable List Form: CSE List of Action Verbs

Once you’re more familiar with action verbs, check out this google sheet. We’ve adapted the Muse article to show side-by-side the suggested action verb, the over-used action verb it is replacing, and the action this new word is describing. “File>Make a Copy” or “File>Download>Excel” to generate a version that you can sort and highlight your favorites!

#3: The basic list of CSE Resume Action Verbs

For the Action Verb professional, this alphabetized list of “just the action verbs” (also adapted from the Muse Article) is perfect for when you just need some suggestions for fine-tuning your resume. Print it out! Frame it! Hang it on your wall! We won’t judge 🙂

But always ALWAYS make sure that you double check that you’re using each action verb correctly and that you’re not overusing any! #analyze

I hope these lists were helpful, and if you’ve taken the time to read this blog post to the end, I expect you to never use “led” or “responsible for” on your resume or cover letter ever again!

By Natalie Warila
Natalie Warila Assistant Director, Career Strategies