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Action Words 101 - Undergrad Success
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Action Words 101

Action Words 101

Give yourself some credit. Really, if your experiences have taught you something valuable or your achievements were remarkable, tell it to the world! Modesty is not becoming on a résumé.

Maybe you think your job history does not prove much. True, my first job I brushed a lot of horses and cleaned up a lot of poop, but that was my first job. My second job did not require revolutionary skills or an impressive résumé either.

We are talking about your résumé for your first job out of college or that golden internship. Maybe you were previously shift supervisor at a greasy burger joint under a cracked out manager or acted as a nanny for a little beer money during college. There is a way to say that in better terms. It is by action words.

Action words powerfully represent the magnitude of your experience and achievements. (You did learn a thing or two whether you really cared to or not.) They can also make a résumé an interesting and engaging read–as much as a résumé can be, anyway. Without adding extra words, action words also add dimension to your résumé by implying additional traits, such as ambition and effectiveness.

Watch this:

Nanny,Adam & Eve Christianson, Paradise Township, Earth 2,000,000 BCE – 1,999,997 BCE

  • Adhered to stringent parental instructions to care for two sons’ nutrition, physical activity, homework, chores, and entertainment
  • Assisted boys with assignments to maintain good grades

Or try…

  • Coordinated and supervised engaging activities for two energetic boys, now 8 and 10, while teaching about rewards of prioritizing obligations and responsibilities
  • Tutored boys in variety of subjects, which played critical role in eldest graduating elementary school; both saw improvement in all areas

See that? I tell you, a thesaurus is a résumé writer’s best tool. The right words, especially action words, can say more than a long-winded description by implication. With the right words, a résumé can paint a vivid picture of one’s experience and impact.

Yeah, yeah. I used more words in the second part of the example, but see how much more employable information it offers? With just a few more words, the message changed from “one who adheres (follows directions, whoop-de-doo), cares for, assists and maintains” to “one who coordinates, supervises, teaches and improves.” The latter sounds a lot more like an enthusiastic, patient, organized and effective leader just by implication.


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