Simple Resume Guide



Using verbs and adjectives effectively adds impact to your resume. Read this section again carefully just before you actually begin writing.


The typical resume merely lists duties and does little else to sell the person. One of the best ways to sell yourself is to describe accomplishments in terms of results. Duties are often covered by “Responsible for …” Results are generally covered by using the verb developed, such as “Developed a secretary’s manual which explained hundreds of procedures and significantly reduced clerical errors.” This person’s duties were typing, filing, and answering phones, so to show that she stood above the rest, she demonstrated results.


While develop is an excellent word, when used three or four times in a resume it becomes overworked.  You’ll need substitutes. The most common are:

Created                                                Instituted

Designed                                              Introduced

Established                                           Set up


Other verbs that may be appropriate substitutes in certain circumstances would be:

Built                                          Fabricated                                           Originated

Composed                               Fashioned                                            Perfected

Constructed                              Formed                                               Pioneered

Coordinated                              Formulated                                          Planned

Cultivated                                  Generated                                           Prepared

Devised                                     Installed                                              Produced

Elaborated                                Introduced                                           Refined

Enhanced                                 Organized                                             Revamped

Developed (devised, prepared, produced) a creative financing/purchasing package to obtain 1900 acres of prime California farmland.

Developed (created, designed, introduced) a new concept in women’s athletics and actively promoted the program. Participation b women grew from 18% in previous years to 79%

Pioneered mime program for gifted children age 8-12.

Developed (built, created, established, implemented, instituted) an intern program to allow students to work in nursing homes and schools for the retarded.

Developed (designed, established) training programs for new and experienced employees and supervised the new employee orientation program.

Set up apprenticeship programs for five skilled trades at the Physical Plant Department.

Developed and implemented an information and referral service for consumer complaints and human rights issues.

Developed and implemented mail and telephone solicitation programs and word processor systems.

Coordinated the company marketing effort, including advertising and promotions.

Designed and installed cash and inventory control systems for various clients.

Developed (created, designed) a unique computerized system, which has dramatically increased service to customers.

For this small, 29-year-old manufacturer of toys, implemented changes in sales, marketing, and production, which enabled the company to double sales and profits in a six-year period.

Developed and supervised a medical records internship program.

Created an employee orientation program, which increased employee effectiveness and helped decrease turnover.

Developed (created, built) a team of highly motivated employees.

Established a sales award program, which substantially reduced turnover of franchise sales staff.

Foresight                                               Proficient/proficiently

Functional/functionally                            Profitable/profitably

Handy/handily                                        Progressive/progressively

High/highly                                             Quick/quickly

Highest                                                  Rare/rarely

High-level                                              Readily

Honest/honestly                                     Record

Imaginative/imaginatively                        Relentless/relentlessly

Immediate/immediately                          Reliability

Impressive/impressively                         Reliable/reliably

Incisive/incisively                                   Remarkable/remarkably

In-depth                                                Responsible/responsibly

Industrious/industriously                         Rigorous/rigorously

Inherent/inherently                                 Routine/routinely

Innovative/innovatively                           Secure/securely

Instructive/instructively                           Sensitive/sensitively

Instrumental/instrumentally                      Significant/significantly

Integral                                                 Skillful/skillfully

Intensive/intensively                               Solid/solidly

Intimate/intimately                                  Sophisticated/sophisticatedly

Leading                                                 Strategic/strategically

Masterful/masterfully                              Strong/strongly

Meaningful/meaningfully                         Substantial/substantially

Natural/naturally                                    Successful/successfully

New and improved                                Tactful/tactfully

Notable/notably                                     Thorough/thoroughly

Objective/objectively                             Uncommon/uncommonly

Open-minded                                        Unique/uniquely

Original/originally                                   Unusual/unusually

Outstanding/outstandingly                      Urgent/urgently

Particularly                                            Varied

Penetrating/penetratingly                        Vigorous/vigorously

Perceptive/perceptively                          Virtual/virtually

Pioneering                                             Vital/vitally

Practical/practically                                Wide/widely



“Increased sales substantially through creative marketing.”

“Absenteeism was reduced significantly by instituting a system of flexible work hours.”

When you have no idea by what percentage you increased or decreased something, the words significantly and substantially will provide the reader with the feeling you are trying to get across. When you use these words, you are saying that what you did really had an impact. The word extensive can also be used in similar contexts.

Produced an extensive revision of the company procedures manual.”

Extensively involved in staff education and development.

Significantly improved communications between nursing administration and staff.

Virtually all apartment units were completed ahead of schedule.

Continually streamlined policies and procedures to create more reasonable work schedule.

Extremely well-organized and efficient.

Exceptionally well-trained in theatre, dance, and music.

A list of adverbs and adjectives is given below. Review the list and check the ones you feel may be useful to you. Try to include them but don’t force it. Don’t use a word or phrase unless it really fits your personality and strengthens your resume. After writing each draft, go back through the list to see if still another word or two might be useful.

Accurate/accurately                               Decisive/decisively

Active/actively                                       Deep (insight)

Adept/adeptly                                       Deft/deftly

Advantageously                                     Dependable/dependably

Aggressive/aggressively                          Demonstrably

All-inclusive/all-inclusively                      Diligent/diligently

Ambitious/ambitiously                            Diplomatic/diplomatically

Appreciable/appreciably                        Distinctive/distinctively

Astute/astutely                                       Diverse/diversified

Attractive/attractively                             Driving

Authoritative/authoritatively                    Easily

Avid/avidly                                            Effective/effectively

Aware                                                   Effectually

Beneficial/beneficially                             Efficient/efficiently

Broad/broadly                                       Effortless/effortlessly

Capable/capably                                   Enthusiastically

Challenging                                           Entire/entirely

Cohesive/cohesively                              Especially

Competent/competently                        Exceptional/exceptionally

Complete/completely                            Exciting/excitingly

Comprehensive/comprehensively           Exhaustive/exhaustively

Conclusive/conclusively                         Experienced

Consistent/consistently                          Expert/expertly

Constructive/constructively                    Extensive/extensively

Contagious                                           Extremely

Continuous/continually                           Familiar with

Contributed toward                               Familiarity with

Decidedly                                             Firm/firmly

Reduced lost time due to illness 81% and reduced industrial accidents by 67%.

Negotiated a product classification change for California freight, saving $18,000 annually.

Negotiated, awarded, and administered contracts with vendors for the procurement of over 65,000 different standard parts.

Continually streamlined policies to reduce redundant procedures.


Accomplished               Commanded                 Determined                 Fabricated

Achieved                      Commended                 Developed                   Facilitated

Acquired                       Communicated              Devised                      Fashioned

Acted as                       Completed                    Diagnosed                   Filed

Activated                      Compared                    Directed                       Financed

Active in                       Compiled                      Discovered                  Fixed

Adapted                       Composed                   Dispensed                     Followed up

Addressed                   Computed                     Displayed                     Forged (ahead)

Adjusted                       Conceived                    Dissected                     Forecasted

Administered                Conceptualized             Distributed                    Formulated

Advised                        Conducted                    Documented                 Found

Allocated                      Consolidated                Drafted                          Founded

Analyzed                      Constructed                  Dramatized                   Functioned as

Approved                     Conserved                    Earned                         Gained

Arbitrated                      Consulted                     Edited                         Gathered

Arranged                      Contacted                     Eliminated                    Generated

Ascertained                  Contracted                    Employed                    Governed

Assembled                   Contributed                   Enacted                        Graduated

Assessed                     Controlled                     Encouraged                  Guided

Assigned                      Converted                     Enforced                       Handled

Assimilated                   Cooperated                  Engineered                    Headed

Assisted                       Coordinated                  Enhanced                      Hired

Assured                        Correlated                     Enlisted                         Identified

Attained                        Corroborated                Ensured                        Illustrated

Attended                       Counseled                    Equipped                     Imagined

Augmented                   Created                         Established                   Implemented

Balanced                      Culminated in                Estimated                     Improved

Bought                          Cultivated                      Evaluated                     Improvised

Brought                         Dealt                             Examined                     Increased

Built                              Defined                         Expanded                     Informed

Calculated                     Delegated                     Expedited                     Initiated

Clarified                        Delivered                      Experimented               Inspected

Classified                      Demonstrated               Explained                     Inspired

Coached                       Designed                      Expressed                    Installed

Collected                      Detected                       Extracted                      Instigated

Instilled                         Ordered                        Received                      Shaped

Instituted                       Organized                     Recognized                  Shifted

Instructed                      Originated                     Recommended             Shipped

Insured                         Overcame                     Reconciled                   Simplified

Integrated                     Oversaw                       Recorded                     Sold

Interfaced                      Participated                  Recruited                     Solidified

Interpreted                    Perceived                     Rectified                       Solved

Interviewed                   Perfected                      Reevaluated                 Sorted

Introduced                    Performed                    Referred                       Spearheaded

Invented                       Persuaded                    Refined                         Spoke

Investigated                  Piloted                          Regulated                     Staffed

Judged                         Pioneered                    Rehabilitated                 Stimulated

Justified                        Placed                          Related                         Streamlined

Kept                             Planned                        Rendered                     Structured

Kindled                         Played                          Repaired                      Substituted

Launched                      Predicted                      Reported                      Succeeded

Led                              Prepared                      Represented                 Summarized

Lectured                       Prescribed                    Reorganized                 Supervised

Lifted                            Presented                     Researched                  Supplied

Located                        Prevented                     Resolved                      Synthesized

Logged                         Printed                          Responded                  Systematized

Maintained                    Processed                    Restored                      Tested

Managed                      Procured                      Retrieved                      Trained

Marketed                      Produced                     Revamped                    Transferred

Mastered                      Programmed                 Reviewed                     Transformed

Mediated                      Projected                      Revised                        Translated

Minimized                     Promoted                     Revitalized                    Treated

Monitored                     Proposed                     Revived                        Unified

Motivated                      Protected                      Saved                         Updated

Negotiated                    Proved                         Scheduled                    Upgraded

Nominated                    Provided                      Screened                     Utilized

Observed                     Publicized                    Secured                       Validated

Obtained                       Published                     Selected                       Verified

Offered                         Purchased                    Separated                     Won

Operated                      Questioned                   Served                         Wrote

Optimized                     Realized                       Serviced

Orchestrated                                                     Setup


Describe your current job in the present tense. For all previous jobs, write in the past tense. In your current job, you may need to describe an event, such as a project, which has already been completed. In that case, use the past tense to describe the project, while using the present tense in the remaining portions of your current job.

Developed (instituted, introduced, designed) new operating procedures which reduced labor costs 24% of gross revenues to 14%.

Instituted a preventive maintenance program which increased a combat readiness of a unit by 10%.


A resume should sound alive and vigorous. Using action verbs helps achieve that feeling. “I changed the filing system” lacks punch and doesn’t really indicate if the system was improved. “I reorganized and simplified the filing system” sounds much better and provides more accurate information. Review the sentences below to get a feel for action words. Then quickly scan the words in the following list and check any you think you might want to use in your resume. Don’t try to force them in, use them when they feel right.

Conducted long-range master planning for the Portland water supply system.

Monitored enemy radio transmissions, analyzed information, and identified enemy strategic and tactical capabilities.

Planned, staffed and organized the intramural sports program for this 1,200-student college.

Produced daily reports for each trial and made sure documents and evidence were handled properly.

Presented seminars to entry-level secretaries and worked to increase the professionalism of secretaries in the county system.

Improved the coordination, imagination, and pantomime techniques of adults through mime and dance training.

Allocated and dispensed federal money to nine counties, as board member of the CETA Advisory Board.

Evaluated financial health by analyzing financial statements and ratios.

Prevented the loss of numerous key accounts through effective account management and by solving long-standing problems.

Compiled extensive fisheries data from interviews with thousands of sports fishermen.

Researched and proposed a $1,000,000 project to improve warehouse storage and develop a better distribution system.

Since the inventory system was designed over a year ago. It must be described in the past tense.


Adjectives and adverbs are words that describe actions and things. Used appropriately, they can enliven a resume and describe more accurately what you did. Notice how they change the tone of the sentences below.

1.       Worked with industrial engineers.

Worked closely and effectively with industrial engineers.

2.       During seven years as staff pharmacist, learned the operations of the pharmacy department.

During seven years as staff pharmacist, became thoroughly familiar with operation of the pharmacy department.

3.       Initiate and develop working relations with local, state, and federal agencies.

Initiate and develop outstanding working relations with local, state, and federal agencies.

4.       Establish rapport with customers.

Quickly establish rapport with customers.

Here are more examples of how to use these words.

Dealt tactfully and effectively with difficult customers.

Outstanding record in teaching.

Comprehensive knowledge and experience in group facilitation.

Presented technical material in objective and easily understood terms.

Able to actively involve parents in individual Education Plans.

Able to train experienced people and develop highly effective teams.

Consistently maintained high profit margins on all.


Corresponded Arranged Recorded Separated
Performed Referred Consolidated Interviewed
Examined Posted Controlled Removed
Priced Prescribed Built Protected
Ordered Logged Oversaw Typed
Provided Assisted Prepared Counted
Instructed Researched Loaded Drew up
Counseled Reviewed Devised Improved
Invented Manufactured Installed Recommended
Operated Adjusted Labeled Audited
Studied Verified Pulled Determined
Negotiated Phoned Analyzed Increased
Reduced Implemented Wrote Organized
Supervised Developed Coordinated Created
Produced Instituted Planned Expanded
Identified Collected Hauled Administered
Constructed Served Lifted Advised
Tested Received Translated Communicated
Obtained Detected Charted Assembled
Routed Distributed Promoted Filed
Dispensed Filled Lectured Mixed
Sold Directed Conducted Trained
Completed Managed Delivered Checked
Supplied Unloaded Eliminated Designed
Solved Wheeled Maintained Evaluated
Realized Represented Selected Purchased
Sorted Processed Moved Packed


About Vikram
Vikram is an entrepreneur and sporadic blogger. He has a rich working experience in the IT consultancy sector and has now launched his own venture - Content Pad. He is currently the Senior Staff Writer (Technical) at Content Pad. Check out random facts about him @

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