Recognizing – and saying – you accomplished something is important. There is no place this is more essential than on your resume.

Every bullet point on a resume counts. And how you start each one wins you at least 50% of the battle. The use of clear past tense action verbs at the beginning of sentences is critical.

Start each bullet on your resume with the strongest possible action verb that you can use: led, directed, analyzed, negotiated, planned, implemented, authored, created, designed, launched, and recommended. 

Two rules of thumb: first, every bullet point (in the experience section at least) should convey the sense, as robustly as you possibly can, that you did X, Y, or Z, i.e. an action, an accomplishment.

Second, these actions must cleverly reflect critical skills that almost all jobs require, and that every person who ever reads a resume is consciously or sub-consciously looking for in a candidate:

Problem Solving • Analytical • Leadership • Teamwork • Communication• Persuasion/Influencing • Quantitative • Creativity • Relationship Management

Some examples

NO    Responsible for making short videos and sizzle reels.

YES   Produced over 23 short documentary videos on complex topics ranging from X to Y.

NO    Maintained website and coordinated database updates.

YES   Ran the organization’s website, oversaw critical updates to a 1000+ member database.

NO   Worked on notes for the committee on various policy issues.

YES   Drafted notes for, and briefed, the committee on relevant foreign policy issues such as X and Y.

Think you need more guidance? Check out our resumes page for more great free resources. Get started on your resume with one of our five templates. Download a list of Careerly approved resume action verbs here.