Best Action Verbs For Management And Executive Resumes

Pitch yourself at the right level.

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action verbs resume
Irene McConnell
3 min read

July 7, 2021

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In a few short years, you have been promoted to the leadership ranks. You now get paid to lead a team and to achieve results through others. This post represents a significant upgrade in your levels of responsibility.

The question is – has your resume kept up with your evolution? If you were to apply for your next leadership role today, would it sell you at the right level of seniority?

Sell Yourself With The Right Action Verbs.

Recruiters and hiring managers rarely make risky bets on management- and executive-level hires. They typically look for candidates who’ve “been there and done that”.

get a spectacular resume

Faced with a deluge of applications, they weed out unsuitable candidates through a variety of tactics, but the first step is to usually disqualify those, whose resumes look, feel or smell “too junior”.

This is where your choice of action verbs for your resume becomes critical.

Action verbs shape at least 60% of your perceived seniority level.

To ensure that your resume doesn’t sell you short, select verbs that:

  • Give power.
  • Give purpose.
  • Avoid being transactional.

Before I unpack all of the above, let’s make sure that I answer the bleeding obvious question – if you’re like me, and didn’t take Advanced English at University.

(Related: How To Prepare For A Psychometric Test).

What The Heck Is An Action Verb?

An action verb is a word that points to the subject of a sentence who is doing something or is taking an action. For example:

“I shampooed the dog.”

An action verb is the opposite of a passive verb, which points to the subject of a sentence who is receiving an action. For example:

“The dog was shampooed today.”

Clear as mud? If you want to really geek out on verbs, check out this advanced guide to deploying the right verb at the right time.

By the way, to outsource this entire resume writing affair to a top-notch professional, check out my Sydney- and Melbourne-based resume writing services for senior business leaders.

Best Action Verbs For Senior Management Resumes.

When you apply for roles at this level, employers will want to see that you:

  • Can deliver results that feed into the strategic priorities of the business.
  • Are comfortable operating on both strategic and tactical levels.

With that context, here are the top 10 action verbs that will help you craft an effective senior management resume:

  1. Delivered
  2. Protected
  3. Boosted
  4. Influenced
  5. Cultivated
  6. Transitioned
  7. Enabled
  8. Delegated
  9. Forged
  10. Expanded

Let me give you an example of how these action verbs help you craft punchy, elevated resume achievements:

Delivered $8.3m in operational cost savings by consolidating global customer support teams within the Melbourne head office, influencing the leadership team to redirect savings into the purchase of a higher-efficiency CRM system.

Or..

Boosted monthly advertising revenues by 9% through improved ad retargeting, engaging a digital agency to design, roll out and test new advertising campaigns designed to lower ad spend and increase user engagement.

Or..

Protected project outcomes of the ABC Town Square development, renegotiating abbreviated timelines and right-sizing spending to deliver a 25% over-budget, building project to original targets only 4 weeks after the original deadline.

Best Action Verbs For Executive Resumes.

At the executive level, you’re expected to shift your attention away from day-to-day tactics. To showcase your ability to operate at a strategic level, focus your resume on leadership competencies, particularly those related to:

  • People and culture.
  • Business direction.
  • Strategy and roadmaps.
  • Commercial performance.

My top 10 action verbs for executive resumes are:

  1. Spearheaded
  2. Inspired
  3. Championed
  4. Deployed
  5. Transformed
  6. Appointed
  7. Established
  8. Chaired
  9. Oversaw
  10. Guided

Let’s take a look at how these can be used to showcase your leadership abilities in an executive resume:

Guided the company from a net loss to a gain position by addressing governance issues, upskilling country managers and transforming company culture from one of data apathy to that of data-centrism.

Or..

Enabled a more profitable and efficient business model by spearheading the transition from analogue to digital market analysis.

Or..

Established and oversaw a 3-year digital transformation strategy that led to a 24% boost in market share though, allowing the business to further penetrate the high-margin M&A market.

Are Action Verbs Interchangeable?

You’re probably wondering whether you can use action verbs from the executive category in a senior management resume, and vice versa?

The answer, unequivocally, is “yes”.

In fact, a lot of senior executive resumes feature action verbs such as “boosted” and “influenced”. Similarly, resumes of senior managers often feature action verbs that are more traditionally associated with actions of executives – for example, “chaired” and “oversaw”.

This is allowed because the full breadth and depth of a role can’t be captured with one word.

Rather, it needs to be fleshed out through nuance and context – both of which you provide subsequently, in the nitty-gritty detail of your resume. Feel free to be flexible with the verbs, but be sure to demonstrate your level of seniority by pointing to the right business outcomes. Notice how the executive-level examples above point to more strategic aspects of business, while management-level examples target one level below.

All the best in your job search – and I hope that my advice action verb advice will help you upgrade your resume to the next level.

– Irene
 

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