Prove That You’re a Self Starter With These Resume Tips

How do you show that you’re a self-starter without saying it? By following these tips on the right synonyms, skills, and accomplishments to put on your resume.

a year ago   •   6 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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If you’d describe yourself as a self-starter, a go-getter, or entrepreneurial, you’re probably exactly what most recruiters are looking for.

The only problem? Proving that you’re self-driven without sounding, well, completely self-centered.

This means that your resume and cover letter shouldn’t contain words like:

  • Self-starter
  • Self -motivated
  • Self-driven
  • Go-getter
  • Driven
  • Hotshot
  • Rockstar
  • Entrepreneur
  • Visionary

Instead, you want to use clever synonyms and impactful accomplishments that allow hiring managers to come to those conclusions on their own. Let us walk you through exactly how to do that, including a step by step guide and resume-ready examples.

How to show self motivation on your resume

  1. Use synonyms for being a self starter instead of coming right out and saying it.
  2. Start your bullet points with action verbs that emphasize self motivation and entrepreneurship.
  3. Choose examples of accomplishments that show times when you were self driven.
  4. Include side hustles, projects, gig work, and self-created roles.
  5. Focus on skills that relate to self motivation.
  6. Give your resume a checkup to see how well you’ve communicated being a self starter.
How to show that you’re a self starter with resume synonyms
How to show that you’re a self starter with resume synonyms

Like other soft skills, self-motivation is not a skill hiring managers want to see listed on your resume. Instead, they want to see accomplishments that highlight self-motivation. Upload your resume to the tool below to find out if you have used strong synonyms to show self-motivation.

Self driven resume synonyms

Looking for another word for self starter? Forget trying to brainstorm adjectives or adverbs that mean the same thing. They all fall into the same trap — that is, that hiring managers don’t want to hear how you’d describe yourself, they want to see what you’ve actually done.

What you need is a strong action verb. This keeps the focus exactly where you want it — on your accomplishments — while still giving you an opportunity to show off your best qualities.

Action verbs to use if you get things done

Do you have what it takes to keep going until a job is finished? If you’re a self starter — and not a quitter — use action verbs like:

  • Completed
  • Achieved
  • Expedited
  • Attained
  • Effected
  • Resolved
  • Overcame
  • Reduced
  • Launched
  • Mastered
  • Handled
  • Eliminated
  • Overhauled
  • Strengthened
  • Delivered
  • Automated

Action verbs for showing off your entrepreneurial nature

Do you define yourself by your side hustles? If you live by the adage “there are 24 usable hours in every day,” use these action verbs:

  • Pioneered
  • Founded
  • Started
  • Established
  • Conceived
  • Created
  • Released
  • Opened
  • Originated
  • Invented
  • Introduced
  • Led
  • Designed
  • Instituted
  • Spearheaded
  • Innovated

Action verbs to use if you’re a high achiever

Do you work harder and produce better work than anyone else? That’s a tough thing to say without coming across as conceited, but these action verbs will do the trick:

  • Improved
  • Upgraded
  • Doubled
  • Tripled
  • Generated
  • Accelerated
  • Outpaced
  • Exceeded
  • Surpassed
  • Increased
  • Expanded
  • Maximized
  • Capitalized
  • Awarded
  • Won

Action verbs that show you’re willing to go the extra mile

Are you always the first to put your hand up for a new initiative? Do you take on extra work with a smile? Try these action verbs:

  • Volunteered
  • Registered
  • Engaged
  • Enrolled
  • Enlisted
  • Joined
  • Assisted
  • Collaborated
  • Undertook
  • Adopted
  • Campaigned
  • Proposed
  • Networked
  • Cultivated
  • Hosted
  • Contributed

Action verbs that demonstrate your ability to work independently

Is self-motivation your best quality? If you can work well without supervision or oversight, try using action verbs like:

  • Initiated
  • Introduced
  • Planned
  • Organized
  • Streamlined
  • Solved
  • Discovered
  • Drafted
  • Structured
  • Devised
  • Researched
  • Investigated
  • Arranged

Self starter resume bullet points

Getting the right action verb is step one. Step two is choosing the right accomplishment to go with it. Here are some examples of resume-ready bullet point accomplishments that prove you’re a self starter.

Launched the first AI remote vegan food delivery service to people living in rural areas which achieved 65% of the organization’s objectives within the first four months.

The best accomplishments for showing that you’re a self starter are the ones where you actually started something — and saw it through to completion.

Reorganised web content on three products to make it more user-friendly and engaging, in an effort to reach and surpass the annual campaign objectives.

Ever hear the expression “good enough isn’t?” Self starters live by that motto — and you can prove it by choosing examples of accomplishments where you voluntarily went above and beyond to exceed expectations.

Identified issues with an embedded switch and created a new functionality that cut the price by 80% while increasing capabilities; received 6 patents and a Growthsi award for innovation.

Hiring managers want people who can solve problems — and bonus points if you don’t have to be told about them first. Accomplishments like this show initiative and drive, as well as a knack for getting results.

Created proposals for expanding into 4 EMEA markets, leading to orders worth $2M for company products within 16 months of implementation.

The key to showing that you’re a self starter? Seeing an opportunity and seizing it. Use an accomplishment like this to show how you’ve paved your own path — and benefited the company at the same time.

Self motivation skills hiring managers are looking for

If you’re trying to paint yourself as a self starter, recruiters will want to see that you:

We’ve already covered how to demonstrate those qualities in your work experience bullet points, but what about the rest of your resume? Show that you’re a self starter by including self created roles and side hustles on your resume.

Emphasize self created roles

Nothing says “I’m a self starter” like literally creating your own role. If your skills are in such high demand that a new role was created just for you, or you’ve added on so many new responsibilities that you’re now in a previously nonexistent role, show that off!

How To: You can do this without taking up a lot of space simply by adding “Self-created role” to the end of your job title.

Use your job title to highlight a new role created just for you
Use your job title to highlight a new role created just for you

Include side hustles, projects, and gig work

If you never stop working — even in your free time — you can parlay that into more than just a few extra funds. Side hustles may not be a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong on your resume. Just the opposite — including extra gigs you’ve taken on outside work hours shows that you’re willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to succeed, which is exactly what most hiring managers want to see.

How To: Create a separate resume section — for example, a ‘Projects,’ ‘Freelance Work,’ or ‘Volunteering’ section. Underneath, include a few key accomplishments.

Show off side hustles and personal projects in a separate section of your resume
Show off side hustles and personal projects in a separate section of your resume

Show off your accolades

An even better way to say you’re a self starter on your resume? Get someone else to say it for you! If you’ve won one (or more) professional awards, use those to do the talking for you.

How To: Create a separate ‘Awards’ section or within a subheading as part of an ‘Additional Information’ section.

Include awards in an ‘awards’ or ‘additional’ resume section
Include awards in an ‘awards’ or ‘additional’ resume section

Get a free ATS resume checkup

Don’t wait for other people to tell you what’s right — or wrong — with your resume. Instead, take the initiative to upload your resume to a free ATS resume scanner like the tool below.

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