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Resume Power Words

Words or phrases to make a job applicant’s resume stand out from the rest

What are Resume Power Words?

Resume power words are words or phrases that help a job applicant’s resume stand out from the rest. They are usually action words that are striking and help describe the tasks and responsibilities that were handled in past jobs.

Additionally, the words highlight the suitability of the applicant for the job, as well as his strengths. Since a resume is the very first means of selling oneself to a prospective employer, the power words will help convince recruiters to merit an interview with the applicant.


Resume Power Words


Why use resume power words?

In addition, resume power words should be used for the following reasons:

  • Today’s various industries already use keywords that describe the kind of work it involves. Writing action words that are among the preferred keywords is greatly beneficial to the applicant.
  • Recruiters and employers look for a set of action words or power words in their job applicants. Adding the words to a resume can increase the chances of getting selected for the job.


Types of resume power words

Resume power words are not just any action words that applicants think of as these may also be categorized into four main types: action verbs, company standards, skills, and jargons.


#1 Action verbs

Basically, action verbs are action words that the applicant used to do in their past jobs that led to their success. It is tantamount to saying the skills that one can offer to the company.

For example, as a teacher, an applicant can say that she developed the syllabus for the Junior High curriculum or facilitated the Grade Level Parent-Teacher Conference.


#2 Company standards

Every company talks about itself and uses descriptive words to illustrate it. Company standards are the type of resume power words that these organizations use to describe themselves.

For instance, if a prospective employer speaks of itself as “dedicated to public service,” then applicants can include in their qualities the words “dedicated’ and ‘committed.”


#3 Skills

Even in job postings, it is clear what skills set companies are looking for in people who want to work for them. More often than not, employers want an applicant who is driven, responsible, passionate, and with strong leadership qualities.

So, it is important for any applicant to check the job posting or the company’s website for the specific skills and attributes they want to see from their employees.


#4 Jargons

Jargons are a set of technical words that are used specifically by a certain industry. For example, in the architectural design industry, their jargon will include “design,” “analyzed,” “estimated,” “remodeled,” and more. As an architect sending a resume and cover letter to a hiring firm, he can say that his responsibilities in his past job included “estimated the building cost,” “designed the eco-friendly airport,” etc.


Tips when using resume power words

A resume is an important tool that can either merit the applicant a job interview or break his chances of getting one. However, there are important tips to remember when using power words in one’s resume.


#1 Do it subtly

It doesn’t mean that resume power words should be everywhere in the resume. Applicants should have to do it subtly and not overdo it. Sentences should be limited to only one power word or action word to keep the resume smooth and easy to the eyes. Overdoing power words can make the applicant seem to be trying too hard, which can turn off the employer or recruiter.


#2 Use only familiar terms

Job applicants should know that recruiters read everything that’s written on the resume, especially the applicant’s skills and past responsibilities. If something isn’t clear to them, they will ask the applicant to explain it during the interview. Being sure of the words used will be a great help.


#3 Write resume power words in bullets

Writing in bullet form is shorter and is, thus, more striking. And because it is short, the reader will likely finish the entire text.


#4 Avoid repetitions

Redundant words can oftentimes be irritating just as they can signal the applicant’s lack of a strong vocabulary. But even if that is not how the recruiter thinks, redundancy or repetition is boring. The English language is very rich in words, and applicants with the power to use those words to create a lasting impression.


#5 Use words that can be measured

For example, a resume uses the words “changed” or “helped.” They are action words, but they are not quantifiable because they are not specific. What type of change was made? It would be better to say words such as “decreased,” “raised,” or “added.”


#6 Distribute the power words

Use power words in various parts of the resume, including in the job description and skills set, and even in the cover letter.


Examples of resume power words and how they are used

Power words used to describe leadership roles include:

  • Assert
  • Delegate
  • Direct
  • Inform
  • Update
  • Guide
  • Foster
  • Inspire
  • Mentor
  • Enforce


Power words used to describe a sales role:

  • Advocate
  • Convince
  • Advise
  • Accelerate
  • Initiate
  • Enhance
  • Negotiate
  • Perform
  • Sustain
  • Sell
  • Close


Power words used to describe an achievement:

  • Reach
  • Succeed
  • Win
  • Surpass
  • Meet
  • Grow


Power words used to describe a communication process:

  • Compose
  • Develop
  • Demonstrate
  • Establish
  • Create
  • Explain
  • Expound


Related Readings

CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

  • Best Font for Resume
  • Investment Banking Cover Letter
  • Language Proficiency Levels
  • Questions to Ask the Interviewer

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