Power Words to Use in Your Resume
The following is a list of resume power words to include in your resume and the cover letters you write when applying for jobs. Power words help demonstrate your strengths as an employee, and highlight why you are right for the particular job.
Read below for more information on types of power words, why they are important, and how to effectively use them.
Also see below for a detailed list of power words.
Use these words to write a compelling resume and cover letter that will get you selected by the hiring manager.
Why Use Power Words?
Power words are useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, many hiring managers quickly skim through all the resumes and cover letters they receive. These power words will jump off your page, quickly showing the hiring manager that you have the skills and other qualifications for the job.
Also, because employers read so many job applications, the language gets repetitive and boring. If your language is the same as everyone else’s, it will be hard for you to stand out. Good, thoughtful word choice will set you apart from the other candidates.
Finally, power words (especially keywords) are useful when a company uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These tracking systems help screen applications so that employers only need to focus on the top candidates. One way an ATS works is to eliminate resumes that are missing certain keywords.
By including these words, you increase your changes of making it through the ATS, and having your application read by a human.
Types of Power Words
Action Verbs – One type of power word is an action verb. This kind of verb shows your ability to succeed. These words demonstrate the skills you have used in previous jobs to achieve success.
Examples of action verbs include "accomplished," "designed," "initiated," and "supervised."
Company Values – To demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company, use key terms that the company uses to describe itself. You might find this language on the company’s “About Us” web page, or in the job listing. For example, if the company identifies itself as “innovative,” one power word you might incorporate into your resume is “innovate” or “innovative.” You can also choose synonyms of the words in the company’s “About Us” web page if you want to avoid sounding like you are simply repeating their ideas.
Popular Skill Words – There are certain skills and qualities that almost every employer is looking for in a job candidate. For example, employers always want an employee who is responsible, passionate, and a strong leader. Try to use this kind of language (or words related to this language) to demonstrate you have these essential skills.
Keywords – Keywords are words from the job listing that relate to particular skills or other requirements for the job. By embedding them in your resume or cover letter, you will demonstrate, at a glance, that you fit the requirements of the position.
Industry Buzzwords and Jargon – Each industry has certain key words that are important.
Knowing and accurately using those words demonstrates that you have the hard skills needed to work in the field. Sprinkle the appropriate buzzwords into your resume and cover letter to demonstrate that you understand and are a part of the industry.
Of course, also make sure you fully understand any jargon that you use. Misusing jargon will show that you do not know what you are talking about, and are not qualified for the position.
How to Use Power Words
You can include these power words throughout your resume. For example, include action verbs in your job descriptions. You might include power words in your resume summary statement as well.
You can also use this language in your cover letter. When describing some of your skills and accomplishments in the letter, use these words to make your application stand out.
Remember to vary the words that you use - repeating the same word (even power words) leads to a dull reading experience, and will not show the hiring manager the breadth of your abilities. Use a variety of terms that best describe your accomplishments to show employers the scope of your achievements.
Finally, only include power words that you understand. For example, if you are trying to include jargon that you have never heard of, you will appear uninformed, and your application will likely not get a second glance. Only use terms you are familiar with.
Power Words for Resumes and Cover Letters
A - D
- Detail Oriented
E - H
I - M
N - S
T - Z
- Team Player
More Power Words:Powerful Words to Use During a Job Interview | Best and Worst Resume Buzzwords
Related Articles:Resume Skills Section | How to Include Keywords in Your Resume | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters | Resume Skills Lists | The Top 15 Words to Include and Avoid on Your Resume
By Jeff Gillis
Let’s be honest here…
Who doesn’t love the idea of time travel?
So in order to discuss action verbs, let’s take a step back in time and take you on a little trip down memory lane to a favorite game we all used to play in school.
You remember it…the silly stories where you’d have to come up with a list of words using a form that would ask you for specific types of word, like noun, or adjective, or even a number?
Then you’d take that list of seemingly random words and use them to fill in the blanks in an otherwise normal story..but because you had no idea what the words were being used for, you’d end up with wacky stories about things like the time you babysat 200 purple watermelons, or that time you went to the zoo to see the dancing pizzas with your crazy rainbow Mohawk wearing uncle?
You remember those games!
The great thing about these games was it got you thinking of words in fun and new ways and the more you played, the more outrageous you’d try to make them.If you’d just gone straight to the story and filled it out normally it was pretty much guaranteed that you’d end up with a fairly boring, run of the mill tale.
“Okay, so what’s the darn point Jeff?“
Well in a (perhaps slightly forced…guilty as charged!) roundabout kind of way, this ties into the language that you use on your resumes and cover letters.
Now, we’re not suggesting you start filling out your resumes and cover letters using this exact technique, but what we want you to do is start thinking outside the normal box and expanding your vocabulary using our favorite type of words, action verbs!
Using Action Verbs to Enhance Your Resume & Cover Letter
Verbs are words that help to describe an action, such as ran, threw, jumped, just to name a few.Go ahead, take out your resume and cover letter and take a good look at it.
Can you find all the verbs?
I bet it’s peppered with words like ‘led’ and ‘organized.’ You might even have a ‘spearheaded,’ or ‘delegated’ in there.
Now think back to your last job interview.
How many times did you use verbs in your conversation with the hiring manager?Did you tell them you ‘led’ your team or that you ‘improved’ a method?These are great verbs, but they’re also really really…
Why are they tired?
Because odds are, if you asked for the resume for 50 other job seekers, read the cover letter for 100 other applicants, or even sat through 200 interviews, you’re going to come across these exact same words over and over again.
Instead of using boring old verbs, try using cover letter and resume action verbs (also known as resume action words) instead.
What Are Action Verbs?
What are action verbs?Well, they’re basically verbs on steroids!They’re words that aren’t used as often as the old tried and true verbs we see in resume after resume and rather than simply describing an action, they’re a dynamic and powerful way to describe an otherwise normal activity.
Don’t be.Here, we’ll play another game to make this a little easier to understand.
Imagine this…pretend there’s a hiring manager conference in town.
There’s a bunch of hiring managers in a bar pouring over piles of cover letters and resumes they’ve picked up from past job applicants.They’re so tired from reading the same stuff over and over again that they decide to turn it into a drinking game.
Every time they come across an old and tired verb, the group takes a shot.Verbs that are particularly overused are verbs like ‘motivated’ (take a shot), ‘innovated’ (take a shot), managed (take a shot) and ‘organized’ (take a shot).
Now, go back and look at your resume and cover letter again.How many shots would our tipsy hiring manager barflies take just looking at yours alone?Ouch.
Luckily it’s easy to go through and replace these tired old verbs with action verbs that will help shake up the status quo (and give our tipsy barfly hiring managers a break from their drunken shot fest).
Implementing Your Action Words Correctly
Before we go any further…a few words of warning:you have to make sure you’re using words that are appropriate, not just flashy.
You always want to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants – as long as it’s for the right reasons.
Remember, you want to make a good impression, and turning in a resume or cover letter full of insane verbs just because you want to stand out might get you a job at the silly story factory writing future scenarios, but not many other opportunities.
Be sure to be thoughtful when you use action verbs.Too many and you’ll have a resume that reads like one of those crazy stories we talked about earlier.
It’s okay to leave in a few of the old verbs.
You want to come across as knowledgeable and enthusiastic…not mad.
So how do you know which action verbs to use and which ones to save for your story writing class?
We’ve put together a list of scenarios where you might be tempted to use old tired verbs and followed that with some alternative action verbs.
The Best Scenarios For Using Action Verbs
Go through these scenarios and action verbs lists and see where you can kick your own resume and cover letters up a notch…and then take those some powerful action verb phrases in with you when you sit down face to face for your interview!
List Of 68 Dynamic Action Verbs
(Includes scenario & action verbs you should shy away from)
Scenario:You’re a manager.
Tired verbs:led, motivated, managed, enforced, organized
Action verbs: Orchestrated, chaired, programmed, operated, spear-headed, collaborated, commissioned, advised, headed, delegated, established
Scenario:You work directly with clients.
Tired verbs:talked, supported, dealt
Action verbs:Advocated, fielded, consulted, arbitrated, mediated, informed, resolved, interfaced, updated, unified, motivated, explained, guided, facilitated, clarified, enabled
Scenario:You’re a corporate time/money saver.
Tired verbs:saved, improved
Action verbs: Capitalized, enhanced, expedited, stimulated, maximized , solved, strengthened, settled, reconciled, eased, elevated, negotiated, standardized, influenced, arbitrated, boosted
Scenario:You’re an innovator.
Tired verbs:improved, streamlined, organized
Action verbs:Clarified, integrated, modified, overhauled, redesigned, restructured, transformed, adapted, debugged, regulated, restored, fabricated, remodeled
Scenario:You’re a communicator.
Tired verbs:wrote, spoke, relayed
Action verbs:Composed, corresponded, illustrated, persuaded, lobbied, defined, formulated, synthesized, conveyed, disbursed, publicized, discussed, informed
Putting it All Together
See where we’re going with this?
So, take that old resume and that old cover letter and give them a good once over, being careful to identify the “tired” verbs you’ve been using.
Pull out those tired and worn verbs and kick it up with a few well placed action verbs!
Please be kind and rate this post 🙂
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