Best Power Words to Use on Your Resume

Quick Navigation:

Using power words is a good way to showcase your strengths on your resume. They not only give you the opportunity to create an impression on the recruiting managers, but also the ability to state your professional skills. In this article, you can learn why power words are important, some of the common types and some tips on how you should use them.

Why should you use resume power words?

Recruiters often either scan or skim through resumes, and resume power words may be more likely to catch their attention. The words can emphasize your competency, help recruiters to quickly identify your skills and determine what you can do for their organization.

If all applicants, for example, have met the criteria, like years of experience or academic qualifications, consider how the recruiter may discern the best candidate. Candidates can set apart their qualifications by the way they describe their skills or measurable outcomes from previous roles.

For companies that use applicant tracking systems, the hiring mangers first use software to scan through resumes and search for predetermined or industry-specific keywords. They use the results to recommend the most suitable candidates for further consideration.

Best types of resume power words

You can consider these types of power words to use on your resume:

Action verbs

Action verbs allow you to answer an important question: How did you go about achieving success? You use them to list the specific actions you undertook to achieve successful outcomes in your previous work stations. In this regard, they relieve you from the burden of listing the long and boring responsibilities previously assigned. Instead, you can focus on your success.

Depending on your level of experience, you have a large number of action verbs to choose from: facilitated, developed, designed, monitored, executed, analyzed, investigated and many others. Be careful not to use action verbs that do not suggest a high level of success. For example, instead of saying ‘in-charge of a group of interns,’ it is better to say ‘supervised a group of interns.’ And saying ‘presented to the board’ is less powerful compared to ‘persuaded the board.’

Industry-specific language 

On most occasions, you need to prove you belong to the industry. As a result, some industry lingo needs to be visible in your resume. If you are applying for a job in the IT industry, for instance, recruiters may expect statements like ‘designed an algorithm to,’ or ‘supervised the introduction of a customer relations cross-platform software.’ Again, be careful not to introduce what you won’t be able to explain in a possible interview.

Company-related power words

Organizations prefer candidates who identify themselves with their values. You need to carry out some research on the specific company whose job you are seeking. Look at their brochures, find out what the media or bloggers say about them, and above all, read their website extensively. If a company uses words like ‘dedicated to innovation,’ your resume will be in a much better position using words like ‘dedicated’ and ‘innovative’ as well.

Competency-based words

You need to convey your skills in a manner best understood by many people. Some skills have become so common that human resource managers will be surprised if you do not include some of these phrases in your resume, such as ‘attention to detail,’ ‘team player’ or ‘decision-making skills.’ While you should present your skills uniquely, there is no harm in including one or two of the popular ones in your resume.

Result-based power words

Recruiters need to know that you achieved tangible results. Resume power words such as revolutionized, revitalized, accomplished, consolidated, appointed, and implemented fall into this category. They differ from those in the action verbs category slightly. They describe actual outcomes and not the actions leading to those outcomes.   

Examples of resume power words

Before using a power word, you need to gauge its contextual effectiveness. Some words are more appropriate than others in different sections of a resume. Words and phrases used to describe your skills might not work well for the professional experience section. Also, some words are more suitable for resumes in certain careers than others. The choice of action words for a teaching position will, most likely, be different from those for a plumbing position.

The following are examples of resume power words that you could use while describing various roles:

  • When describing leadership roles, use words like appointed, directed, delegated, asserted, mentored, consolidated, inspired, fostered or similar words.
  • When describing achievements or results, use words such as surpassed, increased, succeeded, revitalized or accomplished.
  • For communication skills, choose words like publicized, energized, persuaded, addressed and reconciled.
  • Technical roles will require words like automated, designed, upgraded, transformed, analyzed, investigated, developed, tested or advanced.
  • For customer support or sales roles, use words like convinced, outperformed, persuaded, yielded, negotiated, initiated, enhanced, sustained, sold or advocated.
  • To describe your organizational abilities, use power words like coordinated, facilitated, prioritized, monitored, executed, cataloged, operated, organized, proposed or introduced.

Resume power words are supposed to liven up your resume by making it more readable. You cannot avoid them. However, you need to exercise caution while using them: Do not use more than one power word in a sentence or bullet point; avoid repeating a particular word as it makes your resume boring to read; distribute power words as evenly as you possibly can—both in your resume and cover letter.