Power Words

When you're writing a resume, the way you write should not be the same as your style when composing a white paper, report or email.  Action words, or power words, should be used in an active voice to describe your accomplishments. The impact of your resume will get an extra boost if you make sure you use plenty of power words.

You want to keep in mind that your resume serves as your personal advertisement. If you want to get noticed, then you need to make sure you've got enough power words to separate your resume from the rest of the pack. And rest assured, the rest of the pack is huge. Currently a small advertisement in a major metropolitan newspaper for a mid-level, non-technical professional is likely to garner 500 responses or more. Responses to a posting on major web sites such as CareerBuilder or Hot Jobs can easily number more than 1,000. So standing out from the crowd is essential; if you don't get through the first sorting, you’re not going to get an interview.

Resume Power Words Defined

So what exactly is a resume power word and how are they used?  In simple terms, they are "buzz" words. They are marketing words because a resume is nothing more or less than a marketing tool for you. Usually verbs or adjectives, they describe actions you’ve taken or accomplishments you’ve achieved.

In this electronic era, be aware that most resumes, particularly those submitted to large human resources departments or online job sites, are scanned for key words – words that help to match individuals to a job description or requirements. For example, the phrase “Assembled a team of five auditors that conducted a Sarbanes Oxley audit of financial operations in less than three weeks” – key words include assembled, team, Sarbanes Oxley (often abbreviated as SOX), audit, financial, operations.

Power words

A
accelerated
accomplished
achieved
addressed
administered
advised
allocated
answered
applied
appointed
appraised
approved
arranged
assessed
assigned
assisted
assured
audited
awarded

B
bought
briefed
broadened
brought
budgeted
built

C
cataloged
caused
changed
chaired
clarified
classified
collected
combined
communicated
compared
compiled
completed
computed
conceived
concluded
conducted
conceptualized
considered
consolidated
constructed
consulted
continued
contracted
controlled
converted
coordinated
corrected
counseled
created
critiqued
cut

D
decided
defined
delegated
delivered
demonstrated
described
designed
determined
developed
devised
diagnosed
directed
distributed
documented
doubled

E
earned
edited
eliminated
endorsed
enlarged
enlisted
ensured
established
estimated
evaluated
examined
executed
expanded
expedited
explained
explored
expressed
extended

F
filed
financed
focused
forecast
formulated
found
founded

G
generated
graded
granted
guided

H
halved
handled

I
identified
implemented
improved
incorporated
increased
indexed
initiated
influenced
innovated
inspected
installed
instituted
instructed
insured
interpreted
introduced
invented
invested
investigated
involved
issued

J
joined

K
kept
L
launched
leased
lectured
led
licensed
listed

M
made
maintained
managed
matched
measured
mediated
met
modified
monitored
motivated

N
named
navigated
negotiated

O
observed
opened
operated
ordered
organized
oversaw

P
participated
performed
persuaded
planned
prepared
presented
processed
procured
programmed
prohibited
projected
promoted
proposed
provided
published
purchased
pursued

Q
qualified
questioned

R
raised
ranked
rated
realized
received
recommended
reconciled
recorded
recruited
redesigned
reduced
regulated
rehabilitated
reorganized
repaired
replaced
reported
represented
researched
resolved
responded
restored
revamped
reviewed
revised

S
saved
scheduled
selected
served
serviced
set up
shaped
shared
showed
simplified
sold
solved
sorted
sought
sourced
sparked
specified
spoke
staffed
started
streamlined
strengthened
structured
submitted
substituted
succeeded
suggested
summarized
superseded
supervised
systematized

T
tackled
targeted
taught
terminated
tested
traced
tracked
traded
trained
transferred
transcribed
transformed
translated
transported
traveled
treated
trimmed
tripled
turned
tutored

U
uncovered
understudied
unified
unraveled
updated
upgraded
used
utilized

V
verbalized
verified
visited

W
waged
weighed
widened
won
worked
wrote