Resume Power Words

The purpose of writing a resume is to convey the skills, knowledge, and experience of a job applicant.  The job marketplace is competitive, so it's important to make sure a resume is as effective as possible.  One of the ways to increase its effectiveness is by using power words.

Power Words and Phrases

Also known as "buzz" words, power words or phrases add to the appeal of a resume by invoking a positive feeling in the reader.  In more technical terms, they are usually verbs - action words, or adjectives - noun modifiers.  They are used to describe the action taken, or to "powerfully" describe what was accomplished.

They're also known as key words by staffing departments responsible for the electronic processing and scanning of resumes.  In order to provide a better match against a job description or requirement, electronic scanning helps staffing associates to quickly screen a large number of resumes; looking for key words appearing in the document.

Resume Power Word Examples

The style used when writing a resume is different than that used when composing a white paper, report, letter, or email.  The action word, or power word, typically appears at the start of the sentence, helping to draw attention to the action taken when describing what was accomplished.

The following examples demonstrate how power words appear on a resume:

  • Assembled a team of five auditors that conducted a Sarbanes Oxley audit of financial operations in less than three weeks.
  • Eliminated nearly $5 million in operating expenses by consolidating IT contracts under one vendor.
  • Launched several new product extensions and offerings, resulting in an increase in sales revenue of nearly $15 million over a five year timeline.

Power Word List

At this point it should be clear what a resume power word is, and the examples above demonstrate how it's used.  The list below has over 300 words from which to choose, listed alphabetically.

A

Accomplished, achieved, acquired, adapted, addressed, administered, advised, allocated, analyzed, applied, appointed, appraised, approved, arbitrated, assembled, assessed, assigned, assumed, assured, audited, authored, awarded

B

Briefed, broadened, budgeted, built

C

Calculated, chaired, changed, charted, coached, combined, communicated, compiled, completed, composed, computed, conceived, conceptualized, concluded, conducted, consolidated, constructed, consulted, contracted, controlled, converted, convinced, coordinated, corrected, counseled, created, cultivated, cut

D

Debugged, decreased, defined, delegated, delivered, demonstrated, designated, designed, detected, determined, developed, devised, diagnosed, directed, discovered, dispatched, distributed, doubled, drafted

E

Earned, edited, effected, elicited, eliminated, empowered, endorsed, engineered, enhanced, enlarged, enlisted, ensured, entered, established, estimated, evaluated, examined, exceeded, executed, expanded, expedited, explained, explored, expressed, extended

F

Filed, filled, financed, flagged, focused, forecast, formulated, found, founded

G

Gathered, generated, granted, guided

H

Halved, handled, headed, helped, hired

I

Identified, ignited, implemented, improved, incorporated, increased, indexed, influenced, initiated, innovated, inspected, installed, instituted, instructed, insured, interpreted, interviewed, introduced, invented, inventoried, invested, investigated, issued

J

Joined, justified

K

Kept

L

Launched, learned, leased, lectured, led, licensed, lobbied

M

Maintained, managed, manufactured, matched, measured, mediated, met, modified, monitored, motivated, moved

N

Named, navigated, negotiated

O

Obtained, opened, operated, ordered, organized, overhauled, oversaw

P

Participated, patented, perceived, performed, persuaded, placed, planned, posted, prepared, presented, presided, processed, procured, produced, proficient, programmed, prohibited, projected, promoted, proposed, provided, published, purchased, pursued

Q

Qualified, quantified, questioned

R

Raised, ranked, rated, received, recognized, recommended, reconciled, recorded, recruited, redesigned, reduced, referred, regulated, rehabilitated, reorganized, repaired, replaced, replied, reported, represented, rescued, researched, resolved, responded, restored, revamped, reviewed, revised

S

Saved, scheduled, screened, selected, served, serviced, shaped, shared, showed, simplified, sold, solved, sorted, sought, sparked, spoke, staffed, started, steered, streamlined, strengthened, stressed, stretched, structured, studied, submitted, substituted ,succeeded, suggested, summarized, superseded, supervised, supplied, surveyed, systematized

T

Tackled, targeted, taught, terminated, tested, toured, traced, tracked, traded, trained, transcribed, transferred, transformed, translated, transported, traveled, treated, trimmed, tripled, turned, tutored

U

Uncovered, understood, understudied, unified, unraveled, updated, upgraded, utilized

V

Vended, verbalized, verified, visited

W

Waged, weighed, widened, won, worked, wrote


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