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Resume Action Verbs and Power Words

Resume Action Verbs and Power Words

Are you trying to find ways to make your resume more dynamic

When applying for a job, you need to make sure your employment documents are as compelling as possible. Employers usually read large numbers of applications and will often quickly skim through them. If you’re not careful, your resume could get lost in a pile, and you may not even be contacted. You need to make sure you use words and phrases that will grab the attention of the reader straight away. 

So, let’s take an in-depth look at resume action verbs and power words, and how to use them. 

The Impact Of Power Words 

Power words are used to help demonstrate your key strengths and highlight why you are right for the job. They enhance your work experience descriptions and make them come to life. Without these terms, your applications can seem flat and boring. 

There are several important reasons why you should use these terms in your applications. First of all, they help to grab the attention of hiring managers when they are scanning your resume. The terms seem to jump off the page and show that you have desirable qualifications and skills. They help to prevent your descriptions from becoming repetitive.

Applicant Tracking System

Different types of power words can also be very useful when a company is using an Applicant Tracking System. These systems are often used to screen applications and select the ones that match the job requirements. They are usually programmed to reject resumes that don’t contain particular keywords. Therefore, adding these keywords helps make sure the hiring manager sees your resume.

Types Of Power Words

Before looking at the specific words you can use, it is best to learn a bit more about them. These words are arranged into different categories and can be used in slightly different ways. Here are the main types of power words and what they demonstrate.

Types Of Power Words

Action verbs

This type of verb shows that you are focused on success. These words show the skills you have gained in your previous roles and how they have helped you succeed.

Some dynamic examples include:

  • Initiated
  • Designed
  • Accomplished
  • Supervised

Company values

It is important to take the time to research the values of the company you’re applying to work at. You can then use certain terms to show that you are the right fit. Using these words will demonstrate you’ve done your homework.

Popular skill words

Hiring managers nearly always search for certain qualities and skills when reviewing applications. These will show that you match the job description and requirements. This is also the perfect way to demonstrate that you have the right skills.

Keywords 

These are terms that are taken directly from the job listing. Carefully read them and highlight any terms that stand out. You should then work these terms into your application in a natural way. 

Industry jargon and buzzwords 

Certain terms are industry specific and can be very powerful. Using these buzzwords shows that you have a good understanding of the industry you work in. They also demonstrate that you have the required hard skills and experience. 

How To Use Power Words?

You need to add them in the most effective way possible. Using the terms incorrectly is likely to have a negative impact rather than being compelling. Here are some tips you can use when creating your application. 

How To Use Power Words

Be subtle

Be selective and use them sparingly. Using a term for every sentence or paragraph is likely to look forced. The goal is to make your resume as easy to read as possible. 

Stick to familiar terms

Avoid using terms that are obscure and difficult to understand. Although the goal is to be dynamic, you need to be as clear as possible. If the hiring manager is forced to reach for the dictionary, your chances of securing an interview may be harmed. 

Use bullet points

Writing these terms in bullet points will make them even more powerful. The eye of the reader will automatically be drawn to the bullet points. This will make your resume much more striking and prevent it from getting lost in the pile.

Avoid repetitions

There are several types of action verbs and power words you can use to punch up your resume. Sticking to the same two or three will indicate that you have a limited vocabulary. Try to use as many different terms as possible in a natural way.

Distribute the power words

Make sure the terms are scattered throughout your resume so that they have maximum impact. You should include a few in your opening statement as well as in your work experience section. You can also use some of these terms in your cover letter.

Power Words to Include in Your Resume

Because it is important not to overdo it, you need to select these words carefully. It is important to understand the meaning behind the different terms and the impact they have. Here are some of the implied meanings behind some of the most common power words.

Power Words to Include in Your Resume

  • Mentored – highlights your strong management and leadership skills.
  • Created – demonstrates your imagination and creativity skills.
  • Won – highlights your sales skills and accomplishments.
  • Achieved – demonstrates your accomplishments and work ethic.
  • Resolved – shows your management, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
  • Improved – highlight your value, drive, and organizational skills.
  • Volunteered – when related to the workplace, this shows your work ethic and teamwork skills.
  • Increased – this reflects your direct value to the company in terms of results.
  • Influenced – this is a good term to use to highlight your customer service and sales skills.
  • Developed – this term shows that you are innovative and creative.
  • Launched – this term can have a lot of impact and demonstrates your project management and leadership skills.

Action Verbs To Demonstrate Different Abilities

It is important to think outside the box when choosing the verbs and phrases to utilize. Hiring managers read stacks of resumes, and you need to avoid being generic. Choosing some less common yet impactful terms can make hiring managers sit up and take notice.

You need to know which attributes you want to highlight and the terms that will do this in the best way. Let’s take a more detailed look at the action verbs you can use to reflect different skills and attributes.

Action Verbs To Demonstrate Different Abilities

Creativity

Creativity is directly connected with problem-solving and is a valuable attribute. Highlighting this skill shows that you can look at a problem from different angles and resolve it. This is also important to highlight if you’re applying for a creative role of some kind.

Examples of creativity and problem-solving action verbs include:

  • Aided
  • Built
  • Drafted
  • Designed
  • Established
  • Enhanced
  • Transformed
  • Elevated
  • Remodeled

Teamwork 

Teamwork is an important attribute that shows you can work well with other people. This is a good attribute to highlight if the job will require you to collaborate with the people around you. You should create at least one impactful sentence that demonstrates this skill.

Examples of teamwork action verbs include:

  • Collaborated
  • Contributed
  • Assisted
  • Encouraged
  • Harmonized
  • Partnered

Communication 

Most roles require you to have strong written and verbal communication skills. It is important to show that you can express yourself clearly in writing and follow instructions. You also need to be able to explain your ideas and opinions clearly and concisely.

Examples of communication action verbs include:

  • Clarified
  • Composed
  • Consulted
  • Corresponded
  • Convinced
  • Documented
  • Conveyed
  • Publicized
  • Summarized
  • Presented
  • Persuaded

Leadership 

Showing that you are a strong leader will help you to stand out from the crowd. This is particularly important if you are applying for an advanced role within a company. You need to show that you understand how to motivate other people and can do it well.

Examples of leadership action verbs include:

  • Appointed
  • Approved
  • Assigned
  • Championed
  • Inspired
  • Fostered
  • Delegated
  • Educated
  • Mentored
  • Headed

Work Ethic

Ultimately, hiring managers want to know that you will work hard and make money for the company. Having a strong work ethic means doing much more than the minimum to get through the day. People with a strong work ethic are focused on making sure their projects and tasks have an impact.

Here are some strong work ethic action verbs:

  • Accelerated
  • Achieved
  • Completed
  • Conceived
  • Drove 
  • Doubled
  • Mastered
  • Transformed

Organization 

Many jobs require you to juggle different tasks and prioritize them. Strong organizational skills are needed to make sure all tasks are completed on time. This is an attribute that hiring managers actively seek and are sure to appreciate in candidates. 

Actions verbs that demonstrate organization skills include:

  • Planned
  • Simplified
  • Streamlined
  • Arranged
  • Centralized
  • Integrated
  • Scheduled

Time Management 

Employers look for people who can handle a heavy workload when necessary. Demonstrating excellent time management skills shows that you can rise to the challenge. Highlighting certain aspects also demonstrates how you approach tasks. 

Examples of strong time management action verbs include:

  • Consolidated
  • Achieved
  • Accelerated
  • Amplified
  • Delivered
  • Generated
  • Maximized
  • Enhanced

Flexibility 

Taking a flexible approach to work shows that you put the needs of the company first. You need to demonstrate that you will make sure projects are completed rather than simply watching the clock. This gives employers peace of mind and highlights your value as a candidate. 

Here are some useful flexibility action verbs:

  • Adaptable
  • Balanced
  • Improvised
  • Amended
  • Adjusted
  • Tailored
  • Accommodated

Here are some useful flexibility action verbs

Customer Service 

One of the main goals of most companies is building a loyal customer base. The best way to do this is by hiring people who have excellent customer service skills. These employees are willing to go the extra mile to meet and even exceed the needs of customers. 

Strong customer service action verbs include:

  • Supported
  • Clarified
  • Facilitated
  • Aided
  • Advised
  • Advanced
  • Consulted
  • Cooperated
  • Endorsed
  • Fielded
  • Helped
  • Informed
  • Promoted

Managed

When applying for a managerial role, you need to demonstrate your skills and experience. It is important to provide strong examples of the skills you have used in the past and your results. This will show hiring managers that you are ready to step into a role where these skills are essential. 

Examples of action verbs that highlight this experience include:

  • Arranged
  • Advised
  • Authorized
  • Augmented
  • Cultivated
  • Delegated
  • Endorsed
  • Directed
  • Fostered
  • Mentored
  • Mobilized
  • Monitored 
  • Recruited
  • Resolved
  • Trained
  • Supervised

Research

If you have strong research skills, make sure the hiring manager doesn’t overlook them. You need to select terms that will highlight these in the strongest way possible. These terms should also indicate the impact that your research skills have. 

Here are some action verbs that demonstrate your research skills:

  • Analyzed
  • Assessed
  • Audited
  • Calculated
  • Checked
  • Compared
  • Critiqued
  • Determined
  • Evaluated
  • Extracted
  • Identified
  • Inspected
  • Verified

Utilized

This action verb makes your descriptions of tasks and accomplishments much more dynamic. It is good to use these types of terms when describing your work experience. These terms are sure to grab the attention of hiring managers and make them keep reading. 

Examples of utilized action verbs include:

  • Applied
  • Deployed
  • Adopted
  • Mobilized
  • Operated
  • Revived
  • Restored
  • Operated
  • Exerted

Sales Positions

Successful salespeople utilize a particular set of skills and personal attributes. When describing your work experience, you should use as many of these terms as possible. This will identify you as a seasoned professional who is a viable candidate for the sales position. 

Here are some strong action verbs connected to sales positions:

  • Cultivated
  • Generated
  • Converted
  • Won
  • Negotiated
  • Maximized
  • Earned
  • Stimulated

Financial Roles

The finance industry is highly competitive, and many candidates have similar skills and experience. The terms you use will demonstrate your competency and show how you accomplish certain tasks. They can help transform otherwise dull descriptions and make them more dynamic. 

Here are some of the action verbs that highlight your financial skills:

  • Allocated
  • Analyzed
  • Audited
  • Appraised
  • Balanced
  • Classified
  • Computed
  • Calculated
  • Investigated
  • Equalized
  • Secured
  • Budgeted
  • Collected
  • Dispensed
  • Maintained

Technical Roles

If you are applying for a technical role, you need to demonstrate that you have the right skills. You also need to highlight your approach to tasks and the results you have achieved. This shows hiring managers that you have the knowledge and experience to do the job well. 

You can utilize some of these power words for technical roles:

  • Automated
  • Coded
  • Designed
  • Deployed
  • Diagnosed
  • Devised
  • Formulated
  • Launched
  • Installed
  • Tested
  • Solved
  • Remodeled
  • Programmed
  • Repaired
  • Refined
  • Upgraded

Teaching

Although there are lots of different types of teaching roles, they share desirable skills and attributes. Being able to demonstrate that you have the right elements will help to impress hiring managers. The terms you chose and the way you highlight them will show that you understand your value. 

Strong action verbs for teaching roles include:

  • Coached
  • Evaluated
  • Encouraged
  • Enabled
  • Facilitated
  • Inspired
  • Communicated
  • Developed
  • Coordinated
  • Demonstrated
  • Guided
  • Informed
  • Explained
  • Instructed
  • Stimulated
  • Trained

Additional Info On Resume Writing

Make sure you stand out from the crowd with How To Write A Letter of InterestHow To Address A Cover Letter, and the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, as well as How To List References On A Resume and How To List Education On A Resume.

Next, we’ve also covered the Motivation Letter Writing Guide, the best Hobbies and Interests To Put On Resume, and how to list Job Titles On Resume, along with Achievements To List On Your Resume, the Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes, and the Best Resume Introduction Examples you can use in 2023.

Lastly, take a look at our guides on the Best Free Resume Builders, the Best Professional Resume Writing Services, and the Best Font for a Resume, followed by How to List Cum Laude on a Resume or the Top Hard Skills to Put on a Resume.

Final Thoughts

When hiring managers read your resume, they already know which skills and attributes they are looking for. They usually skim-read applications to find those terms. Therefore, you need to highlight those desirable attributes to make sure they stand out.

The best way to do this is by using action verbs and power words on your resume. You need to make sure these terms are connected to the role you are applying for and are not generic. Use them naturally and evenly distribute them throughout your resume and cover letter.

All the very best in finding your dream job!


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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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