Best Power Words That Make Your Resume Stand Out

4 min readApr 27, 2021

What are power words in a resume?. Power words are action verbs you can use to highlight your skills and experience.

In other words, these are action verbs that help your resume stand out and increase your chance of moving on to the next step in the hiring process.

Power words add quick and effective context to your resume, especially that when an employer reviews your resume and cover letter, you have a limited amount of time to leave a lasting impression. So, to stand out, it is a must to avoid ‘standard’ verbs or common words on your resume.

Therefore and in order to capture the recruiter’s attention, you must include power words in your resume and remember that both hiring managers and electronic resume scanners (like ATS) will be looking for resume power words.

Where to use power words in your resume

Power words serve to improve areas with strong, impactful verbs and convey better your achievements. To clarify, they are best utilized in your resume’s experience section because that’s where you summarize your responsibilities and accomplishments in previous jobs.

You can also employ resume power words in the summary section when describing yourself or even use them in the cover letter.

Certainly, cover letters are crucial. But, they are often scanned by resume software, so ensure that you’re using power words and action words related to the job description.

What are the benefits of using power words?

Power words in resume and cover letter

Using power words will help you improve the readability of your resume and cover letter. For instance, sometimes it can be challenging to describe similar duties in a role without repeating the same verb. For this reason, having a list of strong resume words will help you add variety to descriptions, and make the language more compelling.

More than that, resume power words can make your responsibilities and accomplishments sound more impactful. That is to say, the descriptive nature of power words allows the recruiter or hiring manager to get a better feel for the efforts.

Pass the ATS with resume power words

Using power words effectively can also help you bypass scanning software that filters out unqualified job seekers.

For example, large organizations use scanning software to act as a gatekeeper. In fact, resume scanning software searches for keywords that relate to the job description and the skills required and also looks for action words that stand out and signal a potential match.

List of resume power words

Leadership/management power words:

To show leadership in a project or in a role, you can use the following words to start your sentence:

  • Chair
  • Coach or mentor
  • Counsel
  • Direct
  • Develop
  • Educate
  • Evaluate
  • Foster
  • Guide
  • Head
  • Inspire
  • Lead
  • Orchestrate

Words to show experience with numbers (budgets/accounting/finance):

If you are an auditor or finance employee, below the list of power verbs you can use. Above all, avoid repetition.

  • Audited
  • Calculated
  • Classified
  • Collected
  • Equalized
  • Evaluated
  • Dispensed

Power words to show technical experience:

Verbs such as the below can help you demonstrate your technical experience;

  • Architected
  • Automated
  • Coded
  • Devised
  • Diagnosed
  • Discovered
  • Engineered
  • Installed
  • Networked
  • Planned
  • Programmed
  • Remodeled
  • Troubleshoot

Resume power words for research and analysis:

Verbs such as the below describe your research skills;

  • Analyzed
  • Assessed
  • Audited
  • Calculated
  • Discovered
  • Examined
  • Explored
  • Identified
  • Inquired

Power words showing initiative and responsibility:

Make your resume stand out using verbs that describe better your experience. For example;

  • Accomplished
  • Completed
  • Created
  • Directed
  • Executed
  • Finished
  • Forged
  • Negotiated
  • Undertook

Power words showing your skills:

  • Employed
  • Mobilized
  • Operated
  • Promoted
  • Restored
  • Revived

To show that you worked on a certain project or task:

Explain how you succeeded on a project with action verbs such as;

  • Constructed
  • Created
  • Developed
  • Organized
  • Set-Up
  • Undertook

Power words for improvement:

Going above and beyond is always a good thing, but employers get tired of repetitive words. So use verbs to describe your efforts like;

  • Enhanced
  • Accelerated
  • Boosted
  • Amplified
  • Expanded

Power words for saving (money/time):

If you want to explain that you succeeded to save money or time, get creative with power words for resumes such as;

  • Reduced
  • Conserved
  • Consolidated
  • Generated
  • Lessened

Power words for starting a new initiative:

Instead of saying that you “started” a new initiative or project, try verbs such as;

  • Created
  • Introduced
  • Initiated
  • Implemented
  • Launched
  • Established

Power words for helped or supported:

Describe the tasks that show your support with specific power words like;

  • Advised
  • Resolved
  • Assisted
  • Educated
  • Provided

Resume power words that show achievements/success:

Achieve greater success with your resume by using verbs such as;

  • Awarded
  • Earned
  • Completed
  • Succeeded
  • Exceeded
  • Honored (with)

Words to show change:

If you’ve improved an existing program or policy at your job, describe this accomplishment with resume power words such as:

  • Innovated
  • Modified
  • Streamlined
  • Transformed
  • Updated
  • Overhauled

Describing a project:

To help you describe your role in a project and get the recruiter’s attention, you can use resume power words like;

  • Completed
  • Executed
  • Established
  • Facilitated
  • Formulated
  • Formalized

Words to avoid in your resume

There are plenty of words that you should avoid using in your resume. However, some of the power words can describe you better. Also, try to put action and results behind your description.

Here’s a brief list of words to leave off your resume;

  • Focused
  • Great
  • Hard worker
  • Managed
  • Outside the box
  • Responsible for
  • Results-driven
  • Specialized in
  • Team player
  • Worked on

Last Thoughts

In conclusion, it is important to have an outstanding resume even if you aren’t necessarily looking for a new position.

It’s always a good idea to keep your resume updated as you never know when the right recruiter will find your online profile and reach out to you with an opportunity. So, use power words to enhance your marketability.

Originally published at on April 27, 2021.




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