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15 Power Words to Help Your Resume Stand Out

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Hiring recruiters and HR managers go through dozens if not hundreds of resumes a day.

With so many resumes to review, it’s no wonder that most managers spend just a few seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether or not they want to follow-up with you.


In fact, the best industry estimate is that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds per resume.

That is not a typo: Six. Seconds.

So what does this mean for applicants like you?

In short, your resume needs to show hirers that you’re qualified — and fast. This is why it’s so important to use power words in your resume to stand out. A good resume is all about telling your professional story in a COMPELLING way that grabs the hiring manager’s attention.

But it’s more than just grabbing attention; you must also communicate your strengths.

What are Resume Power Words?

They say that humility is a virtue. While that may be true, your resume is no place to be humble.

Power words are decisive action words that immediately signal to hirers that you will succeed on the job.

Remember, hirers generally don’t want to “take” a risk on unknown talent. They want to know that you will be able to perform and excel in the position.

By utilizing power words appropriately, you can exude confidence (without arrogance) and grab the attention of the hiring manager.

In English class, you probably remember your teacher telling you to “show, not tell.”

Your resume should do that as well.

Recruiters and HR managers don’t want to be told that you’re good at your job. Everyone who’s applying for the position will claim that.

They also want to SEE it.

Good power words command attention by highlighting your intellect, worth ethic, and illustrating your strengths.

For example, here are two examples of the same concept. The first sentence does not use power words.

“Responsible for improving productivity.”

Based on that sentence, it is impossible for the reader to understand exactly what you did. How did you improve productivity? What metric was used to quantify this?

Now, here’s that same concept, but with language that utilizes power words and descriptors:

“Developed a new office-wide workflow, saving our team an average of 7 hours during the new client onboarding process.”

By utilizing power words, this same concept is much more interesting. Beyond that, there are actual specifics that paint a picture and convey what you actually did at your previous job. This will excite potential employers and make them want to call you!

Examples of resume power words

The following is by no means an exhaustive list.

Here are some of the most common power words that managers love to see on resumes:
















When in doubt, opt for impressive, quantifiable verbs.

But… do not use big, descriptive words just for the sake of using them.

After all, “words” themselves are not the focus of your resume. YOU are. Keep the focus on you, your skills, and your qualifications.

Power words should complement the content of your resume. Perhaps more importantly, power words should be quantifiable when possible.

Let’s revisit our example above:

“Developed a new office-wide workflow, saving our team an average of 7 hours during the new client onboarding process.”

There are two power words in this sentence “developed” and “saving.” This explains what was accomplished and the result of the accomplishment (which inevitably impacts the bottom line of the company).



How to Bring Your Resume to the Next Level

There are many ways to upgrade your resume. Artfully using power words is just one of them.

OneSource Resume Services specializes in powerfully telling your professional story through resumes.

We focus on highlighting your strengths while appealing to the needs of employers.

Because we understand the hiring process, we can help you fine-tune your resume to open the door to your next job or career.

Reach out at or by calling (or texting) 504-500-8325

#workculture #likability

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