Resume & Cover Letter

Power Words To Use On Your Resume

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By: Caroline Forrest
Jan 11, 2021 • 7 min read

Resume Power Words? We’ve got you.

Creating a resume can be such a daunting task. With so many templates and design options, information to include or exclude, and formats to save it in, it is a huge task to undertake! However, one of the most important things to remember when creating your resume is that sometimes the words you use hold far more importance than the design or format. That being said, how do you decide which words and what content to include? We’ll talk you through some important power words to include on your resume and how to use them.

What is a power word?

A power word is a word or phrase that instills a greater amount of emotion and response than typical words. For instance, “good” and “excellent” have the same or similar meanings, but “excellent” elicits a stronger response from the audience. In this case, the audience is the person reading your resume. Power words are emotional triggers. This means that these words evoke or result in a more emotional response than your average words or phrases.

Power words can be used in many different ways and in different environments. Many people use power words in marketing and journalism to obtain a stronger response from their audience, but another way you can use power words is in your resume!

The most important factor that makes a power word different from any other word is that it involves an action. Whether it is an action word (a verb) or another part of speech that makes you think about an action, this is what really sets apart power words!

Some other important factors included in power words:

  • Unique or surprising
  • Emotional
  • Action-related
  • Provocative

Why are power words important?

Power words are important for so many reasons. When you are applying for a job, your goal is to get an interview, be successful, and get the position. Therefore, you want to do everything you can to make this happen. Changing the words in your resume is a straightforward way to help yourself succeed in your endeavors!

When you use words that elicit strong emotions, your audience will feel more connected with your application. When they feel any sort of emotion about your application, they are more likely to say to themselves, “wow, this candidate would be a great fit! They look like a strong applicant.” And that, of course, is our ultimate goal.

When using unique, provocative words, you may even come across as more intelligent to the employer. This is very important when it comes to your application! If they have to choose between two identical applicants, and the only difference is that your resume contains more intelligent, unique words and phrases, you’ve locked in your spot as the prime candidate.

To summarize, power words are important to use because:

  1. You appear more confident.
  2. You may come across as more intelligent.
  3. The interviewer will feel more emotional and therefore more connected) about your application.
  4. You are more likely to get an interview if your application has power words because they match the job description!

How do you decide which power words to use?

So, now that we know what a power word is, we have to figure out which power words to include on your resume! This part is trickier because you have to fully understand the job description and know which words will stand out. This all depends on which job you are applying for! If you are applying for a job in food service, the power words you use on your resume will be different from applying for a healthcare job. These are just some examples of how you can turn average words into power words for your resume. There are so many options for synonyms and power words, so take your time and find the right word to use!

TIP: Power words are not only strong words or synonyms of average words. They are also words that elicit a response because of their accuracy. Look at the job description for your application, and make sure to take note of any words that show up more than once! These will become power words for your resume and cover letter. If an interviewer is looking for the right candidate, these words will stand out much more than other candidates that don’t use them!

Let’s take a look at some examples!

Retail:

Average Words:

assist, stock, maintain, help, work, better, record

Power Words!

guide, cultivate, create, generate, enhance

 

Food Service:

Average Words: 

helped, perform, ensure, work, address

Power Words!

master, secure, guarantee, accomplish, achieve, deliver

 

Management:

Average Words: 

manage, review, promoted, handle, monitor

Power Words!

encourage, cultivate, guide, coach

 

Healthcare:

Average Words: 

coordinate, assist, manage, recommend, administer, evaluate

Power Words!

serve, guide, counsel, appraise

 

Other/General:

Average Words: 

supported, adhered, provided, organize, lead

Power Words!

pioneered, established, implement, innovate, initiate, adapt

How to include power words on your resume.

Now that we have identified some of the power words for your resume – let’s implement them! This part is easy. When you describe your work history on your resume, each of the power words should be placed right after the bullet point. We’ll show you how! Let’s say that we are applying for a job in foodservice. We’ll take some of the power words above and create a strong resume section.

  • Mastered different food techniques such as XYZ
  • Secured the restaurant and kitchen after each shift
  • Guaranteed top quality food and beverages for customers
  • Accomplished each of my daily tasks with a great attitude
  • Achieved employee of the month three separate times throughout my tenure
  • Deliver high-quality customer service to each and every customer

Wow! You can see how these power words really make an impact compared to average words on your resume. Anyone can say that they learned something on the job, but to master it makes your interviewer feel much more confident about hiring you! The same goes for the rest of the phrases – the emotional trigger for each of these words will set your application apart from the rest.

The next way you can include power words on your resume is to directly pull words and phrases from the job description. We’ll use the same example as above and pretend we are applying for a food service position. The job descriptions states:

“We are looking to hire a friendly Food Service Worker to prepare meals and serve our customers. The Food Service Worker will perform food preparation duties such as preparing fruit and vegetables and serve customers swiftly and efficiently. You will assist in preparing hot items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serve these as well as grab-and-go items. You will maintain knowledge of our products, and provide customers with correct information where necessary. To be successful in this role, you need to perform optimally in a dynamic, high-pressure environment. Preferred candidates are fast-paced, organized, and dexterous.”

Let’s pull some powerful words from this description! When I read this job description, these are the words that stand out: swift, efficient, dynamic, high-pressure, fast-paced, organize, and dextrous. Now, let’s use these power words in our resume example!

  • Mastered different food techniques such as XYZ, swiftly learning on the job
  • Secured the restaurant and kitchen after each shift
  • Guaranteed top quality food and beverages for customers in a dynamic and fast-paced environment
  • Accomplished each of my daily tasks with a great attitude, even under high-pressure situations
  • Achieved employee of the month three separate times throughout my tenure due to my flexibility and swift actions
  • Deliver high-quality customer service to each and every customer, staying organized and dextrous

Now your resume contains power words that elicit emotional responses from your audience, and it contains all of the power words or phrases from the job description! With this technique, your resume will stand out significantly among the rest.

More to Read:

How to Describe Yourself in 3 Words

Facts You Should Never Include on Your Resume

Phone Interview Hacks to Stand Out

 

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