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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

100+ Power Words to Include in Your Résumé

Imagine that you're a hiring manager sifting through stacks of incoming résumés—all using the same (or nearly the same) language. Beyond the sheer boredom of having to read them, the repetitive phrasing comes across as a résumé that has been built with a template and without any distinguishing characteristics that would make an individual stand out. With this being the norm, when one particular résumé stands out as different, it's a big impact. So, the question then becomes: How can I make my résumé stand out from the rest?

Oprah Winfrey's advice on résumé building is the perfect answer to this question: The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a résumé that doesn't simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it's a story about who you want to be.

Keep that advice in mind as we go over 100+ power words to include in your résumé to set yours apart from the rest.

Including power words on your résumé will help you stand out from the pack
Including power words on your résumé will help you stand out from the pack. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Company values

A company's primary goal in hiring is to find a capable, talented individual that can reflect the company's values in his or her work. The most obvious way to let them know you're that individual is to take awhile to look over the company's mission statement and vision—both of which are most often found on a company's website. Let's look at an example and pull some power words from it that could be included in your résumé:

Christine H. is looking for a job with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and goes to their website to find the company values and mission statement. In doing so, she finds the following information:


To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.


Provide a world-class Club Experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Boys & Girls Club of America

Now, to pull some power words from these statements, Christine might choose:

  • enable
  • reach their full potential
  • caring
  • responsible
  • plan for the future
  • good character
  • citizenship
  • healthy lifestyle

From this list of power words, pulled straight from the target employer's website, Christine can now craft her objective statement, summary, and even past job details with these words included. For example, if she has teaching experience, instead of writing something like this as a detail on her job description:

Helped students with social skills and peer interaction

She could rather write:

Discussed and emphasized citizenship roles and caring for their peers

Instead of using a typical objective statement such as:

Recent graduate seeking a job with an employer that is making a difference in the world.

She could write a summary statement that has far more impact, using the power words pulled from the company's mission statement:

Caring and forward-thinking teacher seeking a job that allows me to enable young people to become the best version of themselves and practice a healthy, responsible lifestyle.

The result of changing her summary statement to reflect some of the power words noted in the company's mission statement is an automatic connection between the teacher she wants to be (remember Oprah's advice) and the teacher they are seeking.

Same idea, better words

While these example sentences communicate the same idea, by choosing power words from the company's mission statement, she has immediately set herself apart from the rest of the applicants and shown that she has a unique ability to meet the vision that Boys & Girls Clubs of America has for its work. In doing so, she's showing that she's an ideal candidate for the position.

The same thing can be done with the job description itself. Look over the language used in the job description and pull out some of the key power words. Use these words in your summary and former job details (if they fit) and allow them to be the focus on your résumé. Obviously, you need to make sure you can back up your statements with experience. If there is a power word you have noted that you can't tie directly with your past course work or experience, it's best to leave it out and find one that will easily correlate to your employment or educational history.

Atypical action verbs

Beyond using language from the company's mission statement and job description as power words in your résumé, unique action verbs will stand out more than the more commonly used ones such as "worked," "oversaw," "managed," "performed" or "did". If your job description bullet points contain these overused words, go through the list of atypical action verbs below to see if another might fit and offer a more powerful word choice.

Here are some atypical résumé action verbs to consider in place of repeating the tired, overused ones that are used in everyone else's résumé:

  1. Achieved
  2. Acquired
  3. Activated
  4. Amended
  5. Analyzed
  6. Appraised
  7. Arbitrated
  8. Ascertained
  9. Assessed
  10. Attained
  11. Authored
  12. Balanced
  13. Boosted
  14. Bolstered
  15. Brainstormed
  16. Built
  17. Centralized
  18. Charted
  19. Coached
  20. Commissioned
  21. Compiled
  22. Conceptualized
  23. Consolidated
  24. Constructed
  25. Convinced
  26. Critiqued
  27. Deciphered
  28. Deliberated
  29. Determined
  30. Diagnosed
  31. Directed
  32. Drafted
  33. Educated
  34. Elicited
  35. Empowered
  36. Encouraged
  37. Enriched
  38. Evaluated
  39. Examined
  40. Expanded
  41. Facilitated
  42. Forecasted
  43. Formulated
  44. Fostered
  45. Founded
  46. Guided
  47. Illustrated
  48. Implemented
  49. Influenced
  50. Informed
  51. Initiated
  52. Innovated
  53. Inspired
  54. Integrated
  55. Interpreted
  56. Introduced
  57. Investigated
  58. Justified
  59. Lectured
  60. Linked
  61. Mediated
  62. Mobilized
  63. Modernized
  64. Monitored
  65. Motivated
  66. Multiplied
  67. Orchestrated
  68. Organized
  69. Oriented
  70. Partnered
  71. Persuaded
  72. Pioneered
  73. Polished
  74. Procured
  75. Projected
  76. Promoted
  77. Queried
  78. Reconciled
  79. Recruited
  80. Refined
  81. Rehabilitated
  82. Rejuvenated
  83. Revamped
  84. Sanctioned
  85. Scrutinized
  86. Shaped
  87. Spearheaded
  88. Streamlined
  89. Strengthened
  90. Stimulated
  91. Sustained
  92. Synthesized
  93. Tailored
  94. Traced
  95. Transformed
  96. Transmitted
  97. Updated
  98. Upgraded
  99. Validated
  100. Visualized

Let's look at the difference these words can make on a typical résumé. Before using power words, Christine's job experience bullet points read like this:

  • Performed duties such as grading and lesson planning
  • Contacted parents relating to their child's progress
  • Taught students soft skills for the workplace
  • Worked with fellow teachers on curriculum development goals

After replacing the typical verbs with atypical action verbs, her job experience bullet points now read like this:

  • Created lesson plans and evaluated grades to determine student progress
  • Facilitated open communication with parents as stakeholders in their child's educational progress
  • Empowered students with soft skills that would enrich their career search
  • Collaborated with peers to integrate curriculum goals into teaching practice

Immediately, you'll notice how the tasks using power words and atypical action verbs seem more important, with more personal involvement on Christine's part. While both examples show the same tasks, the second one will stand out to a potential employer who is seeking someone who can empower, collaborate and create. These words have much more impact than "performed," "contacted," "taught," and "worked."

Choose power words with greater impact for your résumé
Choose power words with greater impact for your résumé. Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash.

Popular skills

The modern workplace often looks vastly different than workplaces just 20 years ago. While some skills have remained in demand—such as communication skills, organization skills, etc.—others have grown in demand only recently. For example, 10 years ago, employers didn't care whether you have social media literacy, unless you were working specifically in that field. Now, it's a factor many employers consider in their new hires, especially since the effect of social media has intensified in the past decade.

This article on career-building website Monster.com lists the top seven skills employers are currently looking for, in general, in new-hires:

  • Problem solving
  • Data analytics
  • Social media literacy
  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Good business sense
  • Willingness to learn

These skills are power words in their own way, and including them on your résumé will help boost your chances of being hired and distinguish you from the pack. Obviously, employers from different sectors will list other skills that are needed to fulfill the job role. However, having the core basic skills and including them on your résumé is a power play that will get you noticed, regardless of the sector to which you're applying.

Final thoughts

It's important to understand that you can use every power word possible on your résumé, but if you submit it with grammar, syntax, or spelling mistakes, that power is lost. One risk you might run into in using atypical action verbs is spelling them incorrectly, so whatever words you use, make sure you've checked and then rechecked again to ensure accuracy.

Also, be careful to avoid throwing in power words without knowing their meaning. This could result in using a word out of context, which will make it seem like you don't know what you're doing, and are simply using "big" words for the sake of using them. This will come across to your potential employer as dishonest and unprofessional, so whatever words you use—understand their connotation and definition fully before doing so.

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