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Power Up Your Resume

By Erika Osmundson,


Having a good resume is one thing that can be the difference between the garbage can and a chance at an interview. But, a GREAT resume can move you to the top of the inter­view schedule! While there are many keys to a GREAT resume, one that can go a long way is using power words.



Not to downplay the importance of the basics, you’ll want to make sure that you focus on crucial aspects of any good resume, such as:

• Clear, complete contact information

• A concise and well-formatted layout

• Thorough review of information

• Grammatically accurate and proofread


Beyond the basics, there are a lot of opinions on what to include and what not to include, the right length, the order, and more, but power words are generally agreed upon as one of the best ways to articulate your experience and catch the reader’s attention.


Employers receive a lot of resumes and finding ways to standout can be difficult. A common mistake is listing your work experience, resembling a job description. Power words, also known as action words, can easily be used when outlining your experience and spice up your resume to make it stand out.


Power words are those words that describe the action taken, typically the past tense of a verb. Think about it from a standpoint of engaging your reader. As you develop this section, begin your bullets with a powerful action word to describe what you’ve done. There are power words that are more engaging than others. Rather than ‘I sold…’ try something like ‘I strengthened sales…’. Instead of ‘I planned…’ try ‘I executed…’. While sold and planned are action words, the more descriptive and engaging words “strengthened” and “executed” resonate and leave an impression.


Power words are also something to pay attention to in the job description itself. Are there action words used in the description that you could also use in your resume? With so many resumes being submitted online and screened by automated systems, matching up and utilizing similar power words is one more way to help increase the chances that your resume makes it through the automated screening.


Use power words in your objective or purpose statement, qualification profile, achievements, education, and other areas that you might choose to include on your resume. The goal is to try to include a variety of action words that accurately depict what you have done and the experience you’ve had. To the right, check out some of our favorite power words to help spark your resume writing creativity!


Bonus Tip: Action or power words make it easier to include measurables with your work experience. Measurables or quantifying your actions/success is another key to a GREAT resume.