Impact-minded power words: Lists of power words can easily be found online (I found some good ones here and here). But armed with a list of power words does not a good resume make. Be mindful of the words that you are using to create a more vivid picture of your work. Here is an example from someone who worked as a waiter:
- Taught new employees how to use the POS system to ensure accuracy and rapid transaction completion
- Coached new employees in the use of restaurant POS system to ensure accuracy and rapid transaction completion
See the difference? The word “coach” creates in the mind a different type of action than “taught.” By thinking creatively and choosing the appropriate power word you honor your experience and the employer “sees” this through how you describe it.
Notice the story you’re telling: Now that you have a better handle on power words to use, let’s turn a mindful eye on the story that they are telling. Which phrase below sounds more appealing to you as an employer who is hiring an information technology specialist for a leading hospital?
- Assisted multi-departmental team development on an iPad app to enhance workflow and improve care to patients
- Led multi-departmental team development on an iPad app to enhance workflow and improve care to patients
Again, the difference one word can make. Now, don’t be disingenuous: if you didn’t lead the project, don’t say that you did. But if you start to notice that your power words do not show leadership, delve deeper into your experience or use it as a catalyst to start creating experiences where you are in a leadership role. It is never too late to intentionally shape your career.
Be wary of repeats: Personally, I hate using the same power word in a resume more than once. To me it shows a lack of creativity in one’s self marketing. So try to keep this down to a minimum: repeating a word once is acceptable, but do not make it a habit.
Power words, when used appropriately, create stand-out impact. When writing the novel of your career, use the right power words to ensure your name is blazoned across the cover.