Resumes & Cover Letters

153 Power Words to Make Your Resume Stand Out

October 2, 2020

When an employer reviews your resume and cover letter, you have a limited amount of time to leave a lasting impression. Often, recruiters are tasked with reviewing many applications at once, and it’s not uncommon for them to see the same ‘standard’ verbs used on most resumes. A great way to stand out and effectively capture their attention is to include resume power words.

What are resume power words?

Power words are action verbs you can use to highlight your skills and experience to help your resume stand out and increase your chance of moving on to the next step in the hiring process. These words add quick and effective context to your resume, helping employers better understand your value as an employee.

Easily apply to jobs with an Indeed Resume

What are the benefits of using resume power words?

There are many advantages to using power words for resume writing. Using these action verbs will help you accomplish the following:

  1. Improved readability
    While you’ll likely need to use some industry terms when describing previous job experiences, it’s important your resume still makes sense to someone outside your job role. Power words can help you get your point across while still using industry terms.

For example, instead of saying:
“Refactored core component libraries from Ruby to Node.js.”

You could say:
“Simplified code library from Ruby to Node.js to increase development team productivity.”

  1. Varied language
    Sometimes it can be challenging to describe similar duties in a role without repeating the same verb. Having a list of strong resume words to reference will help you add variety to descriptions, and make the language more compelling.

For example, instead of saying:

  • Responsible for managing team of five sales representatives
  • Responsible for hitting monthly sales goals
  • Responsible for communicating weekly with clients to ensure success

You could say:

  • Manage, mentor and develop a team of five sales representatives
  • Consistently attain and exceed monthly sales goals
  • Lead weekly client meetings to foster open communication and ensure ongoing success
  1. Stronger descriptions
    Including power words in your bullet points can make your responsibilities and accomplishments sound more impactful. The descriptive nature of power words allow the recruiter or hiring manager to get a better feel for the efforts and effects of you put forth in that position.

For example, instead of saying:
Prospect for new business opportunities by making cold calls and following up on leads

You could say:
Aggressively prospect for new business by completing 50+ cold calls a day and pursuing leads to ensure pipeline sufficiency

Resume Format

Related: 139 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to decide which power words to use

Some words will be more effective than others in describing your specific skills and experiences. First, take time to review the job posting and identify which requirements align with your strengths and experiences. Then, look for power words that describe those accomplishments and attributes.

For example, if you’re applying for a customer service manager position and the employer has included “Experience leading and training new customer service agents,” in the job posting, you might describe your experience like this:

“Educated new customer service representatives on best practices, coached new hires through their first calls and acted as team mentor.”

Next, review the company page for clues about the organization’s culture and values to find ways to incorporate those descriptions in your resume and cover letter. For example, if the company describes itself as “Seeking employees with a strong work ethic who take ownership and responsibility,” you might describe your experience like this:

“Sought opportunities to grow my experience and develop my skills, happily accepting challenging projects and working hard to exceed company goals.”

Here are several power words you can use to share your experience, divided by type of role:

Describing a leadership role

  • Assist
  • Authorize
  • Chair
  • Coach
  • Counsel
  • Critique
  • Cultivate
  • Delegate
  • Develop
  • Direct
  • Educate
  • Enable
  • Enforce
  • Evaluate
  • Foster
  • Found
  • Guide
  • Head
  • Inspire
  • Lead
  • Manage
  • Mentor
  • Monitor
  • Motivate
  • Oversee
  • Orchestrate
  • Review
  • Run
  • Supervise
  • Teach
  • Unite

Describing a sales or customer service role

  • Accelerate
  • Accomplish
  • Advance
  • Advise
  • Advocate
  • Achieve
  • Boost
  • Build
  • Capture
  • Convince
  • Correspond
  • Deliver
  • Drive
  • Earn
  • Enhance
  • Expand
  • Field
  • Generate
  • Increase
  • Initiate
  • Maximize
  • Merge
  • Negotiate
  • Outperform
  • Perform
  • Persuade
  • Resolve
  • Stimulate
  • Sustain
  • Win
  • Yield

Describing a communication or creative role

  • Address
  • Aid
  • Author
  • Build
  • Collaborate
  • Compose
  • Conceptualize
  • Construct
  • Convey
  • Create
  • Demonstrate
  • Develop
  • Document
  • Draft
  • Edit
  • Energize
  • Explain
  • Formulate
  • Guide
  • Illustrate
  • Interact
  • Listen
  • Modify
  • Prepare
  • Share
  • Showcase
  • Transform
  • Translate
  • Upgrade
  • Visualize
  • Write

Describing a technical role

  • Advance
  • Architect
  • Automate
  • Built
  • Code
  • Deploy
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Devise
  • Discover
  • Engineer
  • Implement
  • Program
  • Test
  • Transform
  • Troubleshoot
  • Upgrade

Describing a project management role

  • Coordinate
  • Complete
  • Delegate
  • Execute
  • Establish
  • Facilitate
  • Forecast
  • Formulate
  • Formalize
  • Guide
  • Handle
  • Implement
  • Inspect
  • Initiate
  • Introduce
  • Launch
  • Manage
  • Map
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Process
  • Prioritize
  • Propose
  • Reorganize
  • Report
  • Represent
  • Solve
  • Spearhead
  • Test
  • Track

Describing an achievement

  • Attain
  • Complete
  • Conserve
  • Decreased
  • Earn
  • Exceed
  • Grow
  • Improve
  • Reach
  • Reduced
  • Succeed
  • Surpass
  • Yielded

Related: Words to Avoid and Include on a Resume

If you’re not sure where to insert power words in your resume and cover letter, highlight each verb and find a strong synonym to replace it from the above lists. This will give your resume an instant boost and ensure employers take notice of your valuable experience.