Say you’ve found the perfect job opening in a well-known organization. You meet all the requirements for the position and have the work experience desired. Now you may think that all that’s left is to send off your cover letter and resume, and you’ll be selected!

Not quite. In today’s increasingly competitive world, no guarantee merely having the required skills and experience will get you a job. You need to stand out from the hiring pool by crafting a resume that will get the hiring manager’s attention and ensure that you are shortlisted for the interview.

Think of it like this: your resume shouldn’t just say you possess the basic requirements in the job description, but it should also show how you go beyond them. Remember, your resume is a chance for you to show the organization all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished in the past. You can’t do this by being modest. Take this opportunity to shine a light on yourself.

Your resume should present you as a unique candidate so you stand out in the selection process. How can you make a difference through your resume? Let’s find out.

What Are Action Words?

Most resume language is repetitive. While a resume should be formal, there’s no reason it should be boring. One way of making an impact through your writing is to use action words or power words. They’re also known as action verbs that can help jazz up your otherwise ordinary resume. Let’s see how you can get your point across in the most effective way possible through this impactful communication tool.

Why Use Power Words For Resume?

To understand why we should use action verbs in a resume, we must first understand how the hiring process takes place in the majority of organizations. Most hiring managers review a high volume of resumes in a short time. This is why most of them skim through applicant resumes instead of reading them in detail. They usually look for keywords or action verbs in applicant resumes. Including action words in your resume can help you catch the hiring manager’s eye.

There’s another reason why action verbs for a resume make a huge difference. Some organizations and businesses use a tracking system to screen applicants. This system, known as the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), is designed to screen certain required action verbs in a resume. If it doesn’t find the relevant action words in a resume, it automatically discards the resume instead of shortlisting it. If you include the necessary action verbs in your resume, you have a better chance of making it through the ATS and to the next round of the hiring process.

Action words can be also used to write interesting cover letters and attractive job descriptions.

Types Of Power Words For Resume

Write compelling resumes by using the following types  of power verbs to improve your  resume:

  1. Resume Buzzwords:

Buzzwords describe your abilities and show that you’re a better fit for the job position when compared with other applicants. A good way of identifying these kinds of action words is to find the relevant keywords related to skills, qualifications and credentials in the job description.

For example, if the job description uses the word ‘ninja’, then they’re looking for someone who is a ‘go-getter’ and takes ‘initiative’. Use these resume buzzwords to stand out.

  1. Industry Jargon:

Every industry has certain technical words or terms that employers look for in the resumes of prospective candidates. By using these industry-specific action words, you can showcase the necessary skills that employers are looking for. Different fields have different jargon. Don’t hesitate to use jargon to highlight specific achievements and skills you have.

For example, a digital marketing executive could write that they boosted the traffic and improved the page ranks of a website by conducting keyword research and increasing the organic keywords for high-volume searches. The industry jargon to describe their skills could include “content marketing”, SEO, “analytics”, “email marketing”, etc.

  1. Company Values:

Organizations want employees whose values match those of the organization.  Write action verbs in your resume that mimic the tone and the language of the company’s values. Use these keywords to describe yourself in the “about”, “summary” or “career objectives” section of your resume. You can easily find out about the company’s mission and vision in the ‘About Us’ section of their website.

For example, if an organization uses action words like ‘innovative’ or ‘passionate’, to describe itself, you could use those action verbs or their synonyms like ‘entrepreneurial’ or ‘driven’ to describe yourself. This will help the hiring manager see that you are a good fit in the work culture and pace of the organization.

How To Use Power Verbs For Resume

Here are a few tips for  using power or action verbs in your  resume:

  1. Find The Right Verbs:

Now that you know how to use action words in your resume, the next step is to find the appropriate action verbs to use. Don’t just use any synonym that sounds interesting.  Take your cue from the organization’s website and written communication as well as the job description itself.

Remember, the whole purpose of applying for a job is to show how good a fit you are for the vacancy. So your action words should match the profile and job description. You should use the grammatically correct verbs, adjectives and adverbs that will complement the language used in your resume.

  1. Keep It Simple:

Use ‘fluff words’ or jargon only when necessary. Too much of anything isn’t a good idea. Structure your sentences in a simple, yet elegant manner. Get to the point you’re trying to make and don’t elaborate unnecessarily. It’s important to double-check your sentences for coherence.

  1. Be Honest:

Just because you know what action verbs are and why they are important in a  resume, it doesn’t mean you should use them dishonestly just to get ahead. Remember, after the resume shortlisting stage there will be other rounds like group discussions, tests, and interviews. If you have used action words in your resume to highlight skills or values you don’t possess, it will become apparent to the hiring manager sooner or later. Your understanding of how to use action verbs for a resume is meant to help you polish and highlight the skills you already have. So use them wisely.


The next time you decide to write a resume or any application, remember to use words that make an impact. Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course is designed to help you write clearly, concisely and compellingly. The Pyramid Principle framework will help you present the key ideas upfront and objectively. So, what are you waiting for? Express to impress!

Explore the skills & topics such as Skills for Resume, Difference Between CV and Resume, How to Answer the Question – What are Your Weaknesses & Strengths in an Interview from our Harappa Diaries blog section and ace an interview.

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