You don't have a lot of time to grab a hiring manager's attention when he or she begins looking at your resume. Get your resume noticed by using action words that carry more impact than their milder alternatives. Here are five examples of resume power words that outshine their blander cousins.
Meaning: To spearhead means to be the leader of something. But more important is the word's connotation. This word just oozes leadership, taking charge, and being a self-starter. And employers like any or all of those qualities in an employee. This word is especially helpful if you took charge of a project that delivered noticeable results.
Example: Spearheaded development of new distribution scheduling system that saved 25% in labor costs in first year after deployment.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Led or Played a Key Role. The first is just bland when compared with "Spearheaded"; the second doesn't say anything about how you were a key player.
Meaning: To create means to cause or bring something into being. As for the connotation, there's nothing ambiguous about this word. It says action and tells the hiring manager that the potential employee "may have some creativity that we could use in this role."
Example: Created new e-commerce functionality that helped increase page views 30% and drove 10% increase in Internet sales in first three months of operation.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Helped make or Facilitated. The first downplays a potentially critical accomplishment if, in fact, you were out in front doing the creating and not taking a back seat, supporting role. The second conjures up images of someone leading a group discussion or moderating a dispute. You don't want to confuse that with "creating."
Meaning: To initiate means to start, launch, or ignite. But again, it carries that sound of action, which translates into, "Here's someone who can make things happen, and we need someone like that in this middle management role."
Example: Initiated follow-up campaign to discover why former customers turned to competitors' products. Effort led to reorganization of customer service function and 20% increase in customer retention within one year.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Started (duh) or began. Slightly less mild but still on the avoid list: proposed.
Meaning: To accelerate means to cause faster or greater activity, the same as stepping on the accelerator in your car. So, what's not to like about this word? It connotes speed, action, making something happen, or making a difference.
Example: Accelerated development of new line of power tools in response to market trends, securing company's first-to-market position with new offerings.
Milder Alternative to Avoid: Sped up. It's OK but just doesn't carry the vigor that "accelerated" does.
Meaning: To consolidate means to bring together into a single or unified whole. The word is especially eye-catching when employers are looking for people who can help control costs by finding more efficient ways to get work done; anything that makes a process faster, better, or cheaper.
Example: Consolidated functions while maintaining efficiency levels in Finance Department by identifying redundancies, reassigning staff, and reorganizing workloads.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Brought together, Merged, Combined, United. Of these four, "merged" is only slightly better than the rest, but not as strong and impactful as consolidated.
Got some words you like to use on your resume? Or do you want our advice on a certain word or two? Please drop in a comment to this post.