Your resume should inspire a hiring manager to spend more than a few seconds reading it. That's especially important if there's a lot of competition for the job opening. You want the hiring manager to absorb as much of the information on your resume as possible to increase your chance of being called in for an interview.
One way to do that is with strong action words. In a previous post, I listed five resume power words. Here are five more:
Meaning: Drove has nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle. It refers to being in the proverbial driver's seat of a project or other undertaking. In other words, moving by force or compulsion, especially from a position of leadership.
Example: Drove 20% sales increase from top five accounts in 2007 by assigning high-performing sales representatives to oversee software implementations.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Increased or pushed. It might be accurate to say you increased sales, but it doesn't have nearly the power of saying you drove the increase. Pushed gives the impression that you caused movement from behind, while drove gives the impression that you pulled others along behind you. The hiring manager will sense that you exerted more energy by driving rather than pushing.
Meaning: To initiate, such as a new venture or product.
Example: Launched new product line for the 25-34 age group in response to market research, resulting in 3% revenue growth within 6 months.
Milder Alternative to Avoid: Rolled out. By comparison, this is downright wimpy. Launch connotes strong action, getting something out of the gate and into motion, like a rocket. Rolled out makes you think of your old lawnmower being rolled slowly out of the garage.
Meaning: As one might jump-start a dead car battery, to jump-start means to enliven or revive.
Example: Jump-started stalled negotiations with key, strategic vendor for $5 million machine parts contract, persuading both sides to make concessions that led to agreement within 48 hours.
Milder Alternative to Avoid: Restarted or resumed. Just having "jump" connotes lively action. It's what I like to call a "vigorous verb" or, in this case, half a vigorous verb.
Meaning: To pioneer means to fearlessly blaze a new trail, or to be a part of something in the beginning stages. So, you can use this word if you played either a leading or non-leading role in something new.
Example: Pioneered new-hire mentoring program that helped cut employee turnover by 50% within two years.
Milder Alternative to Avoid: Developed or established. Again, if you're promoting a significant accomplishment on your resume, you need a strong verb that will increase the chance the hiring manager will read it. Pioneered makes one imagine exciting scenarios of hardy people persevering through hardship toward their goal (remember Lewis and Clark?). Developed or established sounds like you yawned and crossed something off your to-do list.
Meaning: To execute means to carry out, accomplish, perform, or do. (But don't say you were the "executioner," which may lead the hiring manager to turn your resume over to law-enforcement authorities.)
Example: Executed corporate humanitarian initiative to assist social service organizations addressing homelessness and hunger, resulting in $12,000 worth of free publicity and greater brand recognition.
Milder Alternatives to Avoid: Carried out, accomplished, or performed. These just don't have the same vigor as executed. Pro athletes don't carry out nice moves; they execute unbelievable plays.
If you want to write a truly impressive resume that will grab the reader's attention, choose action verbs that generate powerful images in the mind's eye.
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.
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