You’ve heard it over and over again – a well-written resume is a winning resume. What does that mean? How can you determine whether your resume is written in a tone and style that employers will respond to? Synthesizing your educational achievements, years of your professional experience, and numerous qualifications you have acquired over the years into one to two pages is not easy to accomplish. Every phrase or statement you write has to convince your potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job. To do so, you will need to use action or power word.
Action words, or power words, are keywords (verbs) that add strength and positive implication to your job responsibilities or qualifications. When you submit your resume to your potential employer, there are two scenarios that will occur. One, your application will be ran through a computer software program, which searches your resume for key terms as indicated by the employer. If your resume contains those key words, your resume will be pulled aside for further review. Two, a hiring manager, or most often a human resources associate, will receive a stack or resumes and scan through them quickly to pick out those that stand out the most, again based on certain key words. It should now be clear why these action words are critical to your success in job hunting.
When listing your employment history, each job’s responsibilities should be listed in bullet point form, with each statement starting with an action word. Using power verbs or phrases will indicate to your employer that you are driven by action and results, and that you can effectively articulate your professional experience (thus, showcasing your communication skills).
Here is a small sample of action words:
– developed and implemented
– consulted, etc.
This is a very short sampling of action words. Many resources on the Internet contain extensive listings of action words or phrases. Do some research and use only those terms that are relevant to your field of experience. Your best bet would be to locate samples of resumes by professionals in your industry. Review those resumes for ideas on how to list your responsibilities. Important note: do not copy exact statements from someone else’s resume; while you can do your research, you will want to make your resume personalized to your professional experience.
Don’t fall into the trap of using the same action word over and over. If you have in fact managed multiple projects, you may want to be a bit more specific about your role in each. For example, maybe you were the communication liaison in one project, while you were the project manager for another task. Begin the first bullet point with “communicated,” and the second bullet point with “managed.” However, be aware of the words that you are using and consider their value in your resume. Do not go overboard with using varying terms, especially those that may change your role or your responsibilities.
Additionally, you can find key action words in job descriptions. Review your resume against a job description and make sure that all required qualifications are addressed in your statements. This will also help you identify action words that the employer uses, which you can in turn use to customize your resume or cover letter to that specific job.
Always make sure that you are consistent in the way you list all of your responsibilities and qualifications, and make sure that your statements exude positive attitude and focus on actions and results. By doing so, you are guaranteed to create a winning resume that will get you noticed.