DiceTV: Spice Up Your Resume with Power Words

Powerful words in your resume – verbs that describe your tasks, accomplishments and responsibilities, or adjectives and phrases that describe your characteristics and actions – are as important as what you say.

The Script

This resume is really bland, maybe I can spice it up by adding some action verbs like “achieved,” “persuaded” and “delegated.”

That’s better, but it still needs something. How about a few adjectives like: “precise,” “conscientious” and “enterprising.” Magnifique! Adding those powerful words really did the trick.

Does your resume tantalize the reviewer? Will they keep reading or stop after the first section?

I’m Cat Miller and we’re using power words to spice up your resume on this edition of DiceTV.

Powerful words can be colorful past tense verbs that describe your tasks, accomplishments and responsibilities or adjectives and phrases that describe your personality traits, characteristics or even your actions. How you say something is as important as what you say, so use descriptive language to paint a picture for the reviewer.

It’s best to start with a broad list, then select power words that characterize your personality, work habits or work experience. If you don’t have a robust vocabulary, download lists from the Internet or use a thesaurus to expand your repertoire. Remember to include descriptive phrases from the job posting like self-starter or cost conscious because mimicking its language and tone will entice the reviewer.

First, create a personal brand or opening statement using one or two adjectives from your list. For example maybe you’re known as a tenacious problem-solver or a relentless pursuer of stealth security threats.

Next, support your brand by starting each experience bullet with a complementary past-tense action verb. Remember, don’t use power words haphazardly. Your selections should work in concert to convey a cohesive message. For example a relentless security expert may have “abolished” or “thwarted” hundreds of incursions or “abated” network downtime through “persistent” and “deliberate” firewall testing.

Finally, sprinkle in a few adjectives and voila – a spicy resume. In fact this resume is so spicy; I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m Cat Miller and this has been Dice TV. We now return you to your regular desktop.

Comments

2 Responses to “DiceTV: Spice Up Your Resume with Power Words”

November 08, 2010 at 8:10 am, Alesia Benedict said:

Your resume is the company¿s first impression of you, so it is important to impress them at first glance. While in a perfect world, job seekers would be judged ONLY on their abilities, the truth is, in today¿s world, they are also judged by their resumes. Since organizations receive so many resumes on a continual basis, they must find reasons to ¿screen out¿ in order to reduce the number of applicants. Hence, not using power words or key phrases hurts your chances of being considered for the position. Don¿t shoot yourself in the foot! Revise your resume to include buzz terms and strong verbiage

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November 12, 2010 at 12:23 am, Bob said:

Good advice for the most part, but everyone is doing that now. I have received resumes and cover letters that use these power words so incorrectly it is comical. Please make sure your power word is actually a word.
And please, don’t lie on your resume. I see so many jobs posted that require an impossible skill set to meet, so people simply don’t tell the truth. This is especially true on the enormous number of resumes I receive from individuals from India.

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