Most people’s resumes are boring.
I spent 14-years hiring and firing staff within the information technology sector. Over those years, I’ve read thousands of resumes. I threw most of them away within 10 seconds.
They were dull, and repetitive and most of them put me to sleep.
The resumes I kept were impressive. They were tailored to the job opening, were free of typographical errors, and used powerful terminology that captured my interest and spoke highly of the candidate’s qualifications.
It takes most hiring managers less than 20 seconds to decide whether or not to consider you for the position.
This means your resume needs to put your best foot forward. To do that, make sure you’re using terminology that will resonate.
If you want to boost your chances of getting the job, include these 8 power words in your resume today.
8 Power Words to Boost Your Chances of an Offer
- Led. The word “led” implies something powerful. It means that you’re more than just a worker bee. For instance, instead of saying “Responsible for a department of 10 direct reports…”, say “Led a department of 10 direct reports…”. The difference might seem subtle, but using “led” instead of “responsible for” makes a crucial difference. Similar words include “Headed,” “Controlled,” “Chaired,” “Directed,” “Operated,” and “Managed.”
- Improved. Find an experience where you played a critical role in making something better and highlight that experience using the word “improved.” This power word is a great way to grab the hiring manager’s attention. They will notice.
- Launched. I love this word. Whenever someone used this word on their resume, I always took the extra time to read that portion of the resume closely. For example, instead of saying, “I started a new division…”, say, “I launched a new 25-person software sales division that generated over $2 million in additional annual revenue.”
- Influenced. This is an excellent word for those who don’t have direct management experience but want to step into a leadership role. Though you may not have led any direct reports, you might have influenced their direction. Or, maybe you came up with a brilliant idea to save a company money? In that case, you were “Influential in developing a new customer-retention strategy that saved the organizations over $5 million.” It’s a great word to describe your ability to lead without being in a leadership position.
- Trained. Most businesses love it when employees can directly train other employees. This takes some of the pressure off of management and also implies that you know your job well enough to teach it to someone else.
- Negotiated. This term is a brilliant way to describe your ability to make deals happen. Though it may not suit every resume, try to include this term if you have experience working directly with customers, clients, or vendors in business relationships.
- Resolved. If you’re a problem-solver, you’re adept at “resolving” problems. This is a great word used to describe your ability to excel in your job role and tackle and fix big problems that organizations face.
- Designed. This is a more professional word than “Programmed” or “Built” (depending on the context). Using this term implies well-rounded knowledge and experience. It also means you were involved in the planning and requirements-gathering process, two key qualifications that most companies look for (but may not specifically list on the job opportunity).
Bonus: Use keywords from the company’s job description. For instance, if a company uses terms like “forward-thinking,” “innovative,” and “multitasking,” include those terms in your resume.
Note that this probably means that you need to tailor your resume for each job opening, which is generally a good habit to get into anyway.
The more tailored your resume is for each position, the more likely you will get an interview.
Terms to Avoid
Those 8 words are excellent terms to include in your resume. But, many buzzwords should be avoided at all costs (unless they were mentioned in the job description). I’ve seen these words repeatedly, and they don’t impress the hiring manager.
Here are several terms to never include on your resume:
- Outside the box
- Thought leader
- Team player
The problem with these words is they don’t tell the hiring manager anything that they don’t already know or assume to be true. And sometimes, the hiring manager may not understand what you are trying to say.
For instance, everybody thinks they are “detail-oriented,” don’t they? Especially on a resume. And, nobody really knows what the term “synergies” means when included on most people’s resumes. These are meaningless buzzwords that you should avoid.
Including these terms won’t improve your chances of getting a call in for an interview. In fact, they might ensure that your resume gets thrown into the circular repository instead.
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