25 Impact Words For Your Resume
(Most of this is an excerpt from one of the chapters in my book, No Mistakes Resumes.)
Your resume should be filled with impact words. Words can be very powerful. Think of the emotions some of these simple statements generate:
- “I love you.”
- “I hate you.”
- “You are so beautiful.”
These are simple, but strong words, and they have power! They conjure up images, evoke emotions, and stir feelings—both positive and negative. That’s why it’s important for you to pay attention to the words you use on your resume.
What images do these words bring to mind?
- Spider, snake, scorpion
- Pit bull, doberman pinscher, rottweiler
- Kittens, puppies
- Facilitate, utilize
Each of those words evokes an image, but together they are much stronger; they reinforce each other. So when you think spider, snake, and scorpion, all in one thought, the feeling you get is probably one of danger, or at least apprehension.
The next grouping, pit bull, doberman, and rottweiler, may elicit a somewhat similar reaction, though probably not as primal. More of a warning.
And the third set—kittens and puppies—unless you’re an animal hater, should generate a warm feeling, maybe even a smile.
But how about the final two words: facilitate and utilize? Anything? Kind of bland, aren’t they? Yet they are two of the most common words found on resumes. Hunt them down and destroy them. Replace them with better words, like use and help/ease.
When you use words like utilize and facilitate on a resume, the focus of attention is on them. Replace them with simpler words that let the sentence flow.
Back to Power Words
Resume words can be powerful. Not to the extent of the examples I used, but similar. Think of these words: built, completed, discovered. For some of you, built may conjure images of a toolshed you built, or a fence around your property, or new shelves in your bedroom closet. You may have completed, a project that you put off for months, or you finished paying off that car loan. The image could be something as simple as discovering, a new route home to avoid traffic, or a new way to cook your favorite meal.
One thing these words have in common is that they stir good feelings. When you see them on a resume, no matter who you are, you can’t help but feel positive reinforcement. What nouns you use to follow those verbs will determine how the gatekeeper feels about them, and that is why it’s so important to create a new resume for each position, tailored to the needs of the job description.
- “Built a marketing team from scratch for new disk-drive product.”
- “Completed design of a new generator on time and under budget.”
- “Discovered new process for small-molecule drug formulation.”
If the gatekeeper needs a new marketing team built, or a new generator designed, or a new drug formulated, you can bet your resume will get maximum attention.
A Short List
There are hundreds of impact words to use on resumes, but the ones I’ve included here are among the most powerful. Look at them. What do you think when you see them?
If you are applying for a position where cost-cutting measures could be valuable, consider some of these words from the list: cut, eliminated, fixed, improved, negotiated, reduced, saved, solved.
No matter what words you use on your resume, remember to think about them and what kind of message you’re sending with them.
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