A resume is said to be a representation of your entire professional being, however, employers are now looking at your resume to see what you are actually capable of in the workplace, and what you could be capable of doing in the future. Convincing an employer you are the right person for the job all starts with the right words. Every word on your resume should be there for a reason- if the word serves no greater purpose, get rid of it! I believe that the most important words on a resume should be verbs, which I like to call power verbs. Every verb used to describe a work, volunteer, academic or personal experience should be meaningful, and show both your power and potential in one way or another.
Here are a few of my favorite power verbs, and why you should consider including them in your next resume revision:
In a recent article from Forbes titled “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates,” the ability to work in a team structure was listed as the number one skill employers seek in their future employees. And this skill is not limited to any one field- no matter where you are planning on applying for a job, odds are pretty high that you will be working with others. With all this said, it is important that you show your ability to be a team player on your resume with a power verb. I love the word collaborate, because it implies an ability to both give and receive from a group.
Management and facilitation skills are especially impressive to employers (with no surprise, an ability to make decisions and solve problems was number two on the Forbes list), and you can imply you have both with “oversee.” Consider using the word oversee with regard to any leadership positions you have held, whether that be on campus or professionally.
The verbs develop and design show professional creativity, and prove that you can come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems in the workplace. Both of these verbs are great if you want to show off your creative and innovative experience.
It seems obvious, but employers want to hire someone who will make their workplace better. They want someone who will make their systems better, their work environment better, and their lives easier. The power verb that shows you are the person for this is “improve.” You can improve just about anything, meaning you can use this verb to describe basically any experience you have on your resume.
Daniella is a sophomore at Northeastern with a combined major in Human Services and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish. She is currently on her first co-op working for a youth development nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniella is passionate about social change, travel, and good food- and can’t wait to see what Africa has to offer her both professionally and personally. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for Daniella’s posts every other Tuesday.