Imagine reading the same article rewritten in hundreds of different ways. That’s how it can feel for HR professionals sifting through a giant stack of resumes. It gets boring and monotonous. Then, every once in a while, a resume stands out from the rest because someone decided to tweak their language and make it more interesting. They used strong, unique words to describe how they affected positive change in the workplace instead of listing off the same recycled collection of phrases. This guide gives you an assortment of action verbs and resume power words to level up how you present your skills.
If you’re concerned about the giant pool of applications your resume will be swimming in, imagine how the hiring manager feels. They have to filter through dozens or even hundreds of resumes to fill just one open position. You want your resume to stand out for all the right reasons, and one way to do that is by making the effort to diversify your vocabulary. If words are all you have on your resume, write something different than everyone else and you’re sure to stand out.
Whether you download a resume template or attempt to build your own from scratch, there are corporate jargon words and phrases people have been using for decades that will undoubtedly find their way into your resume. According to preply.com, there are at least 20 words people use in their resumes that can be classified as overused. We’ll give you alternatives to these worn-out words with lists of synonyms, power words, and action verbs for resumes.
Think of these words as a way to distinguish yourself from other applicants, not to exaggerate or mislead. Also, be sure you’re using them in a way that translates well. If it doesn’t sound right, try another synonym. Now, let’s take a look at our list of compelling word alternatives.
Every job comes with its own set of responsibilities and hiring managers already know this. Instead of listing out everything you were responsible for, use action words to show how you executed your responsibilities. Don’t leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Make it as easy as possible for them to visualize exactly what you did within your previous roles by illustrating your accomplishments through action verbs. Instead of starting a sentence with “I was responsible for,” try one of these action verbs to lead them in:
Keeping your work life organized is expected of all capable professionals, but it’s still a smart skill to highlight. You want your recruiter to know that you prioritize organization on the job. Consider how you can make your organization skills stand out among the multitude of applications. Punch up this adjective with a bit of creativity by using a similar word:
Considering many companies use the word “training” in day-to-day conversations at work, it’s a good idea to give a fresh take on frequently-used corporate jargon. It’s important for hiring managers to know that you’ve received proper training for the job, but we can find a better word to use. Let’s take a look at some adjectives that still communicate the fact that you’re adequately trained for this new position:
According to the report we mentioned earlier, “proficient” is the fifth most frequently used resume word in the US. If you’ve had this word on your resume since you graduated high school, maybe it’s time to change things up. There are plenty of ways to communicate that you’re good at something specific. Take a look at our list of alternatives below to revamp this worn-out word:
Employers want to know that you will enthusiastically strive toward your goals at work. Making the choice to emphasize the fact that you’re a motivated individual is a great strategy, and we can go one step further by using an even stronger synonym. Consider using one of our alternatives below to describe your unwavering initiative:
“Experienced” is one of those words that easily becomes redundant in a resume. You’re talking at length about your experience after all. This is another opportunity to show how you’re experienced instead of listing off what you’re experienced in. Here’s a list of power words to get you started:
Creativity isn’t just for artists. It can go beyond into the realm of problem solving. Again, the best way to convey your skills is by using your words to demonstrate, giving the reader examples of what it is that you do or have done that is so creative. If you’re looking for other ways to talk about your creativity, consider these similar words:
If you’re a working professional, there’s at least one person you’re collaborating with. Taking up space on your resume to state that you “work well with others” just isn’t worth it. Hiring managers want to see how you work well with others. This should be done by giving solid examples from your past and using more illustrious words. Get started with these power words below:
Someone who is observant and pays attention to the little things is an asset to any team. Having a well-written resume free of typos is a great way to show off this attention to detail, but be sure to provide examples of what it is you do that makes you a detail-oriented person. If you’d like to expand your vocabulary on this skill, consider using the alternatives we’ve listed for you:
If you consider yourself an expert in your field, it’s natural that you would want a potential employer to know this. However, this term has become a bit of a buzzword. Anyone can call themselves an expert these days, so it’s up to you to prove it on your resume. Get specific and identify your level of expertise (intermediate, advanced, etc.), then be prepared to provide real-world examples that give evidence to this. If you’re struggling to find synonyms for “expert,” consider using these words instead: