Keywords have made such a strong impression on the way Americans write resumes. In fact, selecting the right terms for a job application can mean the difference between making it past an Applicant Tracking System to a hiring manager and losing out to competitors.  “Power words” are terms that stand out to recruiters and employers to choose possible hires over those who may not be as qualified for the position. Put simply, just a few words can change your success in the job market.

The Problem with Resume Keywords

Recently, Business Insider released an article showing top “power words” that according to ZipRecruiter can increase your hirability by significant margins. While some of these power words, such as “leadership” and “management” are likely to remain important for years to come, we caution job seekers against simply copying and pasting these terms to achieve success.

Resume keywords, particularly the power words that stand out, change all the time. Those who utilize power words that are relevant today may find that in a few years’ they will seem outdated on a resume. While it is important to use these power terms, it is not a good idea to “stuff” them into your resume—recruiters may see that as a red flag of desperation.

What Makes a Power Word?

Although Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic, Inc. is a strong proponent of using powerful words on your resume, the most important thing is to make sure these words really do stand out. In addition, these terms must relate to your work history and the position you are applying for. So instead of handing out a list of power words for you to refer to whenever you craft a resume, it may be better to learn how to identify what actually makes a term so powerful.

  • Relevancy

When job seekers take time to craft a resume, but continue to send the same version out to employers, there is a risk that the document may not really meet the needs of a specific position. Just like it is never a good idea to send out a formulaic cover letter, you should always consider ways to customize a resume for a job application.

If you are using a strong term, such as “business leader” or “sales-driven,” it is important to make sure you have the proof to back up those claims; interviewers will definitely want to see it. In the same way, make sure these terms actually correlate to the job you are applying for. For instance, leadership terminology may not always play well for those looking to fill an entry-level role.

  • Implication

A great power word is one that packs a punch and implies a wide range of skills without you having to detail every specific skill. The Business Insider piece quotes ZipRecruiter, “…we found that words that implied management skills (not necessarily as a manager: time management is an example of a management skill everyone needs to have), a proactive stance towards working (‘responsible,’ ‘support,’ and ‘client’; speak to that) and problem solving skills (‘data,’ ‘analysis,’ and ‘operation’) were the most highly rated.”

Language can be very powerful and suggest more than what meets the eye. As such, it can really help to use terms that imply your potential success to fulfill whatever role you are applying for. Don’t be afraid to vary up your terms.

  • Adaptability

On a resume, it always helps to have specifics to demonstrate certain instances of success throughout your career. However, when you are looking for certain power words to put in your resume, you want to make sure that they carry a sense of versatility.

For example, Business Insider notes that words connected to “team” can carry great power. While team management, teamwork or team development may not really seem like specific core competencies, they help reveal one’s ability to work with others in a productive, balanced fashion. This flexibility can appeal to employers for many reasons; namely, because it suggests that no matter how your role may change, these skills will continue to apply throughout your development at a company.

Tongue-Tied? Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic Can Help You Find Your Power Words

As we noted, it is not necessarily a good idea to just pick and choose strong resume keywords from a list. However, if you are still searching for the right words to make your resume shine, it can help to turn to a professional resume writing service.

Our resume writers are constantly staying current with what terms are creating waves in the job market, and are able to choose the right words to fit your experience and goals. To start exploring your career experience in order to craft a smoother, more powerful resume, contact our team today at (803) 831-7444 or resumewriting@grammarchic.net