A power verb is an action described with emphasis that creates greater impact to the reader. It can convert a relatively dull sounding phrase into an impressive one.
You would most likely agree that the statement “by implementing this system, we can accelerate our effort in obtaining the ISO certification” sounds much better than “by doing it, we can move faster towards getting the ISO certification.” Here, implementing, accelerate and obtaining are used in combination to replace doing, move faster and getting respectively, to create a punching and impact-generating statement.
The use of power verbs in your resume (with care and contextually right) can engage the readers, hook them up to read further, and improve the impression made to the prospective employers. After all, an employer has only that much time to glance through and decide the short listing call. Clever use of power verbs implies a good knowledge in articulating your roles, skills and achievements, and that you know how to distinguish yourself apart from others.
Following are some of the power verbs that you can use in your resume:
Formulate refers to an act of creating or planning something that can turn into workable solutions, e.g., mathematical algorithms, sales strategy, troubleshooting methods, solutions to issues, etc. Other than formulate, you can also use other similar power verbs such as conceptualize, devise and prepare (less impressive, but nevertheless still useful). Examples of use:
- Formulate new growth strategy that penetrates new market, increase customer base and ultimately increase the fiscal year profits.
- Formulate and implement solutions of frequent night break-ins that reduce burglary statistics by 77%.
Initiate means to start or begin doing something. For example, as a new HR Manager, you discovered that there is no proper employee handbook documentation. Therefore, you initiate a drafting and development of this document to become an official reference to the employees. Similarly, if someone suggests a new idea and you are appointed to implement this, this verb can be of practical use. Examples:
- Initiate and oversee the establishment of a new sub-division dedicated to manage key user accounts and business clients.
- Initiate the re-engineering of training modules to cater the growing needs of technology-oriented development programs.
No, this does not refer to the engineer as in profession. Rather, it can correctly be used to describe your roles in developing, establishing, documenting, constructing and so on. Incorporation of this term may not necessarily be limited technical-related responsibilities; it is equally suitable for other general roles. Such examples can include the following:
- Engineer the re-organization of the manpower resources by revamping the roles and streamline a new work delegation method.
- Engineer a 20% cost saving of printing material consumption by enforcing and encouraging usage of recycled papers.
Structure refers to, well, structure; something that reflects shape. But the shape does not always have to be tangible (pyramid, square and so on) or referred to physical items. Think of a messy reporting structure of a less organized department. Essentially, by structuring, you arrange, re-arrange, build, develop, form and organize. Examples:
- Structure a close communication channel between users and the support group to minimize the time of reporting.
- Re-structure the Front of Line (FOL) production process that improves the yield by 23% and cut the machine downtime by 36%.
Engage refers to an act of attracting and securing (something, e.g., attention, help, effort etc.). When the employer gets hooked up reading your resume, you successfully engage them for the desired attention. Often, engage involves people and audience but is justly relevant to other resources as well. Example of usages:
- Engage a nationally-accredited education firm to embark on benchmarking study and evaluate the institution’s competitiveness.
- Engage the attention of prospective readers through interactive display on a range of portable devices.