November 20th, 2008
5 Power Words to Make Your CV Get Noticed

You’ve probably read or heard it before, but it’s worth saying again: Your CV must grab the hiring manager’s attention within the first 10 seconds, or it will likely get tossed.

Want to boost your chance of being called in for an interview?

Use strong action verbs to describe your accomplishments from current and previous roles. Here are five such power words that may intrigue hiring managers. These five should be especially appealing to companies that strive for efficiency and teamwork, two widely sought hallmarks for much of today’s workforce.


Meaning and Context: To coordinate is to combine in harmonious relation or action. Employers like people who have team-building skills since much work is conducted that way. Use “coordinated” if the accomplishment you’re describing was more as a facilitator or manager than of a leader who drove a project and assigned roles to team members.

Example: Coordinated efforts of seven colleagues from four departments to produce critically needed corporate operations manual.

Alternatives to Avoid: Brought together, combined, linked. Employers would rather be looking for someone who can coordinate than someone who can link, combine, or bring together. “Coordinated” speaks directly to that need.


Meaning and Context: Removed or got rid of, such as high costs, inefficient labor, or non-essential steps in a process. All organizations share this one goal when it comes to how they operate: How can we do things faster, better, and cheaper? If you removed some barrier to help an employer reach that goal, “eliminated” is a strong word to describe it.

Example: Eliminated three unnecessary steps in a project approval process, helping accelerate deployment schedules for three new applications to 2,500 end users.

Alternatives to Avoid: Cut, omitted, got rid of, killed, disposed of.  Like coordinated, “eliminated” resonates better with just about any employer since it can cover nearly everything in the workplace that carries a cost, from process steps to positions.


Meaning and Context: Someone who motivates, compels, or inspires others to do something. For instance, a manager can motivate an employee to take on a thankless or mundane task, if just to win the manager’s admiration or recognition. In a financial context, that’s what bonus pay is for. If you’ve managed or led anything from a project to a corporation, you can probably identify with this. Many employers looking for managers or leaders will likely notice this word on your resume.

Example: Motivated a team of six IT support professionals to increase face time with end users, helping increase user satisfaction 25% within one year.

Alternatives to Avoid: Moved, led, pushed, provoked, incited. The first three are just weak. The other two carry more negative connotations, such as “provoked anger” or “incited a riot.”


Meaning and Context: Made something easier to understand or execute, especially a process that saved money or enhanced a customer’s experience.

Example: Simplified the user interface so customers could log into their accounts and review account information easier, resulting in a 15% increase in customer satisfaction within six months.

Alternatives to Avoid: Reduced, shortened. These two really aren’t bad; they just don’t carry the impact that a word such as “simplify” carries.


Meaning and Context: Targeted could mean “took aim at” negatives such as costs or redundant processes, or positives such as new sources of revenue.

Example: Targeted a new demographic group to boost sales of a ………, leading to 5% jump in revenue (£4 million to £4.2 million) within one year.

Alternative to Avoid: Designated. It’s a nice word but it just doesn’t make an impact.

Choosing action verbs that generate powerful images in the mind’s eye is a key ingredient in a truly impressive CV that will grab the reader’s attention. Use them to help make your accomplishments stand out.

Got some words you like to use on your CV?  Please let us know

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

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