StandOut Words

Use power-play verbs to communicate your abilities and accomplishments. A punch-zip delivery keeps these achievement-oriented verbs campaigning for you. The important thing to do is to choose words of substance and power that zero in on your abilities and achievements.

Try not to use the same word twice on your resume - the thesaurus in a word-processing program can give you more possibilities.

Take a look at the StandOut words that follow and check off those words that work for you:

StandOut words for administration and management

advised
approved
authorized
chaired
consolidated
counseled
delegated
determined
developed
diagnosed
directed
disseminated
enforced
ensured
examined
explained
governed
guided
headed
influenced

initiated
inspired
installed
instituted
instructed
integrated
launched
lectured
listened
managed
mediated
mentored
moderated
monitored
motivated
negotiated
originated
oversaw
pioneered
presided

prioritized
processed
promoted
recommended
redirected
referred
reorganized
represented
responded
reviewed
routed
sponsored
streamlined
strengthened
supervised
taught
trained
validated

StandOut words for communications and creativity

acted
addressed
arranged
assessed
authored
briefed
built
clarified
composed
conducted
constructed
corresponded
costumed
created
critiqued
demonstrated
designed
developed
directed

edited
enabled
facilitated
fashioned
formulated
influenced
initiated
interpreted
interviewed
introduced
invented
launched
lectured
modernized
performed
planned
presented
produced
projected

proofread
publicized
published
realized
reconciled
recruited
rectified
remodeled
reported
revitalized
scheduled
screened
shaped
stimulated
summarized
taught
trained
translated
wrote

StandOut words for sales and persuasion

arbitrated
catalogued
centralized
consulted
dissuaded
documented
educated
established
expedited
familiarized
identified
implemented
improved
increased
influenced
inspired
installed
integrated
interpreted
investigated

judged
launched
lectured
led
liaised
maintained
manipulated
marketed
mediated
moderated
negotiated
obtained
ordered
performed
planned
processed
produced.
promoted
proposed
publicized

purchased
realized
recruited
reduced
reported
researched
resolved
restored
reviewed
routed
saved
served
set goals
sold
solved
stimulated
summarized
surveyed
translated

StandOut words for technical ability

analyzed
broadened
charted
classified
communicated
compiled
computed
conceived
conducted
coordinated
designed
detected
developed
devised
drafted
edited
educated
eliminated
excelled
expanded

expedited
fabricated
facilitated
forecast
formed
generated
improved
increased
inspected
installed
instituted
integrated
interfaced
launched
lectured
maintained
marketed
mastered
modified
molded

operated
packaged
pioneered
prepared
processed
programmed
published
reconstructed
reduced
researched
restored
revamped
streamlined
supplemented
surveyed
systematized
trained
upgraded
wrote

StandOut words for office support

adhered
administered
allocated
applied
appropriated
assisted
assured
attained
awarded
balanced
budgeted
built
charted
completed
contributed
coordinated
cut
defined
determined
dispensed

distributed
documented
drafted
enacted
enlarged
evaluated
examined
executed
followed up
formalized
formulated
hired
identified
implemented
improved
installed
instituted
justified
liaised
maintained

managed
operated
ordered
organized
packaged
planned
prepared
prescribed
processed
provided
recorded
repaired
reshaped
resolved
scheduled
screened
secured
solved
started

StandOut words for teaching

acquainted
adapted
advised
answered
apprised
augmented
briefed
built
certified
chaired
charted
clarified
coached
collaborated
communicated
conducted
coordinated
delegated
delivered
demonstrated

designed
developed
directed
dispensed
distributed
educated
effected
empowered
enabled
enacted
enlarged
expanded
facilitated
fomented
formulated
generated
grouped
guided
harmonized
implemented

influenced
informed
initiated
innovated
installed
instituted
instructed
integrated
lectured
listened
originated
persuaded
presented
responded
revolutionized
set goals
stimulated
summarized
trained
translated

StandOut words for research and analysis

administered
amplified
analyzed
applied
articulated
assessed
audited
augmented
balanced
calculated
charted
collected
compared
compiled
composed
concentrated
conducted
constructed
consulted
critiqued

detected
determined
discovered
documented
drafted
edited
evaluated
examined
exhibited
experimented
explored
extracted
focused
forecast
found
grouped
identified
integrated
interpreted
interviewed

invented
investigated
located
measured
obtained
organized
pinpointed
planned
prepared
processed
proofread
researched
reviewed
riveted
screened
summarized
surveyed
systematized
unearthed

StandOut words for helping and caregiving

advanced
advised
aided
arbitrated
assisted
attended
augmented
backed
balanced
boosted
braced
clarified
collaborated
comforted
consoled
consulted
contributed
counseled
demonstrated
diagnosed

encouraged
expedited
facilitated
familiarized
fostered
furthered
guided
helped
instilled
liaised
mentored
ministered
negotiated
nourished
nursed
nurtured
obliged
optimized
promoted
provided

reassured
reclaimed
rectified
redeemed
reeducated
referred
reformed
rehabilitated
repaired
represented
served
settled
stabilized
streamlined
supplied
supported
translated
treated
tutored
unified

StandOut words for financial management

adjusted
administered
allocated
analyzed
appraised
audited
balanced
bought
budgeted
calculated
computed
conciliated
cut
decreased
developed
disbursed
dispensed
distributed
doubled
downsized

economized
eliminated
exceeded
financed
forecast
funded
gained
generated
increased
invested
maintained
managed
marketed
merchandised
planned
projected
purchased
quadrupled
reconciled
reduced

reported
researched
reshaped
retailed
saved
secured
shopped
sold
solicited
sourced
specified
supplemented
systematized
tested
tripled
underwrote
upgraded
upsized
vended

StandOut words for many skills

accomplished
achieved
adapted
adhered
allocated
appraised
arbitrated
arranged
articulated
assured
augmented
collected
communicated
composed
conceptualized
conserved
contributed
coordinated
demonstrated
dispensed

evaluated
executed
facilitated
forecast
founded
governed
guided
illustrated
improved
increased
initiated
integrated
interpreted
invented
launched
led
navigated
optimized
organized
originated

overhauled
performed
prioritized
promoted
proposed
reconciled
rectified
remodeled
repaired
reshaped
retrieved
solved
stimulated
streamlined
strengthened
trained
upgraded
validated
won

     

*The last word on StandOut words: Little words never devalued a big idea.

Keywords Are Key to Finding You

Recruiters and employers use keywords to search and retrieve e-resumes in databases for available positions. Keywords are chiefly nouns and short phrases. That's your take-home message. But once in a while, keywords can be adjectives and action verbs. Employers choose their own list of keywords - that's why no list is universal.

In computerized job searches, keywords describe not only your knowledge base and skills but also such things as well-known companies, big name colleges and universities, degrees, licensure, and professional affiliations.

Keywords identify your experience and education in these categories:

  • Skills
  • Technical and professional areas of expertise Achievements
  • Professional licenses and certifications
  • Other distinguishing features of your work history
  • Prestigious schools or former employers

Employers identify keywords, often including industry jargon, that they think represent essential qualifications necessary for high performance in a given position. They specify those keywords when they search a resume database.

"Keywords are what employers search for when trying to fill a position: the essential hard skills and knowledge needed to do the job," is how systems and staffing consultant James M. Lemke classifies the words that describe your bundle of qualifications.

Rather than stopping with action verbs, connect your achievements. You managed what? You organized what? You developed what? Job computers look for the "whats," and the "whats" are usually nouns.

Having said that, never say never. Employers scanning for management and administrative positions may search for verbs and adjectives that define soft skills - "assisted general manager," "outgoing personality," "self-motivated." But job computers normally prefer a hard skills diet.
If your resume has the sought-after keywords, the employer zooms you into focus; if not, you're overlooked for that particular job.

Examples of keywords

Obviously, keywords are arbitrary and specific to the employer and to each search-and-retrieve action that the employer wants done. The following lists provide a few examples of keywords for selected career fields and industries.

Keywords for administration / management

administrative processes
bachelor's degree
back office operations
benchmarking
budget administration
change management

crisis communications
data analysis
document management
facilities management
front office operations
office manager
operations manager

policy and procedure
production schedule
project planning
records management
regulatory reporting

Keywords for banking

branch manager
branch operations
commercial banking
construction loans
credit guidelines
debt financing
Filing workout
FILO (First In, Last Out)

financial management
investment management
investor relations
loan management
recovery portfolio management

retail lending
ROE (Return On Equity)
trust services
turnaround management
Uniform Commercial Code

Keywords for customer service

account representative
call center
customer communications
customer focus groups
customer loyalty
customer needs assessment
customer retention

customer retention innovations
customer service manager
customer surveys
field service operation
key account manager
operations telemarketing
order fulfillment

order processing
product response clerk
records management
representative
sales administration
sales support administrator
service quality telemarketing

Keywords for information technology

automated voice response (AVR)

chief information officer
client/server architecture
network development analyst

project lifecycle
cross-functional team
data center manager
director of end user computing
systems configuration

systems support help desk
disaster recovery
end user support global
multimedia technology
technology rightsizing
vendor partnerships

Keywords for manufacturing

asset management
assistant operations manager
automated manufacturing
capacity planning
cell manufacturing
cost reductions
distribution management

environmental health and safety
inventory control
just-in-time (JIT)
logistics manager
manufacturing engineer
materials coordinator on-time delivery

shipping and receiving operation
spares and repairs management
union negotiations
warehousing operations
workflow optimization

Keywords for human resources

Bachelor of Science,
Business Administration (BSBA)
college recruitment
compensation surveys
cross-cultural communications
diversity training

grievance proceedings
job task analysis
labor contract negotiations
leadership development
organizational development
recruiter
regulatory affairs

sourcing
staffing
succession planning
team leadership
training specialist
wage and salary administration

     

*Key words are the magnets that draw nonhuman eyes to your talents.

Where to Find Keywords

How can you find keywords for your occupation or career field? Use a highlighter to pluck keywords from these resources:

  • Printed and online help-wanted ads: Highlight the job skills, competencies, experience, education and other nouns that employers ask for
  • Job descriptions: Ask employers for them, check at libraries for books or software with job descriptions, or search online. To find them online, just enter the term "job descriptions" on a search engine, such as Google
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook and Dictionary of Occupational Titles (both published by the U.S. Department of Labor) Both books are at schools and libraries; the Handbook is available online at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website
  • Your core resume: Look through to highlight nouns that identify job skills, competencies, experience, and education
  • Trade magazine news stories: Text about your career field or occupation should be ripe with keywords
  • Annual reports of companies in your field: The company descriptions of key personnel and departmental achievements should offer strong keyword clues
  • Programs for industry conferences and events: Speaker topics address current industry issues, a rich source of keywords
  • Internet search engine: Plug in a targeted company's name and search the site that comes up. Look closely at the careers portal and read current press releases
  • 1500 Key Words for $100,000+ Jobs, by Wendy Enelow, Impact Publications
  • You can also use Internet search engines to scout out industry-specific directories, glossaries, and dictionaries

Just as you should keep your resume up to date, ready to move in a flash if you must, you should also keep a running log of keywords that can help you reconnect to a new job on a moment's notice.

Mining for keywords in job descriptions

The excerpts below of two job descriptions posted on Business.com (business.com; search on job descriptions) illustrate how you can find keywords almost everywhere. In these examples, the keywords are underscored.

Auto Dismantler:   Budget Assistant:

Knowledge of proper operation of lifts, fork-lifts, torches, power wrenches etc.

Knowledge of warehouse, core, and stack locations.

Skill to move vehicles without damaging vehicle, other vehicles or personnel.

Skill to remove body and mechanical parts without damage to part, self, or others.

Ability to read a Dismantler report and assess stock levels.

Ability to accurately. Assess condition of parts to be inventoried.

 

Reviews Monthly expense statements, monitors monthly expenditures, and gathers supporting documentation for supervisor review and approval.

Performs basic arithmetic operations to calculate and/or verify expense. totals and account balances.

Operates computer to enter data into spreadsheet and/or database. Types routine correspondence and reports.

Operates office equipment such as photocopier; fax machine, and calculator

 

Get a Grip on Grammar

Resume language differs from normal speech in several ways described here. In general, keep the language tight and the tone professional, avoiding the following:

First-person pronouns (I, we):

Your name is at the top of each resume page, so the recruiter knows it's about you. Eliminate first-person pronouns. Also, don't use third-person pronouns (he, she) when referring to yourself - the narrative technique makes you seem pompous. Simply start with a verb.

Articles (the, a, an):

Articles crowd sentences and don't clarify meaning. Substitute retrained staff for retrained the staff.

Helping verbs (have, had, may, might):

Helping verbs weaken claims and credibility - implying that your time has passed and portraying you as a job-hunting weakling. Say managed instead of have managed.

"Being" verbs (am, is, are, was, were):

Being verbs suggest a state of existence rather than a state of motion. Try monitored requisitions instead of requisitions were monitored. The active voice gives a stronger, more confident delivery.

Shifts in tense:

Use the present tense for a job you're still in and the past tense for jobs you've left. But, among the jobs you've left, don't switch back and forth between tenses. Another big mistake: Dating a job as though you're still employed (2000-Present) and then describing it in the past tense.

Complex sentences:

Unless you keep your sentences lean and clean, readers won't take time to decipher them. Process this mind-stumper:

Reduced hospital costs by 67% by creating a patient-independence program, where they make their own beds, and as noted by hospital finance department, costs of nails and wood totaled $300 less per patient than work hours of maintenance staff.

Eliminate complex sentences by dividing ideas into sentences of their own and getting rid of extraneous details:

Reduced hospital costs by 67%. Originated patient independence program that decreased per-patient expense by $300 each.

Overwriting:

Use your own voice; don't say expeditious when you want to say swift.

Abbreviations:

Abbreviations are informal and not universal - even when they're career-specific. Use Internet instead of Net.
The exception is industry jargon - use it, especially in digital resumes. Knowledge and use of industry jargon adds to your credibility to be able to correctly and casually use terms common to the industry in which you're seeking employment.

Adopt a trick that writers of television commercials use to be sure that they give the most information in the fewest words: Set yourself an arbitrary limit of words to express a unit of information. For example, allow yourself 25 words to explain one of your former jobs. The 25 word limit guarantees that you'll write with robust language.

Remember, when your words speak for you, you need to be sure to use words that everyone can understand and that relate to the job at hand.