What are power verbs?

Power verbs are action words that have positive meanings in English. When you use a power verb, you can communicate your message more strongly and confidently than when using other verbs. This is especially useful when you are applying for a job and want to appear as a confident and competent candidate. Power verbs can also make your writing more interesting and help prevent you from using the same words too many times.

The following sentences are examples from the Work Experience section of a resume. Notice the differences between the sentences.

Made new software for ABC Company. Made is a weaker verb.
Developed new software for ABC Company. Developed is a power verb. You sound more confident and interesting using ‘developed’.

Where can I use power verbs?

Power verbs are useful in many situations. They are especially great for resumes, job interviews, and academic writing like essays.

Before you use a power verb…

  • Make sure you understand the exact meaning of the power verb you are going to use. You don’t want to make a mistake with the word, especially on a resume.
  • Look the word up in a dictionary, search the internet for examples of sentences where it has been used, and if possible, find someone to check your sentence to make sure that you’ve used it correctly.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the word before you use it.

Weak verbs to avoid: ☹

Here is a list of verbs you should avoid on your resume where possible:

  • did
  • make
  • use
  • get
  • look
  • take
  • keep
  • have
  • said
  • told
  • talk
  • change
  • start
  • finish

GENERAL POWER VERB LIST

Here are some better alternatives to common weak words.

Weak Word: DID

  • act
  • activate
  • administer
  • apply
  • arrange
  • carry out
  • conduct
  • execute
  • facilitate
  • handle
  • perform

Weak Word: MAKE

  • assemble
  • compose
  • create
  • design
  • develop
  • devise
  • engineer
  • establish
  • fashion
  • formulate
  • generate
  • produce
  • synthesize

Weak Word: FIX

  • alleviate
  • amended
  • debugged
  • detected
  • diagnosed
  • investigated
  • remedied
  • repaired
  • revitalized
  • solved
  • synthesized
  • streamline

Weak Word: SHOW

  • demonstrate
  • depict
  • describe
  • exhibit
  • highlight
  • illustrate
  • portray
  • represent

Weak Words: TALK, SPEAK, WRITE, COMMUNICATE

  • addressed
  • advocate
  • briefed
  • communicate
  • composed
  • convince
  • consulted
  • collaborate
  • correspond
  • disseminate
  • edited
  • educated
  • explained
  • highlight
  • inform
  • instruct
  • interact
  • negotiate
  • present
  • publicize
  • report
  • specify
  • verify
  • welcome

Weak Word: KEEP

  • ensure
  • maintain
  • strengthen

Weak Word: USE

  • operate

Weak Word: GET

  • achieve
  • obtain
  • procure

Weak Word: CHANGE, MAKE SOMETHING BETTER, GET RESULTS

  • accelerate
  • accomplish
  • achieve
  • alter
  • award
  • attain
  • convert
  • decrease
  • eliminate
  • expand
  • excel
  • generate
  • heighten
  • improve
  • increase
  • minimize
  • maximize
  • receive
  • recognize for (passive verb = “is/was recognized for”)
  • reduce
  • transform

Weak Word: HELP

  • aid
  • assist
  • bolster
  • enhance
  • enrich
  • help
  • provide

Weak Word: ADD

  • compile
  • strengthen

Weak Word: START

  • initiate

POWER VERBS FOR SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

Here are some power verbs we often use when talking about our experience in certain jobs and industries. This is not a complete list of power verbs. I have covered some of the most common power verbs in the list below, but there are many more. Please note that the same power verbs can be used for many different jobs, so if you see a power verb in one job category such as medicine, it may also apply to a different job too.

Customer Service, Tourism, Hospitality, Retail Store

  • accommodate
  • address
  • advertise
  • advise
  • aid
  • anticipate
  • answer
  • assist
  • assure
  • clarify
  • communicate
  • distribute
  • document
  • exhibit
  • explain
  • handle
  • help
  • interact
  • listen
  • promote
  • resolve
  • support
  • target
  • translate
  • welcome

Law & Legal Professions

  • advocate
  • amend
  • analyze
  • arbitrated
  • extracted
  • interviewed
  • investigate
  • lobby
  • mediate
  • negotiate
  • represent
  • specify

Leader & Management

  • allocate
  • approve
  • assess
  • assign
  • authorize
  • chair
  • consolidate
  • convince
  • coordinate
  • delegate
  • direct
  • encourage
  • enforce
  • guide
  • head
  • hire
  • lead
  • manage
  • monitor
  • orchestrate
  • oversee
  • recommend
  • resolve
  • run
  • supervise
  • spearhead

Business, Finance, Accounting

  • account for
  • anticipate
  • appraise
  • assess
  • audit
  • bargain
  • budget
  • demonstrate
  • distribute
  • estimate
  • evaluate
  • finance
  • forecast
  • fundraise
  • identify
  • implement
  • inventory
  • market
  • measure
  • negotiate
  • project
  • provide
  • purchase
  • record
  • report
  • streamline
  • tabulate
  • target
  • total

Public Sector & Government

  • accommodate
  • advise
  • allocate
  • appoint
  • authorize
  • budget
  • commission
  • consult
  • estimate
  • evaluate
  • finance
  • identify
  • implement
  • institute
  • issue
  • officiate
  • promote
  • negotiate
  • regulate
  • represent
  • sanction
  • specify

Administrative, Clerical, Receptionist, Secretary

  • administer
  • answer
  • aide
  • assist
  • arrange
  • balance
  • catalog
  • categorize
  • classify
  • collect
  • coordinate
  • distribute
  • edit
  • file
  • format
  • handle
  • issue
  • order
  • organize
  • prepare
  • record
  • retrieve
  • report
  • schedule

Teaching & Advising

  • assist
  • coach
  • encourage
  • evaluate
  • foster
  • educated
  • empower
  • encourage
  • explained
  • guide
  • highlight
  • inform
  • instruct
  • prepare
  • present
  • promote
  • supplement
  • taught

Researcher, Scientist, Academic

  • acquire
  • analyze
  • classify
  • collaborate
  • collect
  • compile
  • conduct
  • consult
  • discover
  • examine
  • formulate
  • identify
  • interpret
  • interview
  • lecture
  • measure
  • publish
  • review
  • share
  • study
  • uncover

IT, Computers, Tech

  • brainstorm
  • collaborate
  • compile
  • compute
  • consult
  • convert
  • debugged
  • detect
  • determine
  • develop
  • fix
  • format
  • identify
  • implement
  • innovate
  • launch
  • program
  • retrieve
  • track
  • transmit
  • verify

Medicine

  • advise
  • care
  • collaborate
  • counsel
  • detect
  • determine
  • diagnose
  • dispense
  • identify
  • provide
  • rehabilitate
  • treat

Engineer

  • assess
  • collaborate
  • construct
  • convert
  • develop
  • draft
  • draw
  • engineer
  • implement
  • innovate
  • regulate

Machine Operator

  • inspect
  • install
  • manufacture
  • operate
  • prepare
  • repair
engVid quiz
Quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
Which of the following is a power verb?

We should not use power verbs on our resume. True or false?

Which of the following is a power verb that means "helped"?

Which of the following is a power verb for "talked" or "spoke"?

Which of the following is a power verb for "made something better"?

A manager is a leader. Which power verb does not mean "lead"?

A factory worker may use a machine. Which power verb means "use"?

"Make" is a great power verb. True or false?

Which power verb can I use instead of "did"?

If you don't know exactly how to use a specific power verb, you should still use it. It's okay on a resume to make mistakes with power verbs.

Is this statement true or false?


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