100 Power Words to Build Your Resume

Fast Resume-Building Tips for Creating an Effective Chronological Resume Outline and Document

Writing a resume can seem like trying to learn a foreign language. What should you include in your resume, and how should you put it together? Your chronological resume will follow this basic fast resume outline:

  • Header
  • Position Target / Job Title
  • Keyword block
  • Work History
  • Education


Jump in with a Fast Resume Start!

To begin building your actual resume, open up a word processing file, and enter in the information you’ve already decided upon, including your resume header information, your position target or title, and keywords that relate to your target position.


Expand Your Work Experience Section in Your Resume

As you’ve most likely seen in other chronological resumes, this format typically includes a description of the responsibilities held in each position. Sometimes chronological resumes also include information about the employer, and in some cases, details of your accomplishments on the job. The following process will show you how to add these valuable details to your resume work history listings:

Begin with your most recent position, and jot down a few notes about what the company did, as well as your responsibilities, tasks, and any accomplishments. To develop a sentence or two about the description of the company for your resume, fill in some basic information based on what you know about them. Or, if you want to get more formal, pull up their web page or enter the company name on a search engine to find a few sentences describing the organization.

Here’s a sample sentence to get you going:

“This organization developed / sold / provided support for X, Y, and Z.”

If you want, you can add in some additional details, such as annual revenues, a specific department you worked in, and so on. But basically, one or two sentences about the company will be sufficient. As you add details to your own work history section, these resources may be helpful to you:

Your job description. Do you (or the company’s HR department) have a document detailing your position? That description may provide you some verbiage that may help put together some fast resume statements.

Job descriptions off of a job search web site. Job descriptions found on the Internet can be an excellent resource to help you create position description statements for your resume. Find a few that describe the work you performed, and then modify them to make them accurate for you. Along this same line, check out www.acinet.org for comprehensive descriptions of many occupations.

The following “Sentence Starter” table is a listing of several action verbs helpful for beginning and writing your resume job description statements:

  • Achieved
  • Administered
  • Arranged
  • Analyzed
  • Assessed
  • Attained
  • Advised
  • Assembled
  • Appraised
  • Authored
  • Budgeted
  • Built
  • Calculated
  • Consulted
  • Contributed
  • Coached
  • Coordinated
  • Counseled
  • Collected
  • Conceived
  • Contracted
  • Decided
  • Defined
  • Detailed
  • Developed
  • Distributed
  • Diagnosed
  • Drafted
  • Delivered
  • Evaluated
  • Examined
  • Encouraged
  • Eliminated
  • Excelled
  • Expanded
  • Estimated
  • Formulated
  • Formed
  • Facilitated
  • Founded
  • Generated
  • Guided
  • Gathered
  • Gained
  • Handled
  • Helped
  • Implemented
  • Improved
  • Investigated
  • Introduced
  • Investigated
  • Installed
  • Launched
  • Liaison
  • Maintained
  • Mastered
  • Motivated
  • Managed
  • Mentored
  • Monitored
  • Negotiated
  • Participated
  • Performed
  • Problem solved
  • Persuaded
  • Promoted
  • Purchased
  • Planned
  • Programmed
  • Recruited
  • Revitalized
  • Referred
  • Reviewed
  • Researched
  • Repaired
  • Remodeled
  • Reported
  • Recommended
  • Recruited
  • Searched
  • Scheduled
  • Sold
  • Simplified
  • Structured
  • Surveyed
  • Screened
  • Supervised
  • Summarized
  • Translated
  • Transformed
  • Tailored
  • Trained
  • Tested
  • Upgraded
  • Validated
  • Verified
  • Visualized
  • Verbalized
  • Volunteered
  • Wrote

Once you’ve written a few bullets (somewhere between three to five statements is usually enough) describing the key aspects of your position, call it “good enough!” Then move on to your next most recent position in your work history, following the same process to develop an expanded job description for your resume. Repeat this process until you’ve filled in details for as many positions as you’re choosing to include on your resume.

Tip: Be careful to not get caught in, “paralysis by analysis”—a situation where you keep rewording your work experience descriptions, trying to make them perfect, and wind up getting stuck in your resume development process!

Excerpted and adapted from “Career Coward’s Guide to Resumes” by Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.