Power Phrases to Include in Your Resume

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Are you looking for power phrases to include in your resume that will make your resume stand out against the competition? The most powerful phrases can’t be described in words. Powerful words on a resume depend on one primary concept–proof!

Saying You are X, Y, Z Is Meaningless.

You must provide proof! Show HR that you are X, Y and Z. I’ve had many clients who struggle with this. That’s why their resumes are essentially a list of the duties they had on the job. There’s no insight into who they are and how they contribute–how they make a difference.

Start by asking yourself these questions.

Did I receive high scores in any specific areas in performance reviews? Did I receive any awards or recognition for my performance?

Gather this information if it exists. Quotes gathered from performance reviews can become powerful phrases on a resume. It is also very powerful to say, “Earned ‘X’ Person of the Year, 2010 – 2013.

Did I meet any problems on the job?

Describe the problem(s). Describe your strategy for overcoming the problem. Share the results experienced (or if your plans were ignored, what you expected the results to be).

How did I make a difference for my previous employer?

  • Identify anything you did that no one else thought of doing.
  • List assignments or promotions you were given as a reward for doing your job well.
  • Identify skills you pursued in order to do your job more effectively.
  • Share anything you introduced that hadn’t been done before.
  • Record improvements you recommended.
  • Gather financial data that proves the value of what you did if at all possible. Numbers do speak.

[ememeber_protected]This is the type of information you need to build power phrases. One of my favorite power writing strategies is to leverage the challenge, action, result formula. This formula focuses on describing a challenge you faced, your action plan in response and whenever possible the result achieved. It’s great when you can plug numbers in. And numbers don’t have to be linked with dollar signs. That’s not always possible. Employers often don’t tell you this information unless your job is in a number’s based career–sales for example. Don’t let this discourage you. Time is money, so if you reduced the time needed to accomplish something, plug that information into your results.

Writing with Power

When describing the challenge, use verbs that convey action on your part.

  • Discovered
  • Identified
  • Located
  • Uncovered

These verbs demonstrate initiative. Follow your verb with ‘what’ information. For example:

Discovered data entry process duplicated several steps.

When describing your action, use verbs that convey initiative:

  • Proposed
  • Recommended
  • Advised
  • Advocated
  • Urged
  • Warned

Choose the stronger expressions only if the situation fits. It doesn’t with the example below. The company wasn’t in imminent danger.

Proposed software modification which eliminated duplication and allowed consolidation of 3 part-time positions into 1 full-time.

I find that connecting the action with the result using ‘which’ often works very well. I also might write it in this way:

Proposed software modification to eliminate duplication of labor, eliminating need for 1 part-time staff.[/emember_protected]


Make it your primary goal to gather powerful examples of what you have to offer, rather than seeking some magical power phrases to include in your resume. It’s what you prove through examples and action verbs that makes a resume powerful.

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