Sep 3, 2021

Compelling Phrases to Include in a Resume

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Using your “power verbs” to enhance your resume can be a great way to get a hiring manager’s attention.

When applying to a job right out of college or graduate school, one of the most daunting tasks is how to write a resume with powerful, compelling phrases so it can both stand apart from other job seekers as well as satisfy what resume bots look for.

This article will give an overview of what types of phrases (soft skills, technical skills, action skills, communication skills, etc.) to include in a resume as well as how and why to use them.

Why Using Impactful Resume Phrases is Important

As the world comes to the end of 2021, there is a huge gap in the global job market. According to a recent Forbes article, the current job market can be characterized by remote work, expanded applicant pools, and automated resume technology that looks for keywords.

If you are applying for a job and need to write a resume, you will likely be applying, interviewing, and even working online for the extended future. So making your resume stand out with unique phrases and verbs is something you shouldn’t ignore.

Resume Phrases & Verbs Should Match the Job Description

In reading any job description, there are several sections:

  • Company overview
  • Job duties and responsibilities
  • Qualifications
  • Requirements
  • Details

These job descriptions are very often written by human resource professionals and are optimized to use very precise language, phrases, and verbs. 

These job description phrases and verbs must be included in your resume! Be sure to look at what verbs and phrases are used in the job description you’re applying for and use a few of them.

Compelling Resume Phrases to Include in a Resume

There are many different categories of resume phrases and verbs to include in a resume – and we will go through a few of these and explain the business intent for how to use them!

Leadership Resume Phrases

Leadership skills are very important in writing a resume because they highlight how you interact with and inspire coworkers. These interactive or interpersonal skills display your personality, work ethic, and ability to translate meaning.

Using leadership phrases in a resume, therefore, shows hiring managers that you have the necessary soft skills and experience to interface with managers and understand what they want you to do – not to mention, they’re pretty much required if you are applying for a management position yourself.

Examples of leadership skill resume phrases

  • Spearheaded

This is a great resume phrase that shows that you both understood a business issue at your company and took the initiative to plan, organize, and gain buy-in from the necessary people. Being a great leader means recognizing that other people often have different priorities than you – so to accomplish anything, you need to convince them. You also tread into unknown territory.

  • Advocated

When you advocate, you are taking a side on an issue for a certain goal. But advocating isn’t arguing or debating – it means gathering the necessary information and data, engaging the necessary decision-makers, and making your case.

  • Transformed

Transforming yourself or something at your job or university means that you brought about substantial and beneficial change. Transforming is not easy – it takes a lot of planning, analysis, strategy, and perseverance to complete the change. 

  • Delegated

Leadership skills in your resume can’t only be about taking control. Great leaders often know when to delegate tasks to others. No one person can do or understand everything. A leader will understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team as well as him/herself and then use the tools and people at hand to accomplish the task.

  • Focused

A leader who cannot focus on one thing is bound to fail. In your resume, the ability to focus goes hand-in-hand with concrete achievements and completed tasks. Knowing when to zero in on one task versus when to gather more possibilities is a key leadership task.

  • Translated

In any institution, office, or university setting, there will be different people with vastly different skillsets and backgrounds. Some people bring more technical skills and think technically while others bring more soft skills and think qualitatively. Great leaders know how to translate a task’s purpose to all types of work cultures – a dev team might need things explained in a report while salespeople might need it explained face-to-face.

  • Supported

Things go wrong all the time. What do great leaders do when something doesn’t go as expected? They support their subordinates and learn from their mistake. A company wants to receive resumes from managers who know how to support and motivate people.

  • Collaborated

If you’re writing a resume and applying for a job, chances are you’re not looking to be a solo freelancer. That means you will be collaborating both horizontally with your co-workers as well as vertically with your superiors and subordinates. Your resume should show that you know how to give credit and work with others.

Problem-solving Resume Phrases

Another important category of resume phrases is problem-solving skills, which includes words that describe how a person handles a challenge and what steps are undertaken. Examples focus on strategic thinking, analytical skills, action, and technical platforms used.

Basically, you want to show employers that you know how to diagnose, classify, and solve problems. 

Examples of problem-solving skills resume phrases

  • Diagnosed

This is a very powerful resume verb because it is the first step in any good decision. To solve a problem, you must accurately figure out what is wrong.

  • Classified

Jobs and companies want to see that applicants are organized and can correctly break down information. Classifying the different parts of a problem means you are experienced enough in that particular field to assign things to different categories.

  • Analyzed

Analytical skills are in high demand because they are often associated with the highest-paying and most competitive jobs. Analysis doesn’t just apply to problem-solving; it also applies to creating new solutions to future problems.

  • Researched

Research can be either qualitative or quantitative – so this is a resume phrase you definitely want to add. This can be something very technical to something more social.

  • Strategized 

Once a problem is figured out, it’s time to strategize a solution that works, is within budget, and is capable of executing. You don’t have to be a C-level executive to have a strategy. You can definitely talk about how you turned routine job duties into something more impactful and optimal.

Communication, Interpersonal & Diversity Resume Phrases

Communication, interpersonal, and diversity skills are more than a sign of our current times – they have real value in large organizations and institutions because they reduce employee turnover and create a better culture. 

For job applicants fresh out of college or university who have limited work experience, emphasizing communication, interpersonal, and diversity skills help fill in the lack of technical skills and work experience!

Examples of communication, interpersonal, and diversity phrases

  • Recruited

Besides human resources professionals who literally recruit talent, there is a lot of soft skill recruiting going on at jobs. A manager’s decision must be understood by everyone – and those people must be ‘recruited’ to buy into this decision.

  • Teamed with

No one wants a maverick and everyone loves a team player – it makes everyone else’s job easier and doesn’t outshine and take credit where it’s not due. 

  • Interfaced with

You want to show you can interact and communicate with people from vastly different cultural backgrounds. ‘Interface’ was used in the past when talking about inanimate parts – but it’s not become common to use to describe interactions with different departments or stakeholders.

  • Included / Expanded / Revised

Diversity in the modern workplace is all about altering past structures and systems to make things more accessible to others in order to accomplish a business goal. If you want to emphasize diversity, use resume phrases that show how you took an existing framework and changed it for the better.

Are Compelling Resume Phrases Enough?

Job applicants who are not native English speakers have the challenge of not knowing English well enough to use idiomatic expressions. One of the best things any resume writer can do is look at our language rules resources or get professional resume editing services in order to stand apart from the other candidates.


One unique thing about resume writing is that it, by nature, uses straightforward sentences – so be sure to check out our FREE grammar checker as well, as this can be a quick and easy way to revise your resume for each job you apply to.