December 17, 2007

Power up your resume with "power phrases"!

Feel like you resume could use an extra boost? Unsure of where to add some extra oomph?

Well then, maybe it’s time to look at adding a few key phrases that’ll really spice up your resume. I usually refer to these as “power phrases” because they pack a lot of punch and most employers agree they are truly eye-catching.

But where can you use them? Well, if you have work experience, you can customize a power phrase to highlight one or two key job duties you had that you think really stand out. Or, if you’ve done a functional resume, they can be used to great effect when providing examples of your broader skills.

So I’ve created a list, which I’ve adapted from Workopolis.com (
http://tinyurl.com/2tvkfc). I’ve taken some of my favourite phrases and changed them to make them easier to use for students and youth.

Each one will be an example that either I or a friend/client have used before. The phrase that is underlined and bolded is the power phrase that you can use and customize based on your own skills and experiences.

And so, here is the list:

Acted as liaison between the classified ads department and real estate agents advertising homes in York region


Assigned a territory consisting of downtown and mid-town Toronto and exceeded all weekly sales targets

Accounted for all audio-visual equipment requests and rentals

Promoted to staff team leader after successfully completing 25 hours of in-house training

Instrumental in persuading the East Toronto Chamber of Commerce to donate more than $500 to East York Hospital’s 2007 fundraising campaign

Recipient of a York University entrance award, which totalled more than $5,000

Innovation resulted in cost-efficient file management policies, which were introduced to all Toronto locations within 6 months

Honoured as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 for extensive volunteerism with a number of non-profit organizations advocating for social justice

Recommendations accepted by the vice-president of communications after completing a report comparing the services and costs of all Toronto-area graphic design firms

Adept at handing multiple projects in a pressure-filled, time-sensitive environment

Assisted with nightly closing duties, including cash counts and bank deposits

Took charge of recruiting and training all volunteers for East York Hospital’s 2007 Holiday Gala

Proven track record in assisting clients of various ages with their yearly income tax returns

More than 5 years of experience in providing exceptional customer service – for this one, change the number to whatever works for you

Successfully met all weekly and monthly sales goals and targets

Experienced in all facets of recording and analyzing scientific data

Thorough knowledge of the Employment Standards Act and occupational health and safety guidelines


Extensive training in alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration

Extensive involvement in various grassroots environmental initiatives, including the East Toronto Recycling Club and BikeToWork.org

Specialized in public relations for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies while studying at Centennial College

Proficient in Windows 98/2000/NT/XP/Vista, MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Outlook), Adobe Photoshop, and Go Live!

Served as the stage director for Willowdale Height’s modern-day interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

In charge of recording and analyzing employment trends in East York

Familiar with the CBC’s Journalistic Code and CP’s style guide

Assigned to manage personnel files of previous employees and ensure that all required documentation was accounted for

Ultimately, remember that you want your resume to pack a lot of punch – it’ll make it more interesting. And when it’s more interesting, it’s more noticeable. And when it is more noticeable, you’re more likely to get the job – and that’s what it’s all about!

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