5 Phrases That Instantly Make a Resume Stand Out in This Competitive Market, According to Recruiters

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July 13, 2024 at 2:18AM UTC
It can feel difficult to stand out in the crowd of unemployed people in the U.S., even if only a few of them are vying for the same job as you. What should you put on your application to land a job A.S.A.P? Since the resume is the first thing most employers see of your application, we asked recruiters what words or phrases instantly make a resume stand out. This is what they said. 

1. Phrases that demonstrate impacts to the bottom-line.

Matthew Warzel, President of resume writing firm MJW Careers, LLC, has over 15 years of recruitment, coaching and resume writing experience. His tip for making your resume stand out is to demonstrate the concrete value you offer to your potential employer. 
"I think it's important that the candidate demonstrates impacts to the bottom-line under their experience section," he said. 
Warzel shared a list of words and phrases that accomplish this, including: 
  • Cutting costs
  • Achieving cost-savings
  • Saving time
  • Maximizing profitability
  • Optimizing productivity
  • Automating workflow
  • Improving throughput
  • Reducing waste
  • Implementing process improvements
  • Expediting time-to-market
  • Increasing capacity
  • Gaining stakeholder buy-in
  • Integrating processes
  • Securing ROI

2. Phrases that state accolades.

Another way to make your resume shine? Ilysa Raphael, Vice President and Senior Talent Acquisition Leader at Power Home Remodeling, suggests establishing a pattern of success by using phrases that put your accolades on display.
"Don’t be afraid to boast about your achievements... Reading phrases like 'recognized by…' or 'awarded the…' on a resume are extremely eye-catching and sets one candidate apart from the other," she said. 

3. Strong action verbs.

For Amy Hyde, Director of Operations at Outspoken Media, an instantly impressive resume is all about action verbs. 
"Whether I'm working on my own resume or building a talent pool for open requisitions, I look for and use strong action verbs like 'designed,' 'advised,' 'improved,' 'established,'" she said. "Candidates who use power phrases with specific examples in their resume make it to the next phase in our recruiting process."

4. Phrases that quickly communicate a drive to improve the organization. 

Sometimes, according to the hiring officials I spoke with, standing out can be as simple as using a single word. Andrew Jezic, Founding Partner at the Law Offices of Jezic & Moyse, looks for a quick indication that an employee will be high impact and work to improve the organization. 
"The phrases 'improved' and 'increased' stand out to me on a resume. These phrases indicate that a potential employee has proven examples of success on their resume and it is likely that they can help your company improve," he shared. 

5. Phrases that match the job description.

A few recruiters made the argument that standing out to the ATS is much more important than standing out to a recruiter. Be sure to use any keywords you see in a job description on your resume to ensure getting past the first (cyber) step of the job application process. If you're looking for a quick way to appeal to several job descriptions with one document,  Iryna Plotytsia, CEO at a technical recruiting services firm Business Care Agency, has some advice. 
She advises: "Read 10 job posts that you'll apply for, copy the text into a document, highlight the common patterns, keywords and phrases and apply them to your CV where possible."

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