How to Write a Descriptive Phrase about Yourself for Resume/Job Application

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Doug Crawford, Job

how to write a descriptive phrase

The Importance of Having a Resume
Sometimes writing a resume becomes necessary when looking for work. You may not have to write or produce a resume for every job, but many professional careers require you to submit resumes, so it’s always a good idea to have one handy. You want to make sure your resume is updated and current. Contact information, work experience, education history, and job-related skills represent pretty common highlights found on resumes. Having one drawn up before you begin submitting applications, or even looking for work, may cut out a lot of unneeded stress from your life.

One thing to keep in mind when creating a resume is that many companies are now asking for what are called “descriptive phrases.” The descriptive phrases were once are sometimes referred to as objective statements that sit at the head of your resume below your contact information. The statement is broad but gives a brief overview of your aspirations, skills, and qualities. The statement is usually a single sentence and is easily digestible. It’s not uncommon that employers ask you to specifically include descriptive phrases in a resume during the hiring process.

What’s In a Phrase?
So what goes into a descriptive phrase? Well, that largely depends on who you are. The descriptive phrase is meant to capture your professional side and abilities, yes, but it’s also meant to demonstrate personality and qualities related to what you like to do in your free time. How you cram that into one sentence usually takes some thinking. You’ll want to spend at least a little bit of time thinking about what you want your descriptive phrases to be so that you don’t misrepresent yourself.

I mentioned having multiple descriptive phrases on purpose. You don’t want to have a general, blanket statement used for every job. Not all jobs are the same. The retail store where you want to work that requires you to work as part of a team probably won’t want to know that you prefer to work independently. Part of the trick of creating good descriptive phrases is making sure the information you provide is relevant to the job at hand.

Professional Drive
Begin by examining what you would personally like to achieve in your career. How do you go about achieving your goals? Are you hardworking? Are you lazy? Are you determined, passionate, apathetic, motivated, inspired? You obviously don’t want to put negative characteristics in your descriptive phrase, but sometimes looking at what you’re not gives you an idea of what you are. And any place is a good place to start if you haven’t started already. For example:

Opportunist looking for long-term administrative position who enjoys financial settings.

Target Goals
When you’ve got a few adjectives that describe how you’re setting about your career goals, you then want to start looking at what you would like to be doing and where. Where do you see yourself? Where would you like to work? What industries would be best suited to your abilities? If you don’t have any industries in mind, that’s O.K. Nobody has a crystal ball. Instead, you’ll want to focus on the types of tasks you enjoy taking on, whether they’re in group settings, short-term or ongoing, multitasking, data entry, manual labor, brainstorming, etc. For example:

Team player who enjoys ongoing tasks and multitasking.

Personal Interests
While the focus of getting a job isn’t about making sure your personal life stays as is, it should factor into your overall decisions to choose one place over another. Health-food nuts probably aren’t going to enjoy working at burger joints, just like fast food enthusiasts aren’t going to enjoy working at a place that only serves leaves. But you still want your employer to know some about the person whose resume they’re reading. The descriptive phrase offers the opportunity to put a few adjectives or nouns in reflecting your personal interest. For example:

Dedicated and motivated IT professional, outdoors enthusiast, and graphic artist.

Tying It All Together
Now that you’ve taken a few moments to think about your professional, ideal workplace, and personal interests, as well as the jobs you’d like to apply for, it’s time to bring it all together in a clean, simply stated sentence. Work with various adjectives to make sure they’re industry, or even company, specific. A good way to look for keywords to add to your descriptive phrase is to check out websites like and read what others have written about the industry. Look for terms that best describe the industries or specific companies and adjectives used in job postings. Checking each company website also helps.

When you’re all finished, review the sentence for spelling and grammar and then paste the descriptive phrase at the head of your resume. As I mentioned before, you should try to change it up for every company. Taking the time to reflect the values of a company shows that you actually care about working there. Yeah, it takes a little extra work, but the outcome may result in you being employed, instead of still looking for another job.

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