Creating A Personal Power Statement

By Cara D. Cockman-Bliss

Consider the power of six words that describe a person’s character, values, and skills perfectly. Creating a power statement is imperative for all persons at any level. Individuals need to be effective in communicating their strengths and accomplishments at any educational level. Personal power statements help communicate these effectively. When presenting oneself to others, there is a need to put forth information to validate one’s values, character, and skills with a power statement. This task could prove to be more difficult than expected without guidance.


The first step is to begin by identifying words that have power. Power words, for example, can include the following: creative, athletic, authoritative, empowering, energetic, influential, substantial, leader, resourceful, motivated, decisive, self-starter, innovative, resourceful, persistent, organized, productive, dependable, reliable, responsible, teachable, adaptable, competent, effective, mature, knowledgeable, positive, structured, systematic, transformed, updated, verbalized, committed, structured, successful, intelligent, determined, dedicated, accomplished, proven, respectful, task-oriented, and/or result oriented.

Career counselors can teach students to develop meaningful power word statements.


Positive Personal Power Words


The positive power words are used to build and establish how one feels, to describe personal experiences, personal strengths, attributes, and character. Positive power words are used to promote and encourage success, build self-esteem and improve self-reflection. Power words are used to express something familiar, making it extraordinary, persuasively self-focused. Therefore, power words can be used to build resumés, complete application forms, and successful interviews. Likewise, positive power words convey successful attainment of societal milestones desired by all, and validate one’s individuality. The following represents steps to help students craft an effective personal power statement:


Steps to Developing Power Words

First students are asked to brainstorm at least eight to ten words that best describe them. While focusing on their uniqueness, students are instructed to think of words that could be used for school, admissions into a club, on scholarship applications, or in resumés in the near future. Individuals can also add attributes associated with their involvement in clubs, organizations, teams, or support groups. Those who have written a smaller number of words should be encouraged to use dictionary.com, to search for synonyms and antonyms of the words they have selected to develop more representative words. They should be taught and encouraged to use action words. After this introductory phase, students move into the descriptive phase. They are encouraged to ask themselves what each word depicts about them. Furthermore, students need to consider who their audience is, that is, whose attention they are trying to capture while constructing the power statement.


Second, students are then asked to select the six words that would provide a more relevant visual image of who they are. Once the words are selected, they are to organize these into a powerful phrase. This may take several attempts before a final acceptable phase emerged. The statement must be logical and should flow well. The final statement should captivate the attention of the targeted audience such as a scholarship reviewer, admissions committee, and/or an employment interviewer.


Third, students can also add a visual image, such as a representative picture that best depicts the statement. The final product could be converted into a word cloud, printed, and hung on the wall in the school hallway, inside the locker, and/or at home. This becomes a constant source of validation of the uniqueness of the student authenticating their talents and self-worth. A power statement can be updated and modified to meet the needs of each student.


An Example: A Student Named Chris


First Step: Chris was instructed to brainstorm at least eight to ten words that best describe her values and characteristics. She wrote down:


1. intelligent

2. eager to learn

3. dependable

4. personable

5. active

6. teammate

7. organized

8. processor


Second Step: Chris selected six of the most powerful words from the eight listed that would provide a more relevant visual image.

  1. active
  2. dependable
  3. intelligent
  4. organized
  5. personable
  6. teammate.

Chris then organized the words, arranging them in a manner that created a greater expression of accomplishment: “I am personable, dependent, intelligent, organized, active, and a teammate.” This became her first personal statement. Upon reevaluating this power statement, Chris was excited, and convinced the statement best described her. This brief statement validated the her uniqueness as an individual.


Third Step: Chris used the individualized power statement to create a word cloud, which she could then save the image to a wall on social media, use as the home screen on personal electronic devices, printed, and hang on the wall in the school hallway for open house and other students to see and enjoy. This became a constant source of validation of the uniqueness of Chris, authenticating her talents and self-worth.


Preparing for Graduation and Beyond

In closing, this activity is designed to allow students the opportunity to create a representative statement of who they are, including their unique attributes. Career counselors should encourage their students to continue to revise and rework their individual power statements, which can be used in completing college applications, scholarship applications, job applications, and resumés, prior to graduation. Developing personal power statements take effort and time, but will procure substantial rewards now and in the future.



Cara Cockman BlissCara DeAnn Cockman-Bliss is a middle and high school business education teacher in the Jessieville School District in Jessieville, Arkansas. The author has completed 26 years in education, teaching courses including: Computerized Accounting I, Computerized Business Applications, Office Management, Keyboarding, and Career Development. Additional duties include serving as the Middle Level Future Business Leaders of America Sponsor and the Career and Education Facilitator for the district. In October 2014, she received her Career Development Facilitators Certification, and is currently awaiting National Board of Professional Teachers results. She can be reached at cara.bliss@jsdlions.net


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Allen Boivin-Brown   on Tuesday 12/02/2014 at 11:59 AM

Hi Cara,

I like your concept of a Personal Power Statement. I agree that knowing your uniqueness is vital to career success.
I would suggest the PPS could be made even more "powerful" by insuring the student has "evidence" of possessing each of the characteristics they include in the statement. It's easy to claim a quality but is it "true"? They can be even more confident of their description if they can prove to themselves and others they have actually demonstrated these characteristics in their past experience.
The best method I know for doing this is through use of the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process (DSAP) as researched at the University of Washington.
Contact me or our website (dependabestrengths.org) if you want to discuss this further.

Allen Boivin-Brown, President
Center for Dependable Strengths
Seattle, WA

Mark Franklin   on Monday 12/15/2014 at 09:31 AM

Thank you Cara for this insightful article, and Allen for your comment. We at CareerCycles have been helping our clients personalize the results from our narrative career counseling method, using a substantive "Career Statement." We've had over 3000 clients and players of our "Who You Are Matters!" game write and read aloud their Career Statements, which then acts as a compass for their intentional career exploration. You can find out more here http://careercycles.com/our-story/career-statement An outcome study of clients who wrote Career Statements showed increases in Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, Optimism (PsyCap, Luthans), and Curiosity & Exploration (Kashdan).

Nitpicker McGee   on Tuesday 12/16/2014 at 01:06 PM

Need to change "dependent" to "dependable."

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.