Not so long ago I’ve shared with you a list of phrases that have the power to seriously sabotage your job hunt if used in a resume or cover letter. If you’ve already weeded these out of your employment documents, it’s time to move to the next level and add some meat to your job application. It’s no secret that a great writer creates compelling stories, carefully choosing each word so that their piece conveys information in a way that would evoke a certain response in a reader. Thus, an effective resume prompts the Hiring Manager to call the applicant for an interview.
Sadly, more often than not, HR’s end up going through piles of resumes crowded with unimaginative phrases that have been repeated so often that they have started to lose their meaning. Yes, I’m talking about endless lists of duties all starting with “managed” and “communicated”. The best way to turn your application into a piece of engaging writing that the recruiter will actually read is by adding some variety to your vocabulary. So here are some of the most overused verbs along with great alternatives that you should take advantage of:
– coordinated — gives an impression that you’ve successfully juggled a number of tasks
– oversaw/supervised — both imply that you have been directing both processes and people
– developed — perfect for technical tasks, also shows that you’ve been behind the process from start to finish
– designed — gives you a creative edge
– conceived — if you want to convey that it was you who came up with an idea – compiled — you’ve gathered, sorted and assembled large amounts of information to complete the project in question
– guided — leads readers to believe that you’ve probably provided much needed advice to your team
– motivated — looks like you know how to get along with people and how to get them excited about work
– empowered — you’re not a micro manager, and it shows in terms of your team’s performance
– mentored/coached — demonstrates your commitment to sharing knowledge and instilling corporate values in your colleagues
– supported — shows you’ve been around to help your colleagues/subordinates to deal with problems while they were still learning “in the field”
– interfaced/interacted – you’ve probably had tens, if not hundreds of people to deal with
– negotiated – perfect if you want to convey that you can strike a deal
– liaised – for situations where you are the go-to person for information and act as a link between stakeholders
Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to use “managed” or “led” once in a while. But by incorporating synonyms into your resume you’ll create a stronger profile that will convey your competencies with more clarity and conviction. One final piece of advice: in an attempt to add some pizzazz to your job seeker profile, remember that each word on your resume should be there for a reason. So choose wisely.
Do you have a habit of overusing certain words on your resume? Can you suggest other alternatives to the most popular phrases? Share your thoughts in our comments section!