Varying Verbs: Key to Adding Pizzazz to Your Resume

Varying verbs

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!

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