Avoid overused verbs in a résumé

UntitledDo you overuse certain verbs in your résumé? If you do, there are suitable alternatives available.

And, Debra Wheatman, a Certified Résumé Writer/Certified Career Coach, of Careers Done Write, identified some of them during an April 22nd presentation at the Professional Service Group of Central New Jersey (PCGCNJ).

Debra says: Don’t Use That Verb, Use This One

After having written more than 10,000 résumés, and constantly telling people that there are more verbs out there than managed and developed, I decided to put pen-to-paper (or let my fingers do the walking on the keyboard, in this case) to give you some help by showing you some acceptable alternatives.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with using managed or developed in a résumé. The issue is that people use them all the time – I mean in every line. You want to engage the reader, not help the person lapse into a coma. I realize that these don’t exactly correlate, but, I want to give you some ideas. Without further ado, here is a list (albeit a short list) of alternative verbs you should consider.


Avoid this verb

The reason …

Other active verbs to consider

Responsible for

The most boring opening in a résumé, EVER …

Communicate, Consult, Complete, Create, Deliver, Demonstrate, Facilitate, Guide, Implement, Maintain, Orchestrate, Participate, Perform, Promote

Led (past tense)

Lead (present tense)

Other verbs are available to help convey how you can serve at the helm of a company, or project

Build, Champion, Control, Craft, Direct, Enact, Govern, Head, Inspire, Institute, Officiate, Optimize, Orchestrate, Pioneer, Preside, Propel, Spearhead, Steer, Supervise


Works well. Want some alternatives?

Address, Advance, Alter, Apply, Centralize, Compile, Conduct, Construct, Consolidate, Determine, Establish, Execute, Exhibit, Formalize, Govern


Used, and used again, and again, and again …

Control, Convey, Consult, Define, Delegate, Devise, Establish, Negotiate, Supervise


Sure, and …

Actualize, Advance, Amplify, Augment, Cultivate, Enrich, Evolve, Extend, Foster, Heighten, Magnify, Strengthen


Check out www.thesaurus.com or try out the very cool www.visualthesaurus.com where you will find a plethora, myriad, a veritable cornucopia of enticing, invigorating, and all-around exciting words that will send sparks flying through your brain!

These tools will give you numerous choices of synonyms for commonly used words. It doesn’t only apply to verbs folks; it applies to all words in the English language. The only caveat you have to be mindful of is that some words may “be” synonyms but do not really convey the meaning of the original word. Sometimes it takes a little digging, but, I can assure you – it’s worth it; and will spice up your résumé. That’s a sample of my mind origami for the written word.

Do you want the whole shebang? The entire kit and caboodle? The kitchen sink? I will be happy to share more with you. All you have to do is email me at debra@careersdonewrite.com.

Happy résumé writing!

Leave a Reply