In order to be effective, your resume needs to function as a marketing piece that sells you to your next employer. With that in mind, it is critical that your resume be interesting to read and inspire action (i.e., interviews). Be creative and use a wide vocabulary in your resume to keep the reader’s attention. While you should maintain a professional tone, that doesn’t mean you are completely limited in your word choice.
It can be difficult to avoid utilizing the same verbiage over and over again in your resume (especially if you have held similar roles throughout your career). However, with just a little extra effort and imagination, you can add variety to your resume’s content and make it that much more inviting to read. You’re selling yourself to potential employers, so make sure your resume advertises your qualifications in a professional, compelling way.
Starting every job description paragraph off with “Responsible for…” won’t generate much excitement. Content such as “Directed cross-functional teams,” “Orchestrated all day-to-day functions,” or “Governed team of 30+ personnel” makes your content more dynamic.
Did you increase annual revenues from zero to $2M, or did you propel them?
Some repetition is understandably unavoidable. For example, you want to sprinkle keywords and phrases throughout your resume to match the requirements in a job posting as closely as possible. Using a synonym in this case may sound odd or work against you. For instance, if “Quality Control” and “Inventory Control” are two critical keywords employers are scanning for, replacing “control” with “manage” or “oversight” to avoid repetition would not be advantageous. Instead, strategically space these words apart on the resume if possible.
As always, use the thesaurus cautiously. If a sentence reads strangely as a result of trying to avoid repetition, utilize your best judgment and let that one slide. Or as mentioned above, space out repetitive words on the document. Also, you must consider your specific audience and the positions you are targeting. Highly creative language may be appropriate for sales, marketing, advertising, or design jobs, whereas more direct but still persuasive language might work better for accounting or administrative roles.
Feeling stuck? Here are a few common resume verbs and excellent synonyms to consider using in your document: