The words you utilize in your resume matter. The words you use on your resume matter. Don’t you wish there was another word for utilize? You know, a synonym.
Write As You Speak
Looking at the above, I like the second sentence more than the first. Why? Because it’s simpler.
When we talk, we say used. We don’t say utilized. It’s good to write as we talk. Otherwise, we sound stuffy and like an annoying future colleague. And who wants that?
Swap “Use” In and “Utilize” Out
Back to this post’s topic, one quick way to improve your resume is to replace all forms of “utilize” with like forms of “use.” Word’s Edit/Find/Replace commands will help you do that:
That said, you can often do better than the swap by rewriting the sentence.
Is it Utilize or Utilise?
BTW, did you notice that by eliminating “utilize” or “utilize,” we don’t have to worry about how to spell it? I love a nice secondary gain!
Now, Let’s Fix Some Sentences
As received: Utilize my skills in a senior administrative role to provide leadership and direction for all fiscal areas as well as office administration, human resources, and technology.
As re-written: CFO. Drove 600-basis point EBITDA growth in 2 years.
As received: Over 15 years of supervisory experience utilizing strong team development skills.
As re-written: Recruited, trained, motivated, and retained high-performing staff. Increased department’s internal Net Promoter Score 30 points in 2 years.
As received: Utilized PRISM to modify contracts.
As re-written: Implemented PRISM to modify contracts. Cut renewal cycle time 30%. Freed up and promoted 2 team members.
Have you searched your resume for the words utilize and utilized? How many times did you find them? None? Fantastic!
One or more?
First, try to eliminate those words by re-writing to describe your results.
Second, swap in “used” for “utilized” to make your resume read more naturally.
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Updated January 2023
© 2010 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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