Search Consultant Patricia Duarte and I have been having a Twitter conversation about the use of the word “leverage” on resumes.
We’ve been looking at it as a synonym for utilized and used:
Consider these definitions of leverage:
Leverage is Both a Noun and Verb
You can see that leverage can be used as a noun or as a verb.
- As a noun, it means the exertion of force.
- As a verb, it means to use something to maximum advantage.
Thus, both of these accomplishment statements would be accurate uses of the word leverage:
- Used leverage with key vendors to negotiate shared advertising agreement that reduced overall marketing cost 12%.
- Leveraged relationships with key vendors to negotiate shared advertising agreement that reduced overall marketing cost 12%.
If you’re not describing power or maximum advantage, or engaging in another appropriate use of leverage, then choose another word. This overused resume buzzword could use a rest.
You can search Google for synonyms for leverage and you can look at the ideas below.
Leverage Synonyms — Nouns
If you’re using leverage as a noun, consider using the word “advantage” instead.
You might write:
- Consolidated vendors and created a volume advantage that resulted in a 12% overall reduction in marketing costs.
Other potentially useful synonyms for leverage include access, asset, authority, control, dominance, edge, influence, position, recognition, reputation, and resources.
Leverage Synonyms — Verbs
If you’re using leverage as a verb, you might write:
- Recognized three top vendors with awards and negotiated higher volume, lower cost contracts that cut YOY marketing expense 12%.
The verb synonyms get a little tricky because it’s easy to tip over into looking like a jerk, but consider controlled, dominated, and positioned.
Resumes remind me of jigsaw puzzles. Drop a word in and see if it fits. If it doesn’t, pull it out and try another one.
Updated July 2020
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse.
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