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 and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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