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16 Verbs You Should Never Use On a IT Resume

        posted by , January 10, 2013

The right verbs can dramatically improve your resume. They can also improve your performance self assessments, presentations, deliverables, even your emails. The big question is — what are the right verbs? Here are a few rules of thumb:

verbs should be specific

verbs should be direct

verbs should be compelling


The following 16 verbs are just the opposite — weak, indirect and generalized.

1. Chose

Verbs such as considered, compared, chose, selected are great to describe a shopping trip with your family but don't belong on your resume.

Considered the architectural alternatives.


Architected the solution.



2. Contributed

Verbs such as helped, contributed and participated are weak.

These verbs are often used to indicate you've been working with a team. In the context of a IT resume — it's already assumed that your working within a team. These verbs hide your specific contribution.

Helped to launch a ERP.


Configured and deployed a ERP.



3. Administered

Avoid verbs that sound bureaucratic such as administered and governed.

Administered the list of enterprise technology standards.


Managed technology standards for the enterprise.



4. Commenced

The hiring manager doesn't want to hear about what you've started, began or commenced. They want to hear what you've delivered. Think of your work in terms of phases that are completed.

Started a ERP project.


Delivered the project charter for a ERP project.



5. Conceived

Ideas are great but it's implementation that drives business results. Avoid verbs such as convinced, analyzed, conceptualized.

Analyzed the business requirements.


Delivered the business requirements.



6. Collaborated

Verbs such as dealt, interfaced, collaborated are great words to describe a nice chat — you don't need them on your resume.

Collaborated with strategic partners.


Cultivated relationships with new strategic partners.



7. Documented

Writing is important. However, on a resume it's better to focus on the business value of your deliverables. Avoid verbs such as drafted, wrote and documented.

Documented ERP architecture.


Architected a ERP solution and delivered architectural blueprints.



8. Facilitated

Facilitate could mean anything — perhaps you made the coffee and picked up the donuts. It's important to identify your concrete contributions.

Facilitated partner sales contract negotiations.


Gained acceptance of key terms of a new sales contract with a strategic partner.



9. Headed

Avoid verbs that indicate your responsibilities rather than your accomplishments. Responsibilities can be indicated with a noun.

Headed the IT Risk Management Group.


Head IT Risk Management Group



10. Influenced

Anyone who attends a meeting has potentially influenced something. Influence is a terrible verb to describe an accomplishment.

Influenced business strategy.


Worked with business partners to launch a new business strategy.



11. Maintained

Avoid verbs that sound stationary and inactive.

Maintained relationships with business partners.


Cultivated relationships with business partners.



12. Organized

Organize sounds like a lightweight activity. You organize a party. You organize your closet. You manage IT.

Organized vendor contract negotiations.


Managed vendor contract negotiations.



13. Programmed

It's generally better to use business oriented verbs on a resume. Avoid verbs such as programmed, scripted and coded.

Scripted a Wordpress deployment script.


Deployed a marketing web site.



14. Recommended

IT management is usually flooded with recommendations from every direction imaginable. It's important to show your ability to bring recommendations to reality.

Recommended process improvements.


Improved processes.



15. Sponsored

Avoid verbs that indicate you spent money. Anyone can spend money. Focus on your efforts.

Sponsored a ERP initiative.


Spearheaded a ERP initiative.



16. Updated

Updates sound like something that could be automated. Avoid verbs that make your work sound trivial such as updated, upgraded, installed and set up.

Updated the ERP system.


Deployed a modernized version of the ERP system.


Note on the examples: The examples are not exact equivalents. I'm not recommending you exaggerate your accomplishments. A honest resume is always more effective.

This article is part of the ongoing series: how to win your next job.


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Exploiting emerging possibilities in your career.

Effectively summarize your career and goals.

Think your job can't be automated — think again.

The simplest (and often most effective) interview strategy of all is to ask the interviewer exactly what she's hoping you'll ask.


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