If you’ve had a lot of similar jobs that required similar skills, your resume might feel redundant. There really aren't that many ways to say “read scripts and wrote coverage” after all. Usually, we advise clients with repetitive work experience to divide the bullet points between similar jobs and only list them once or twice. Still, sometimes it’s inevitable that you’ll repeat skills, and in that case, you should find ways to vary up your wording, especially your action verbs. A thesaurus can be a helpful tool here.
If you're stuck on a specific word, it's a great idea to consult a thesaurus. Maybe the synonym for “liaise” is on the tip of your tongue, and you just can’t recall it -- definitely turn to the thesaurus to find the word you’re looking for (hint: communicate and interface work well). But be careful not to overdo it -- remember that Friends episode where Joey uses a thesaurus to try and sound smart? Not the best strategy.
If you’re trying to use a thesaurus to make your menial tasks sound impressive, tread carefully. While we encourage you to find the skill behind the actual task and tout that in your bullets (for example, “filed papers” becomes “handled office organization, including preparing production paperwork and maintaining company logs”), you shouldn't use words you don't know or that you’d never say in the course of conversation. “Getting lunch for producers” should not become “regale executives with refreshments and sustenance.” That doesn’t sound like you did something impressive -- it sounds like you did something so insignificant that you’re embarrassed to call it like it is.
On the flip side, you don't want to muddle those higher level tasks with so much jargon that they become meaningless. For instance, "Analyzed KPIs to generate strategic business solutions for expansion of industry-based utilization of franchise model" could be ... well, we don't know what that could be, because it doesn't make sense! Keep it simple -- remember, hiring managers are only giving your resume a quick skim, so go easy on them with your vocabulary.
Ultimately, you need to remember to be as clear and concise as possible. Use impressive verbs strategically to showcase your skills, but don't clutter your bullet points with overly complicated wording.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
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