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?
Write As You Speak
Looking at the above, I like the second sentence more than the first one because it’s simpler. When we talk, we say used. We don’t say utilized.
Swap Use In and Utilize Out
One quick way to improve your resume is to replace all forms of the word utilize with like forms of the word use. Word’s Edit/Find/Replace commands will help you do that:
View all my “how to” videos on my Donna Svei YouTube Channel.
That said, you can often do better than the swap by rewriting the sentence. Don’t get stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Avoid confusion by using another word for utilize than use.
Is it Utilize or Utilise?
And note — by replacing the word we don’t have to worry about how to spell it either.
Now, Let’s Fix Some Sentences
Example 1 (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.
Example 1 (as re-written)
CFO with record of improving business operations and earnings.
Example 2 (as received)
Over 15 years of supervisory experience utilizing strong team development skills.
Example 2 (as re-written)
Recruited, trained, and motivated high-performing staff that functioned collaboratively as an effective team.
Example 3 (as received)
Utilized PRISM to modify contracts.
Example 3, (as re-written)
Used PRISM to modify contracts.
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 the sentence to describe results.
Second, swap in “used” for “utilized” to make your resume read more naturally.
Updated April 2019
© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.