When it comes to writing the perfect resume, much of it has to do with how it’s worded. Using words and phrases that sound too repetitive, especially if it’s listed job after job, tends to make the resume look a bit too mundane. It suggests, as a job seeker, there is a lack of vocabulary skills. This, oddly enough, is something hiring managers will look at as they filter through one applicant after another to find that ideal candidate to join their company.
Not Under Development
One of the most commonly used words used within resumes and cover letters is the word develop. Although it (and its variations) is not an evil word, it is one that seems to be over-used when an applicant describes themselves.
Yes, the word development seems to sound sophisticated enough. Why not use it?
Hey, we’re not saying to never use the word develop, nor the different extensions of it! What we are suggesting is using alternative words in place of it so that it makes your resume come across as something more professional. The word of develop is okay. There really isn’t anything wrong with it. However, too many applicants use it and to the eyes of a hiring manager or employer, the word develop has become boring.
And, if you want your resume to stand out from the rest of the crowd, the last thing you want to come across is boring!
Break The Mould
The purpose of this article is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to write a resume with wording other than develop (and its extensions). While the rest of the job applicants favour what truly has become an over-used word from the dictionary, your usage of using synonyms similar to develop within your resume will have you break out of the mould as someone who seems to have a vocabulary index that is more evolved.
What Is A Synonym?
According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary;
syn·o·nym | \ ˈsi-nə-ˌnim \
Definition of synonym
1: one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses
2a: a word or phrase that by association is held to embody something (such as a concept or quality)a tyrant whose name has become a synonym for oppression
3: one of two or more scientific names used to designate the same taxonomic group
Exploring Synonyms Of Develop
Sticking with Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, we have collected some of their top words from their thesaurus, all synonymous with the word develop that can be put in your resume.
They are as follows;
Exploring The Words
We will now go into further depth about each of the words listed above, explaining and illustrating why each of them makes better alternatives to the word develop (and its extensions). Each word will be also accompanied by what it means in the dictionary, along with its variations. The dictionary reference we are using is from Merriam-Webster.
Acquire “As a customer service agent, acquired extensive knowledge within the retail industry.”
- ac·quire | \ ə-ˈkwī(-ə)r \ acquired; acquiring
1: to get as one’s own:
a: to come into possession or control of often by unspecified means
The team acquired three new players this year.
b: to come to have as a new or added characteristic, trait, or ability (as by sustained effort or natural selection)
acquire fluency in French
bacteria that acquire tolerance to antibiotics
2: to locate and hold (a desired object) in a detector
acquire a target by radar
Let’s compare between the words acquire and develop as a resume entry;
I developed extensive knowledge in the retail industry as a customer service agent.
As a customer service agent, acquired extensive knowledge within the retail industry.
Which of the two sounded better to you? In this case, using the word acquired as opposed to developed is more dynamic.
- am·pli·fy | \ ˈam-plə-ˌfī \amplified; amplifying
1: to expand (something, such as a statement) by the use of detail or illustration or by closer analysis
2a: to make larger or greater (as in amount, importance, or intensity) : INCREASE
b: to increase the strength or amount of especially : to make louder
c: to cause (a gene or DNA sequence) to undergo amplification
Comparing the two words, amplify and develop, let’s see how they look as part of a resume submission;
Came up with a better formula toward the development of a better sales strategy for the company’s marketing goals.
The amplification of a better sales strategy to meet the company’s marketing goals came about by improving on its formula.
Although both entries are good, using the term amplification sounds more advanced than development. When a potential employer is looking at someone’s resume, they’re looking for someone who shows signs of moving up and forward. Between the two entries, the second is more effective in that regard than the first one.
Cultivate “Cultivating a better crop harvest as a farming technician through proven seeding procedures that provide positive results.”
cul·ti·vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt \
1: to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops
Some fields are cultivated while others lie fallow.
also: to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)
2a: to foster the growth of
cultivate oysters for pearls
c: to improve by labour, care, or study: REFINE
cultivate the mind…
cultivated a reputation as a hard-core wheeler-dealer …— Kit Boss
cultivate the arts
4: to seek the society of: make friends with
looking for influential people to cultivate as friends
Between the words develop and cultivate used in a resume, which sounds better?
Developing a better crop harvest as a farming technician through a proven seeding procedure has seen positive results.
Cultivating a better crop harvest as a farming technician through proven seeding procedures that provide positive results.
Cultivating is more precise as a description. Developing is too generalized. Keep this in mind as you choose how you wish to word whatever you put on your resume. Do you want to be seen as someone bland by being too general with what you put down, or would you rather come across as someone who thinks and acts with better precision?
Elaborate “Whenever we’d submit business proposals for funding purposes, an elaborate step-by-step plan is laid out.”
elab·o·rate | \ i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət \
(Entry 1 of 2)
1: planned or carried out with great care
took elaborate precautions
2: marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness
elab·o·rate | \ i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt \
(Entry 2 of 2)
1: to work out in detail: DEVELOP
elaborate a theory
2: to produce by labour
3: to build up (something, such as complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients
Now, as a resume entry, let’s see how elaborate compares with develop;
When submitting business proposals for funding purposes, we’d develop a step-by-step plan.
Whenever we’d submit business proposals for funding purposes, an elaborate step-by-step plan is laid out.
Again, what sounds better here? Elaborate is not a word used often, so it actually pops out more than develop. Something like this gets noticed, which is to your advantage when this particular word is used right.
Enlarge “Enlarged an understanding of how carburetors work while working as a small engine mechanic.”
en·large | \ in-ˈlärj , en- \
1: to make larger : EXTEND
enlarged the family fortune with new investments
2: to give greater scope to: EXPAND
education may enlarge one’s view of the world
3: to set free
enlarge a captive
Within a resume, which of the two words between expand and develop works best?
As a small engine mechanic, I developed a better understanding of how carburetors work.
Enlarged an understanding of how carburetors work while working as a small engine mechanic.
Enlarge is not a word commonly used within the English language. Because of this, choosing it over develop once again makes it a more dynamic choice when placed within a resume entry.
Evolve “While working at the lumber mill, the knowledge based evolved, going from an entry-level position to management.”
\ i-ˈvälv , -ˈvȯlv, ē- also -ˈväv or -ˈvȯv \
b: to produce by natural evolutionary processes
evolve social, political, and literary philosophies— L. W. Doob
Between evolve and develop, which resume entry sounds better to you?
From entry-level to management, developed better knowledge while working at the lumber mill.
While working at the lumber mill, the knowledge based evolved, going from an entry-level position to management.
There is just simply something special about using the word evolve. Compared to develop, it garners more attention whenever somebody happens to read it. In regards to the person in charge of hiring the best candidate for the job, there will typically be a preference of an evolving person as opposed to a developing one. Everyone can develop, but not everyone can evolve!
Expand “Employers can identify with the word expand as this is what they are aiming to do when looking for somebody new to join their company’s team.”
ex·pand | \ ik-ˈspand \
expanded; expanding; expands
1: to open up: UNFOLD
2: to increase the extent, number, volume, or scope of ENLARGE
3a: to express at length or in greater detail
b: to write out in full
expand all abbreviations
c: to subject to mathematical expansion
expand a function in a power series
Now, between expand and develop, here are two resume entry examples to look at;
As we developed as business partners, we opened up a second store, located on the other side of the city.
As business partners, expanded to a second store location at the other side of the city.
Employers can identify with the word expand as this is what they are aiming to do when looking for somebody new to join their company’s team. In truth, the word develop doesn’t make nearly as impressive a statement as expand does. Again, when looking to choose what words you’d like to use on your resume, try to look at it from an employer’s point of view. Because, in reality, that is exactly how your resume will be seen by them.
Form “A unique fashion line was formed, turning ordinary scrub uniforms into something extraordinary.”
\ ˈfȯrm \
(Entry 1 of 2)
1a: the shape and structure of something as distinguished from its material
the building’s massive form
b: a body (as of a person) especially in its external appearance or as distinguished from the face: FIGURE
the female form
c: archaic: BEAUTY
2: the essential nature of a thing as distinguished from its matter: such as
b: the component of a thing that determines its kind
3a: established method of expression or proceeding: procedure according to rule or rote
also: a standard or expectation based on past experience: PRECEDENT
true to form, the champions won again
b: a prescribed and set order of words: FORMULA
the form of the marriage service
4: a printed or typed document with blank spaces for insertion of required or requested information
5a(1): conduct regulated by extraneous (see EXTRANEOUS sense 1) controls (as of custom or etiquette): CEREMONY
(2): show without substance
b: manner or conduct as tested by a prescribed or accepted standard
rudeness is simply bad form
c: manner or style of performing or accomplishing according to recognized standards of technique
a strong swimmer but weak on form
6a: the resting place or nest of a hare
b: a long seat: BENCH
7a: a supporting frame model of the human figure or part (such as the torso) of the human figure usually used for displaying apparel
b: a proportioned and often adjustable model for fitting clothes
c: a mould in which concrete is placed to set
8: the printing type or other matter arranged and secured in a chase ready for printing
9a: one of the different modes of existence, action, or manifestation of a particular thing or substance: KIND
one form of respiratory disorder
a form of art
b: a distinguishable group of organisms
d: one of the different aspects a word may take as a result of inflection or change of spelling or pronunciation
e: a mathematical expression of a particular type
a bilinear form
a polynomial form
10a(1): orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas): manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)
(2): a particular kind or instance of such arrangement
the sonnet is a poetical form
arguments of the same logical form
c: the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art— compare CONTENT sense 2c
d: a visible and measurable unit defined by a contour: a bounded surface or volume
11: a grade in a British school or in some American private schools
12a(1): the past performance of a racehorse
(2): RACING FORM
b: known ability to perform
a singer at the top of her form
c: condition suitable for performing (as in athletic competition)
back on form
formed; forming; forms
(Entry 2 of 2)
1a: to give a particular shape to: shape or mould into a certain state or after a particular model
form the dough into a ball state
formed along republican lines
b: to arrange themselves in
the dancers formed a line
c: to model by instruction and discipline
a mind formed by classical education
She formed the dough into balls.
3: to serve to make up or constitute : be an essential or basic element of
Bonds formed the bulk of his estate.
form a habit
5: to arrange in order : DRAW UP
The battalion was formed into squares for all-around defense.
6a: to assume an inflection so as to produce (a form, such as a tense)forms the past in -ed
b: to combine to make (a compound word)
“motor” and “cycle” form “motorcycle”
Form is a big word, yet it is so small in spelling. However, it goes much further as resume entries than the word develop does. Instead of just one set of examples how to favour form over develop as a resume entry, we have used two;
We developed a unique fashion line that turns ordinary scrub uniforms into something extraordinary.
A unique fashion line was formed, turning ordinary scrub uniforms into something extraordinary.
We developed solutions for customer service reps on how to handle stressful situations without losing their composure.
Formulated sound solutions for customer service representatives to handle the most stressful situations without losing their composure.
For such a small word, form has a certain feel of sophistication when it is used properly. And, on a resume, it stands out more than develop. Form sounds like a word with scientific purpose while develop sounds like an accident.
Grow “The growth of understanding the difference between clean and unclean urine samples has played a factor in the growing experience as a lab technician.”
\ ˈgrō \
grew\ ˈgrü \; grown\ ˈgrōn \; growing
1a: to cause to grow
b: to let grow on the body
grew a beard
2: to promote the development of
start a business and grow it successfully
Which sounds better? Develop or grow? Let’s find out with these resume examples;
Since my development as a lab technician, I have developed a better understanding of how to distinguish the difference between clean urine samples from unclean.
The growth of understanding the difference between clean and unclean urine samples has played a factor in the growing experience as a lab technician.
Employers relate to the word grow better than the word develop. Employers want their company to grow, which seems more evolutionary than to merely develop.
Mature “The overall experience level as a dog trainer has matured over time.”
ma·ture | \ mə-ˈchu̇r , -ˈchər also -ˈtu̇r , -ˈtyu̇r \
(Entry 1 of 2)
1: based on slow careful consideration
a mature judgment
2a(1): having completed natural growth and development: RIPE
(2): having undergone maturation
b: having attained a final or desired state
c: having achieved a low but stable growth rate
paper is a mature industry
d: of, relating to, or being an older adult: ELDERLY
airline discounts for mature travelers
3a: of or relating to a condition of full development
a man of mature years
b: characteristic of or suitable to a mature individual
a show with mature content
4: due for payment
a mature loan
5: belonging to the middle portion of a cycle of erosion
a mature stream
: to bring to maturity or completion
The word mature literally brings maturity to a resume entry than the word develop. Check out the two examples of how these two different words are used in a resume entry;
Over time, my experience level as a dog trainer has developed into what it is today.
The overall experience level as a dog trainer has matured over time.
Maturity shows growth, whereas development really doesn’t. Development is merely a transition from one thing to another. Maturity is going from the lack of something into one that is more abundant. Potential employers tend to seek out candidates who come across as mature, so seeing a word matching what they’re looking for will help in this regard.
Process “While among a team of legal advisors, processed a series of statements with convincing opening arguments.”
processed; processing; processes
b(1): to take out a summons against
(2): to serve a summons on
2a: to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development)
b(1): to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures
process insurance claims
(2): to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated
the brain processes visual images relayed from the retina
(3): to subject to examination or analysis
computers process data
c: to work (hair) into a conk
Between develop and process, as a resume entry describing achievements, which sounds better?
As part of a team of legal advisers, developed a series of convincing arguments as opening statements.
While among a team of legal advisors, processed a series of statements with convincing opening arguments.
Everything has a process, including resumes. When potential employers go over each candidate, they literally will distinguish the difference between someone who uses the word process from someone who uses the word develop. Typically, employers are going to favour resumes coming from the candidate who chose to use process as their word of choice as opposed to the one who used develop.
It Really Is In The Wording
In the end, in order to have that genuine “look at me” resume that catches the eye of potential employers, one needs to step out of the box of the norm. Normal is good, but when it also comes across as boring, then this is where the need to step it up comes into play.
If you really want that dream job, then you need to give your potential employer that dream resume they’re looking for!