Oversight Responsibilities

A recent post in a Linkedin group asked about “oversight responsibilities.” When you hear that phrase, what pops into your mind?

Maybe I’m alone in my thinking, but that is a phrase you will never find me using in the context of describing the scope of responsibilities my clients hold. Why, you might ask?

A Google search of the word reveals the first meaning of “oversight” as


Now I know that in your resume it is not intended to indicate an “error, omission, or failure” to do something. However, “oversight” is not a derivative of “oversee.”

Words evolve and change over time. In fact, the second definition of “oversight” in our current dictionaries says …

“the action of overseeing something.”

But the word “oversight” isn’t in the 1828 dictionary. It’s a relatively new word, with a new connotation … but just like other new words with new meanings in this day and age, changing the word doesn’t change the intent of the word in the minds of some folks, particularly old-school English majors who love words.

Might I suggest some more positive, action-oriented alternatives you can use to frame your scope of responsibilities?

  • Oversaw (which is the past tense of oversee)
  • Administered
  • Directed
  • Guided
  • Supervised

The English language is robust and provides much better options to avoid painting a potentially negative picture in the mind of the person reading your resume … “failing to do” versus actually “doing.”

Just because it is a generally-accepted phrase doesn’t mean you have to use it. Dare to be different! And … grammatically correct.

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