I am making the below comment under the leadership section on my resume.

I would like to know if the following sentence is grammatically correct, and whether I can replace 'was' with 'had been' in the first half of the sentence.

I was ordained for captaincy in high school, and undertook various leadership responsibilities during college.

  • 2
    What is captaincy? I'm wondering if "ordained" is the right word here, depends on what captaincy refers to.
    – Chad
    Jul 23, 2015 at 17:46
  • 'had been' sounds more negative than 'was' - like you were the captain, but it was removed from you for some reason. Jul 23, 2015 at 17:48
  • 1
    We'd say "named captain of ____". There's no need to use the past perfect when you are not trying to establish a temporal relationship between one past event and an even earlier past event.
    – TimR
    Jul 23, 2015 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


"Was" is better here. Using the past perfect "had been" connotes "I was team captain only for a while". While this is true, it's unnecessary since you obviously left high school, so it implies that you perhaps were not captain all the way through until the end of high school. But even then it's unnecessary and a bit of an awkward construction. Use "was".

With regards to the sentence as a whole, "ordained" usually carries a religious connotation and "captaincy" is obtrusively formal here (and rarely used anyway). Makes it sound like you're trying too hard. Consider:

Served as team captain on high school football squad and as president of the debate club at Yale.

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