CV words and phrases to avoid

CV words and phrases to avoid

There have been a lot of articles popping up on LinkedIn and the web recently regarding over-used words and phrases that recruiters hate to see on CVs.  A recent survey said the most over-used word on CVs in 2013 was ‘responsible’, but other popular choices include ‘passionate’, ‘motivated’, ‘self-starter’ and ‘goal-orientated’… are you starting to get the picture?  So, be honest… how many of these words does your CV contain?

As you gain more and more experience you will be under increasing pressure to cram more experience into fewer words on your CV, which means that if you ever had an opening paragraph proclaiming that you are a ‘motivated, dynamic self-starter and a goal-orientated team player’, now is the time to remove such empty phrases.

What people seem to forget is that in a job application, it ought to be taken as read that you are a ‘motivated, dynamic, motivated self-starter  and a goal-orientated team player’.  It should be a given that you are passionate about the industry or the role that you work in.  Of course you should be dynamic – imagine the alternative!  Instead of including empty terms, how about providing some evidence that you have demonstrated these desirable characteristics in your recent career?  Consider the following:

‘I am passionate about customer service.’

‘I gained 100% positive feedback from customers in my last role.’ 

The first is just a dry statement – whereas the second actually says something and invites further questions at interview – what did your customers say about you?  This gives you a great chance to sell yourself!

‘I am a results-orientated team player.’

‘I played a key role in making sure the team delivered the project on time.  To help us reach our goal, I took on the additional responsibility of mentoring less experienced team members.’

Again, the first statement ought to be a given if you are applying for a role that requires teamwork – whereas the second demonstrates that you took action to make sure the team achieved their goal, and invites the interviewer to ask about your mentoring.

Anyone can say that they are ‘passionate’ or ‘hardworking’ – make your CV stand out from the rest by being the one who actually demonstrates it!