Clichés To Avoid When Writing Your CV


Talent managers and recruiters read countless job applications, CVs and cover letters every day. This means if you've seen a snappy new buzzword you're thinking of including on your CV, they've seen it a hundred times already. We've put together some advice for keeping your CV and Conecta Profile looking unique and devoid of clichés, so it stands out against the crowd.

“Solution-focused” and “Results-driven”

An all-too common phrase used in CVs and cover letters, you should definitely avoid these expressions. Everyone claims to be solution and results driven these days, and even if you really feel that these are your strengths, the wording communicates almost nothing at all. Instead, improve your CV and stand out from the crowd by being more specific. What are the exact solutions and results you’ve achieved, and how have you done it? The more concrete you are, the more you’ll impress your prospective employers.

“I’m a team player who can work independently…”

It’s a bit like saying your greatest weakness is that you work too hard, isn’t it? This phrase is not only over-used, it’s also hard to believe. The truth is, you probably work independently in some aspects of your role, and do so very well, while at other times you work closely with others and do this equally as well. If this is the case, identify which tasks you do independently and describe the ways in which you have been successful. Then do the same for your fantastic teamwork skills. Include these details in your CV and you’ll surely stand out.

“Extensive experience in …”

Great novelists use a simple trick to write gripping stories, based on the adage “show don’t tell”. Your CV doesn’t have to be as rivetting as the latest New York Times bestseller, but you can draw from this idea to stand out from a pool of cliche-ridden CVs. When writing your CV, don’t speak abstractly about your “extensive experience”, this is known as “telling”. Instead, demonstrate, or “show”, your reader your extensive experience by detailing what roles you’ve had, where, with who, for how long you’ve done them, and the things you’ve achieved over this time. (Warning: Write your CV and cover letter using bullet points. It shouldn’t look like a Dostoevsky novel!)

Are you “passionate,” “enthusiastic” and “motivated”?

No matter how sincere you are when you use these words, your reader may not take you as seriously as you’d hoped. These expressions are so overused they no longer convey how you actually feel. Instead, try highlighting some of your favourite aspects of your job, or some cherished moments in your career. Describe moments when you accomplished something great or bonded with your team to show your true dedication and love for your role.

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