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5 words to avoid in your CV

5 words to avoid in your CV

September 9, 2013

How many CVs have you seen, or have you sent in to employers, that start with the phrase “I am a hard working individual…” or something similar? Most people are bound to have used any of the following words in a version of their CV at some point, and while technically, these words aren’t necessarily ones you should avoid at all costs, but ultimately you are far safer actually explaining to a prospective employer why they might call you these things.

Let us explain. Here are five words and phrases you should avoid in your CV…

1. Hard-working

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that employers like hard workers. However, there is one thing that trumps working hard: performing. If you don’t explain that your hard work has produced results, people might assume that you just aren’t very good at your job, even though you do try very hard, bless you.

2. Capable

Again, think about it this way – would you call yourself incapable? Of course not! Your work – the things you actually do – will show how capable you are.

3. Problem solver

Unfortunately this one suffers from the negative spin that can be put on it. Imagine the scenario – “Your CV says that you are a problem solver. So, tell us about a problem that occurred and describe how you dealt with it.” It’s a tricky situation to be in at an interview, especially if you can only think of a problem you caused!

4. Motivated

Now, there is nothing wrong with talking about what motivates you – e.g. “I am motivated by exciting projects” – but ‘motivated’ on its own doesn’t really say a lot about you – it’s vague. Why is it important to say specifically that you are a motivated person? Motivated to do what exactly?

5. “Excellent communication skills”

This has to be one of the most popular phrases in the world when it comes to CVs. Think about it, why would you want to say you are excellent at communicating? So, you can speak? You can type an email? You can do both of these things very well? Maybe being an articulate wordsmith isn’t even that important for the job – what if you spend your days writing in code as a software developer? Or maybe you’re in finance?

Essentially, it’s a fairly redundant phrase, and the words you use to, you know, communicate, in your CV and covering letter should say enough about how good your communication skills are.

Related post: Don’t bumble your CV with buzzwords

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