4 clichés employment experts say you should never have on your CV

September 29, 2020 6:30:56 AM

4 clichés employment experts say you should never have on your CV

CVs are never easy to write – with limited space to demonstrate how amazing you are to an employer, it’s easy to resort to time-old clichés that will immediately lower your chances of getting that all-important first interview.

Whether you’re a ‘fast learner’ with ‘strong attention to detail’ or you’re a ‘results-driven individual’, there are some phrases and mistakes that set all recruiters on edge. We asked experts to share some CV pitfalls that any hopeful applicant should avoid.

1. Avoid being too generic

Ian Mckellen Win GIF by The Animal Crackers Movie - Find & Share on GIPHY

It can be tempting to borrow from CV jargon you find online, but it’s best to avoid sweeping statements that are so overused, they’ve practically become meaningless.

“A common mistake we see when reading CVs is generic phrases such as ‘I have a strong work ethic’ or ‘I am able to work well as part of a team and individually,” says Simon Bell, director and founder of Careermap.

“Yes, these are good qualities to have but how does the recruiter know you actually possess these? We want to see examples of how you have used these skills previously and why they are a good fit for the position you’re applying for.”

Bell says he looks for key skills used in the job description being implemented in your CV. “Not only does this show that you’ve read the job description, but it evidences that you’ve applied because you’re a good match for the job.”

2. Axe irrelevant hobbies

GIF by Kim's Convenience - Find & Share on GIPHY

While it’s great that you like taking long walks with your dog, the recruiter or employer probably won’t be all that interested in this, unless of course, it’s relevant to the job you’re applying to, says Bell.

“Adding your hobbies and interests is completely optional and when used to their full potential can actually help you to sell yourself, but they need to be skills related.

“For example, if you play for a sports team, this shows commitment, teamwork and leadership. Have your own blog? This highlights your communication skills.”

3. Watch out for bad attention to detail

Your Means Your Season 4 GIF by Friends - Find & Share on GIPHY

Bell says: “While having close attention to detail is important, you’d be surprised how many applicants say this, yet their CV is packed full of grammar and spelling mistakes.”

If you’re going to use this phrase, make sure you’re not one of the many who fall into the errors trap. Bell suggests running your CV through Grammarly, as well as getting someone else to cast a second pair of eyes on it.

4. Avoid the phrases ‘hardworking’ and ‘team player’

Happy You And I GIF by Rosanna Pansino - Find & Share on GIPHY

Being hardworking is arguably the least a potential employer will expect from you – and employers are more concerned with productivity, says Stephen Warnham, Jobs Expert at Totaljobs.

Instead, Warnham advises showing the results of your hard work.”Say something tangible, along the lines of, ‘I consistently delivered above target throughout a 12-month period, working directly with clients across a range of channels to ensure customer satisfaction.'”

The same goes for the phrase ‘team player’. “When talking about aspects of your personality, make sure to highlight how you use your enthusiasm to motivate colleagues,” says Warnham.  “Give examples of how you have used these skills in the past, rather than just telling people that you possess them.”