5 Overused phrases in your CV you should probably avoid

23 April 2020 Lisa Cooley

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​When writing a CV, it’s hard to avoid clichés entirely – we all do it. But if it sounds cringe, it probably is. Recruiters get sent hundreds of CVs, so you need to stand out for the right reasons. You only have a few seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention, so it’s important to avoid filler words and fluff. The key is to show rather than tell. To improve your chances of getting an interview, it might be time to replace the following phrases:

Hard working

It’s understandable that you want to show hiring managers you have a strong work ethic, but let’s face it, no one is likely to declare themselves a slacker on their CV. In other words, saying you’re a hard worker adds little value to your application. You need to give examples of where you have gone the extra mile to complete a project or to meet a deadline. The recruiter or hiring manager will be looking for evidence of your hard work. It’s far too easy to say you’re hard-working without backing it up. You need to show off your achievements to really stand out.

Works well in a team or individually

All recruiters expect candidates to be able to work well in a team or individually. These are mandatory skills, which employers don’t consider a major accolade. Quite simply, it’s not worth including on your CV. What you should do instead is demonstrate your ability to contribute to a team and how you’re confident working alone. You can do this when writing your role responsibilities. Be sure to include details of the different types of projects you’ve worked on and the type of people you interact with. However, make sure the information feeds into the company you’re applying to work for.

Communication skills

A well-written CV demonstrates that a candidate has good communication skills, so it should go without saying. It’s important to avoid phrases like “interpersonal skills”, too. When your objective is to stand out, these terms are not eye-catching enough. Instead, give interesting details that will give the recruiter confidence.

Creative

It’s difficult to measure creativity, so it can come across as a rather subjective on a CV. Try to think of a more original adjective to describe your creativity. Also, avoid words like “innovative” because unless you’re the next Elon Musk, it’s a very bold claim.

Strong attention to detail

Recruiters can easily assess your attention to detail through spelling and grammar in your CV and cover letter. Instead, convey this skillset through your work experience.

These five phrases are being used in the CV of nearly everyone looking for a job. You need to make every word count and convey your skills in meaningful ways. Focus on facts and specific details rather than stock phrases that don’t mean anything to the recruiter. It can be a challenge to omit these overused terms, but as soon as you do, it could make a huge difference.