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10 Clich's To Avoid In Your Resume

10 Clich's To Avoid In Your Resume

Employers receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of CVs every day, and you can bet the majority of them are outgoing, dynamic problem solvers with good team building skills and a passion for solutions. So adding another to the pile full of clich'd resumes will not get you very far in your job search. What you need to do is get yourself to the top of that pile by standing out, giving your CV real meaning and personality so that you shine through all the meaningless clich's and get noticed for your genuine and individual talents.

To help you navigate the minefield of management speak clich's, here’s the 10 most popular clich'd words phrases to avoid at all costs when sprucing your CV:

1.'“I am very enthusiastic...“ Enthusiasm is something that, yes, is required for you to be a candidate for the job, but it doesn’t need to be overstated. In fact, it doesn’t need to be stated at all, as upon applying for the position it can be assumed by the recruitment staff that you are enthusiastic about the job because otherwise why would you apply? Over-stating enthusiasm spells out desperation to the trained employment eye, so tick the word ‘enthusiastic’ off your keyword list right away

2. “I am very passionate about…“ Similarly to enthusiasm, stating that you are passionate about something can appear desperate and clich'd. You can express an interest in something, but passionate is a very over used and extreme word, and doesn’t really have a place in CVs. Management throw it around far too much, and so it has worked its way into the world of resumes, but as with many management keywords it has become far too over used in the wrong context. Note: replace it with interested, or leave out completely.

3. “I can work independently/I work well as part of a team.” These phrases annoyingly get reeled off far too often and unsurprisingly grind the gears of many employers. It may sound very clever and professional on the outset, but carefully consider what you are saying. That you can work independently means you can get your head down and get on with things, and that you work well as part of a team again suggests you can do the basic principles of any job. It isn’t a particularly noteworthy feat when you think about it that way is it? So don’t make a note of it on your CV.

4. “I am a dynamic....”Just stop and think for a moment. Do you actually know what being dynamic means? Or does it just sound good because you’ve heard it on The Apprentice? I definitely don’t know what a dynamic person is like but I read it all too often in job descriptions and CVs!

5. “I am solution focussed.” A slightly older variation of ‘problem solver’, this phrase gets tossed around in CVs like it’s something to shout about. But when you really consider it, who isn’t solution focussed? What is the opposite to a solution focussed person? A problem focussed person? It’s just another meaningless bit of management jargon.

6. “I’m a creative...” Thinker? Problem solver? Visionary? All of these things sound great to be don’t they, but like many of the above attributes, does anyone really know what it means to be one?! And for once, being creative is actually one of the attributes that is taken seriously when it comes to the applications process. Being a creative individual is a sought after trait, but if you are creative then you shouldn’t need to throw this word around too liberally, as your creativity will shine through.

7. “I have extensive experience in…”If you genuinely have a lot of professional experience in an area, then yes this is an acceptable phrase to use. But when summarising your part time summer job or 2 week internship as ‘extensive experience in retail’ or whatever areas it was in, then we have an issue. To be able to consider yourself to have extensive experience in anything you should have YEARS of experience, not WEEKS or MONTHS.

8. “I am highly motivated.” ‘Well good for you’ is a phrase that comes to mind when reading applications and resumes with this phrase on. It could mean anything, from being highly motivated enough to get out of bed before midday, or enough to go down the shops when you run out of milk. It’s a management speak clich which, again, gets used far too often. The only alternative to highly motivated is completely unmotivated, which would mean you wouldn’t likely be applying for the job. So it doesn’t need stating!

9. “I enjoy reading and socialising.” When it comes to hobbies and interests these are the two most over used words in the book. Every part of your application form or resume should add value to your application, so only offer up hobbies and interests that can give even more reasons for you to be considered as a shortlist candidate and let some personality shine through, so you aren’t just another CV in the pile.

10. “Curriculum Vitae.” Do not, by any means, name your CV file ‘Curriculum Vitae’. It’s the biggest clich in the book, and it annoys employers because... you are absolutely, undoubtedly stating the obvious. Instead, rename the file with your own name. It’s all about you, so own it!

There are hundreds more resume clichs that crop up, but there just isn’t enough time in the day to go through them all with you! But the best advice we can give to you is: let your personality and achievements do the talking.

Don’t throw fancy words and phrases at it to try and impress, just have confidence in your own experiences and achievements, and write in your own (although keep it formal) voice and the real person will shine through all the clichs cluttering up the employer’s desk.

If you are feeling less that sure about your skills and qualifications, why not look at boosting your CV with some career training? Take a look at what courses we have on offer to help increase your employability today!

So ditch the clichs and start applying for more jobs today!


Maria Lalor



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