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Six clichés to avoid on your CV

There are certain buzzwords and turns of phrase that have recruiters everywhere grinding their teeth. Remember, these people have to sift through hundreds of CVs and cover letters before narrowing things down to a handful of applicants, so they tend to read the same tired old clichés over and over.

Claiming to be a ‘team player’ and having the ability to ‘think outside the box’ won’t make you stand out from the crowd and may even put recruiters off. Lizzie Exton who writes for Inspiring Interns, reveals her top six clichés to avoid at all cost when polishing up your CV.

I’m highly motivated

So is everyone else.  Nobody is going to confess that they prefer to sit back and see how things pan out, and recruiters just automatically assume that if you’ve got the motivation to apply, then you’ll have the motivation to do the job. Few people are happy to take a back seat when it comes to advancing their careers – you don’t need to point it out to them.

I’m a creative thinker

The old ‘creative thinker’ cliché really does wind recruiters up. It’s one of the most over-used phrases on a CV, because nobody wants to think they are unimaginative and sticks rigidly to the rules.  It’s hardly showing creative thinking by wheeling out this phrase, and if you really are a creative individual then it will shine through of its own accord.

I’m a puzzle solver

As with claiming to be a creative thinker, people who have to lay on thick what a great ‘puzzle solver’ they are seldom show any real talent for it. Most people can solve problems when they arise. Telling recruiters that you’re good at finding solutions isn’t going to impress them in the slightest because it’s more or less a given.

I am results-driven

As opposed to what? There isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t want to see a positive outcome from whatever tasks they undertake, so claiming to be ‘results driven’ really just means you’re a normal human being.

In my spare time I like to…

You might think it’s demonstrating what a well-rounded individual you are, but recruiters aren’t interested in what you do in your free time. Telling them about how you enjoy reading/woodworking/training for the marathon isn’t going to make any difference to how successful your application is because employers only care about what you do during office hours.

I am responsible for…

Being responsible for doing something and doing it well aren’t necessarily the same thing.  Everyone is ‘responsible’ for something in their working life, whether it’s keeping the stock cupboard tidy or supervising a team of fifty. Instead of writing about all the things you have to manage, set out clear examples of your success in your current or previous role – recruiters want to see and not simply be told how responsible you can be.

If you want your CV to stand out from the pile your prospective employers have to wade through, cut out all the jargon and clichés which get under recruiters’ skins. A polished CV doesn’t need to rely on these tired old stock phrases and they’re not going to do you any favours – read over your resumé and remove them if you want a better shot at landing your perfect job.