The best CVs cover no more than one or two pages and give recruiters and employers a concise and evidence-based picture of who you are and what you have done.
Too many job seekers waste space with meaningless words, which can damage their prospects.
If you want to win yourself a place at interview take a look at these 12 words which have no place on a CV. Take every single useless phrase off your CV immediately!
1. "Team Player"
Every job involves some aspects of teamwork, working with other people means just that. If you really do believe that working well as part of a team is one of your key skills, illustrate this with a genuine example of when a team has benefited from your input.
The concept of ‘experience’ means very little on its own. Have you managed complex tech projects with multiple stakeholders for ten years, or just the once? If you held your last post for 17 years, make that clear.
If your experience is minimal, you won’t fool a recruiter with the word ‘experienced’. Take it off your CV right now, and replace it with timeframes or relevant qualifications and training, to build a clearer picture of your career background.
As annoying as this might be if you’re a stubborn one-trick pony who hates change, all employers expect flexibility these days. This doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to fly the plane when you’ve only been cabin crew before, but it does mean showing willing to switch between tasks, hotdesk, and perhaps work changing shift patterns.
If this comes up at interview, turn it into a positive: work can be much more interesting when each day brings new challenges.
Over time, your employer should come to care about you as an individual. Before you’ve been hired you need to show what you’ll bring to the role, not demonstrate how happy it will make you. These thoughts belong on your Facebook page.
Strip the words ‘I’ and ‘My’ from your CV as far as possible, and you’ll see straight away how much more work-focused it makes you sound.
5. "Microsoft Word"
One would hope you’ve grasped how to use this program by now! Using valuable space on your CV to express skills a 12-year-old should understand wastes space and makes you look behind the times.
Instead, do mention advanced or specific tech skills or software knowledge if relevant to the positions you are applying for.
Various means ‘more than one’, or ‘a number of different’. However it doesn’t give that person making snap judgements based on CVs any more information than using the plural of the ‘various’ you are referring to. Have you worked with various clients? Did you negotiate various $1m deals? Use the plural.
If you have to use an adjective, choose one that means something. Maybe the clients were international and the deals were self-generated. Help the employer out while helping yourself!
7. Your age
Usually an employer can work this out based on your education and employment history, though you could disguise this by stating the number of years or months you worked somewhere instead of the actual dates.
While it’s illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of age, employers are less likely to interview the over-50s - which is why this age group is often out of work for more than a year.
Need we say more? After ‘awesome’, this is one of the most overused words today, both written and spoken. As well as sounding too chatty, the problem with words such as ‘amazing’ is that they are subjective. One person’s ‘amazing’ is another person’s ‘average’.
Whether you are including details of your referees or stating ‘references available’ on your CV, why are you bothering? Any recruiter expects references to be available if they require them, and it’s your job to have them in place.
Make sure you have up-to-date contact details (email and telephone) for your referees, and make them aware when you are applying for something new and they may be contacted - it’s a good excuse to make contact with a former employer too.
10. "Highly qualified"
Oh fancy, look at you and your highly qualified-ness! On what basis are you highly qualified then? Do you have a postgraduate degree perhaps, or the highest level qualification available in your field? Well, include details of these useful credentials on your CV instead of the words 'highly qualified', to give the employer an accurate picture of your qualifications.
Being hardworking in undoubtedly a good quality in an employee. However, when this information is coming from the job hunter, it isn’t useful. Get rid of it!
Do you think that other people aren’t hardworking? Or that you have an advantage, because some people describe themselves as ‘an average worker’ or ‘a bit lazy’ on their CVs?
FYI: your boss has to haul his or her own ass to work in the morning, they don’t want to have to haul yours in too. Nor do they want to prod and poke you every time a job needs doing at work.
It doesn’t matter at what level or in which industry you’re working. Whether you have dishes to wash or drones to man, all employees should be motivated to fulfil their own job.
If you are motivated to do more than your job description, make that clear instead.
By Sophie Morris
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