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By Joan Igamba

The words or language you use on your CV can have a huge bearing on whether you make that interview shortlist.

I understand how CV clichés or certain phrases will automatically come to mind when writing about your skills or experience. However, if you use words that are overused instead of action verbs to make your achievements known then your CV will not stand out.

Here’s a list of CV clichés to avoid at all costs.

1. A Hard worker

This word on its own is the vaguest phrase you can use to describe yourself. A hard worker does not mean a productive worker or an employee with good worth ethic.  Instead you could say that you have productivity and time management skills. This is because an employee with those skills is able to achieve a lot more for an organization. Include an example of these skills in action in order to add credibility to your CV.

2. A fast learner

I see why this is tempting to use especially for fresh graduates because you might be lacking in a skill but are willing to learn. Instead of this you should describe a time that you grasped a concept quickly. For example while starting at an internship. An impressive phrase to use instead of fast learner is ‘self-taught.’ For instance, self-taught coder. Then illustrate how learning a new programming language has helped you advance professionally.

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3. Strong attention to detail

Being detail oriented is important. Even before you submit your CV, proofread it and make sure that it does not have any errors. However, this cliché is often used by many without any real life, powerful example. If you do not have a scenario to use that will show just how attentive you are to details, it is best to leave it out of your CV.

4. Good communication skills

Again, this is too general of a skill to put on your CV. Instead talk about the negotiation skills, the proposal writing skills or even presentation or pitching skills you have and how exceptional they are. Back up your claim with real life examples.

5. A great team player

This is one of those phrases that have come to be a little meaningless to employers especially if it is not backed up by evidence. You can replace this overused phrase by making sure that you illustrate a time that you managed to be a part of a team by allowing each person involved to shine as individuals and achieve a certain goal.

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6. Results driven

Instead of simply stating that you are motivated by achieving results, you can mention the skills you have gained from achieving these results. If you increased sales by 25% in your previous role, ask yourself how did I do that? If you did that by using your great network then instead of saying you are results driven, say that you have great networking skills that helped you achieve that result. This will be valuable information for the employer to have.

In conclusion,

If this article has made you realise that your CV needs some polishing up, then you are in the right place. Our CV writing team could help you get started. All you have to do is email and you will get your CV redone to ensure that it impresses employers.