Top Words NOT to Use on Your CV

Notepad and pen

Figuring out how to prepare a CV for a job application is never an entirely straightforward business. In fact, any Google search will reveal that there’s quite a bit of conflicting advice, tricks and tips for writing the perfect CV knocking about out there.

The whole process just got a little bit easier this week, though, with the release by online business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn of the words you should NOT be using on your CV, online job profile or cover letter.

And the overused words not to use on your CV were… drum roll, please…

  • Motivated
  • Creative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Passionate
  • Track record
  • Driven
  • Extensive experience
  • Wide range
  • Responsible
  • Strategic
  • Here at Oxford Learning College, we’re pretty much down with most of these. In a world where recruiters are thought to spend an average of 6.25 seconds looking at your application, you’ve got to get these things absolutely bang-on.

    The likes of ‘motivated’, ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘passionate’ shouldn’t really appear anywhere near a job application. Why? Well as well as being clichés that have been made meaningless with overuse, they’re more than a bit woolly. There’s a rule of thumb in politics that if a politician wouldn’t say the opposite of a public statement, then they shouldn’t say make the statement at all. This pretty much rings true across the board: if you wouldn’t describe yourself as ‘listless’, ‘unenthusiastic’, ‘lacklustre’ and ‘indifferent’, say, then perhaps your enthusiasm is not worth pointing out.

    So those are a few buzzwords you should NOT use on a CV or job application. What about those you should be including? In a separate recent study, top words thought to catch a potential employer’s eye included:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained/mentored
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved
  • Volunteered
  • Influenced
  • Increased/decreased
  • Ideas
  • Negotiated
  • Launched
  • Revenue/profits
  • Under budget
  • Won
  • So there you have it – if you want to get a job at a top company, don’t simply be passively ‘motivated’ and ‘enthusiastic’ but instead make sure you lay out how you actively ‘achieve’, ‘improve’, ‘create’ and ‘resolve’.

    Hands up, then – who’s got the majority of those on their CV or online job profile?

    Like our pick of words not to use on your CV? For more tips on landing that dream job, see our top 10 tips for how to write the perfect CV.