The Candidate Super Series: 7 Phrases to Scrap from Your CV

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Ryan Kaye

- August 1st, 2022
Candidate Hub

It’s time for Part Five of the Candidate Super Series. Here are a few CV phrases you can safely eliminate from yours, as they don’t add value and take up unnecessary space.

Words not to use on CV

Want to create a standout CV? Looking for some power phrases to bolster your CV? The sentences and words you avoid using in them are just as critical as those you do.

Numerous applicants turn to commonplace buzzwords and sentences to amaze hiring managers. However, they usually have the opposite effect.

Employers receive masses – if not thousands – of CVs for a single job role and spend as little as 30 seconds glancing at them. So, if you want yours to catch their attention, it’s time to get creative.

Once you’ve written an initial draft of your CV, take a look over it and inspect it for the following phrases to prevent damaging your chances of scoring an interview.

1. “I work well individually or in a team” 

cv phrases examplesGood phrases for a CV certainly don’t involve this sentence – it’s a real annoyance for countless hiring managers.

Essentially, it means “I’m okay at working” – and that doesn’t do an awful lot to convince a recruiter that they need to hire you.

To demonstrate you have the skills to work autonomously and contribute to the team, then demonstrate this in your job role descriptions.

Write about how your team depends on your work, offer the specifics of any team structure you sit within, and be sure to shout about your personal accomplishments.

2. “I’m hard-working”

When creating a CV, stating you’re “hard-working” won’t sway any major hiring decisions. It’s a statement anyone can make. We see variations of this all the time. And we find that hardly any candidates can back it up with examples.

Rather than using overused CV phrases such as this, back it up with proof of what you’ve done in the previous company that made you go the extra mile. Talk about times you’ve earned a promotion or taken on extra projects. Doing so will demonstrate you’re eager to pull up your socks and knuckle down without it being a false claim.

3. “I’m results-driven”

CV phrases

Another major CV phrase no-no is stating you’re results-driven. Sentences like this aren’t often backed up with proof.

Rather than informing hiring managers that you’re results-driven, show them the results you’ve accomplished.

Summarise each job position description. Include several notable attainments that offered benefits to your clients or employer.

And if you can, back them up with figures and facts. Recruiters will no doubt be impressed by the mark you made.

4. “I’m a good communicator”

We all know that great communication skills are critical – it’s the bread and butter of any job. As such, there’s not a lot of point in mentioning it. What’s more, if you have good communication skills, then you need to demonstrate them by using standout CV sentence examples.

To grab the attention of employers, we suggest using a user-friendly CV structure featuring easy-to-read headings and broken-up text, coupled with impeccable spelling and grammar. This will more than show hiring managers that you’re an outstanding communicator.

5. “I can problem solve”

CV sentences like “I’m a problem solver” do little to sell your skills. Problem-solving is part and parcel of any job. However, the sentence on its own isn’t precise enough to justify insertion in your CV. Recruiters will just wonder why you’ve included this phrase in the first place.

We advise pausing to ponder what specific issues you solved for your bosses, and talk about those instead. Perhaps you decreased monthly expenditures by a certain percentage. Or maybe you reduced company spending.

6. “I’m a guru”

cv sentence examples

Sure, you need to boast a bit to sell yourself. But saying you’re a “guru”, “thought-leader”, or “visionary” isn’t the best CV phrase to use.

That’s just going one step too far.

All you’ll accomplish from using self-promoting CV phrases examples such as these are a couple of giggles from hiring managers as they hand your CV around for entertainment.

The secret to selling yourself is doing it delicately and diluting it with buzzwords like “effective”, “efficient”, and “accomplished”.

7. “I enjoy socialising with friends”

Employers won’t get excited by CV phrases like this, as just about everyone socialises with their loved ones.

If you decide to talk about your interests and hobbies, then be sure they apply to the position you’re applying for or inspiring (like a fundraising project or marathon). Telling employers you enjoy walking or heading to the cinema most likely won’t affect your application.

And finally…

So, before updating or writing your CV, consider how a recruiter will receive it. If it sounds silly to you, it’ll sound silly to them. Make sure you avoid pointless cliches. Instead, give them figures, facts, and experiences about what makes you the best candidate and how you can help their finance, fintech, or banking company.