Pen and CV

June 28, 2013, by Jemma Utley

CV Clichés

Now, we know that you get told by parents, employers and us that you need to make sure your CV is the best representation of you and your skills as it is your primary marketing tool in the labour market. However, many people are guilty of writing like a windows salesperson! Here are the first five of our CV clichés:

‘Being able to work independently as well as in a team’

How many lego men does it take to change a lightbulb?
Why not? Because all that you are demonstrating is that you are able to work. Give examples to back it up.
Top tip: Discuss an extracurricular project or activity that requires team work and working alone e.g. starting your own business, fundraising, being part of a band or theatre group.

Using superlatives such as ‘entirely’ and ‘always’


I am faster than you can possibly imagine!

Why not? Because you could appear arrogant as a superlative indicates that you have no room to improve as you are ‘the best’. A superlative is not measurable if it isn’t backed up with proof and presents an unrealistic idea of who you are; you’re not superman (or woman) you’re superlativeman.
Top tip: When shortening your CV the superlatives should be the first to go, they take up space which could be filled with evidence of your capabilities!

‘Being punctual’

You should show your punctuality by turning up to the interview on time!
Why not? Being on time to work shouldn’t be a big deal as punctuality is a basic expectation of employers. If you are applying for a job that requires meticulous time-management skills then once again give an example. Note: waking up on time for lectures is not one of them.

Using archaic words such as ‘whilst’, ‘amongst’ and ‘furthermore’

You're not Shakespeare
Why not? Using archaic words like these creates a sense of grandeur that does not apply to CV writing, it also could alert the employer to your lack of understanding of contemporary grammar and vocabulary. This mostly applies to those wanting a writing career, especially if it includes writing for advertising, web pages and social media. But you still shouldn’t do it.

Overused inspirational quotes that you found on Google

How it feels sometimes when you are applying for jobs
Why not? It takes up space that could be filled by examples of why you are right for the job. It indicates to employers that you don’t have any original ideas and most of your principles are based on Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King… ‘I have a dream’ that I will get the job.
Top tip: Take time to think about what your principles are and how you have demonstrated them.

Want to write a better CV?  Have a look on our website and then book an appointment with one of our advisers.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers Advice