Cli·ché n. A trite or overused expression or idea
Print your CV out, put it in front of you and grab a red pen. Here’s a list of the most common CV clichés:
1. Team player/people person/customer-focussed
3. Hardworking/proactive/motivated/strong work ethic
4. Great communication skills/good communicator
5. Proven track record/experienced
6. Problem solver
7. Fast-paced environment
9. References available on request
If you gasped in horror at A) how normal these expressions seem and B) how many of them are in your CV? Keep reading.
That’s exactly what has happened: millions of people everywhere have used and used and finally overused these expressions to the point where they no longer have any meaning.
Everyone wants to be ‘dynamic’, so they put it in their CV, whether they’re dynamic or not. So how are recruiters supposed to tell if any of these words constitute a valid self-assessment? The answer is they can’t.
What recruiters want you to do is use language that illustrates your own successes. Instead of ‘proven track record’ or ‘experienced’, describe over what period you achieved something tangible and relevant to the employer you’re targeting.
Think about your CV as a character description in a book. Novels, written from the protagonist’s point of view, will never describe the character explicitly. The author uses situations, events and outcomes that allow the reader to infer those characteristics.
Write about something you’ve made, saved, solved, or achieved that will be interesting to the recruiter and will enable them to infer the attributes you want to demonstrate.
Remember, characteristics such as enthusiasm and energy will be witnessed by the recruiter in person if you get to the interview stage, and how ‘detail-orientated’ you are will be apparent by your meticulously spell/grammar-checked CV.
You need to be concise in your personal statement, but it’s not about cramming as many buzzwords into that little paragraph as you can; it’s about choosing your sentences wisely. Your personal statement should be personal, genuine, relevant and, where possible, objectively measurable.
Lastly, recruiters really dislike ‘references available on request’. Either include details of relevant references or leave it off altogether. It’s assumed they’ll be able to contact your references; otherwise, they won’t be offering you the job!
References: Forbes; Thatsthejob; Sigmar Recruitment