5 Overused CV Words You Should Avoid

We’re all guilty of relying on words we’ve heard other people use on their CVs. Certain words feel very professional, using language we assume is ideal for the workplace. But how many of these words are companies tired of hearing when you are describing why you are a perfect for the position? Why not avoid these common terms and make your CV stand out from the crowd?

When applying for an English-speaking job abroad, it helps to know which words not to use. The most important thing to keep in mind when putting your CV together is that you want to make a unique impression, one that separates your CV from the rest on the pile. We’ve laid out the top 5 most overused words that hiring managers see on CVs every day. That way, you know what to avoid and what alternatives might be more effective.

good interview CV
Steer clear of these terms and your CV will improve drastically


1. Motivated

It’s easy to assume that everyone who is applying for the position is motivated. Just sending your CV out illustrates your motivation. Although this word feels like it’s showing your passion and enthusiasm, it is actually really vague. How are you motivated? What examples prove that motivation? Just saying that you are motivated doesn’t actually show it.

What to say instead: This is your chance to show how excited you are to work for this company. Instead of saying you are “motivated,” you should highlight a key aspect of the company that inspires you. This shows them that you did your research and are actually eager to work for them.


2. Creative

There is nothing wrong with being creative. In fact, the more creative you are, the better your chances are for getting jobs in specific fields. However, pretty much everyone lists himself or herself as creative when they are applying for a job. You should be ready to back this claim up; otherwise it is not worth including on your CV.

What to say instead: Try using the word “dexterous” instead because it is more specific and implies that you are a problem-solver. Words like this also illustrate a strong vocabulary, which can make anyone look good.

creative CV
Your level of creativity depends on the type of job you are applying for


3. Extensive experience

This is always a fine line to balance. On one hand, you want to come across as extremely qualified for the position. On the other, you don’t want it to look like you can’t hold a job and keep jumping from one position to another. Just stating that you have “extensive experience” is extremely vague and may come across as though you are manipulating the truth.

What to say instead: It’s best to only list the experience that is relevant to the position. If you worked as a barista for 3 weeks 5 years ago, it’s probably not worth including on the CV. However, internships and other positions that are in the same field will highlight that you are a knowledgeable candidate.


4. Dynamic

This is another one of those words that says nothing. Stating that you are a dynamic employee doesn’t actually relay any extra information, unless you have an example or further explanation to back it up.

What to say instead: Use precise language, such as “diligent” or “resourceful” to illustrate that you are a hard worker that can adapt to any project or situation.


5. Successful

Most people use this term so that the new employer will think highly of them. We always want to come across as a success, which should, in theory, make us the right person for the job. However it is very likely that this term can come across as arrogant.

What to say instead: Alternatively, you can use the phrase “top-performing” which shows that you have shone within your previous positions without seeming too self-rewarding.

successful CV
Provide concrete examples of times when you were a productive and valuable member of your team


Have any more questions or suggestions about how to write a CV? Ask us in the comment section below.

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