The most overused buzzwords that can ruin your cv

Posted by | October 06, 2014 | Career Advice | No Comments

Imagine being a recruiter and having to sift through droves of applications every day. Imagine reading the same meaningless jargon, empty clichés and recycled buzzwords, over and over again. How refreshing, then, to come across a CV that sounds original.

If you want your CV to be original rather than generic, then there are certain phrases that you need to avoid like the plague if you are not going to back them up. These are the 10 most overused phrases that can ruin your CV, and your chances:

1.Team player 

Anyone can say that they’re a team player, but you need to show that you are. Instead of using this horribly overused phrase, think of a concrete example of how you work well as a team. Show, don’t tell.

2.Responsible for…

Your cover letter should highlight your achievements, and being ‘responsible for’ something is not a thing you have achieved. Instead of using this rather passive phrase, try stronger terms such as ‘led’ or ‘launched’.


This is a particularly clichéd term, but if you have to use it, at least make sure that it’s true. If you claim to pay attention to detail when your CV is full of typos, no recruiter is going to take you very seriously.

4.Track record of success

Be more precise and state how you were successful. For example, ‘increased Facebook followers by 50% in the first month’.


If you are creative, then it is far more effective to let this show through your writing than to state it in your CV.  How about providing some examples.


It should really go without saying that you are hard-working. Instead of using this phrase, explain exactly how you’ve gone the extra mile.


This will sound pretty meaningless without an example. Explain how you took action when you saw something that needed to be improved.


If you weren’t qualified for the job, then you wouldn’t be applying (hopefully). Leave this out completely.

9.Curriculum vitae

You don’t need to give your CV a title. Recruiters will know what it is.

10.References available on request

Far too many CV’s end with this phrase. There is no need for it. It can be assumed that candidates will provide references when asked.

Your CV is your introduction to a business, make it a good one.

About Mark Lennard

Mark has 24 years of experience in the UK staffing industry from working as a recruiter to setting up recruitment businesses within IT, Law and Medical sectors.