5 Cliché Lines Seriously Harming Your CV

If you want your CV to stand out from the crowd, don’t make it sound like everyone else’s. By that, we mean:

  • Make it specific to the job you are applying for.
  • Make sure you highlight all your relevant experience, both personally and professionally, to demonstrate why you’re the right fit for the role.
  • Format your CV correctly to the current standards.
  • Spell check it once, twice, three times.

And never include the following five cliché lines. No matter how much you think they add value to your already glowing CV, trust us, they don’t. If anything, they detract from what you have to say, wind up recruiters and could even work against you.


1. Hardworking

Of course, every employer wants to know that you’re hardworking, but rather than tell them you are, demonstrate it. Use tangible evidence, backed up with quantifiable results, to highlight what a grafter you are.


List your career highlights and accomplishments if you have to. Just don’t utter the phrase ‘I’m a hard worker’. Let them decipher that for themselves. Instead try to come across as passionate, enthusiastic and eager to get the job done, whatever that job may be.


However, avoid using the words ‘passionate’ and ‘enthusiastic’ too, lest you run the risk of sounding like an overly keen American cheerleader.


2. Team player

This may come as a surprise, but most people are capable of working in a team. It’s a life skill that we acquire as we grow up and something that even if you don’t like doing it, you’re still capable of doing.


So leave this cliché phrase out. Instead, choose to talk about the project that you worked on as a team member and the value you added there (again make sure you provide hard numbers to back up your claims).


3. Extensive experience.

This one sounds like you’re trying too hard – so again, show, don’t tell. If you have a wealth of experience in the industry and have acquired all of the job recruiter’s desirable skills over the course of your work history to date, then list them on your CV.


This is what makes your CV relevant and not just another generic one. Draw upon your ‘extensive experience’ to demonstrate the key skills that the job advert calls for from the ideal candidate.

4. I like socialising

If you’re going to have a section on your CV that talks about your interests and you list ‘socialising’, you might want to go back to the drawing board and have another go. This isn’t a dating application; you’re applying for a job.


You only have two pages of A4 with which to impress the recruiters, so if those two pages of A4 aren’t filled with relevant work and personal experience, then you should have a rethink.


Besides, if the only thing you can think to include in your hobbies section if you insist on including it on your CV anyway, is ‘socialising’, how generic are you? Everyone likes socialising; it’s what makes us human.


So, set yourself apart from the crowd and, at the very least, include hobbies and interests that align with the job you are applying for, or ones that demonstrate desirable qualities in a potential employee. Something like skydiving – this shows you aren’t afraid to take risks, or volunteering – this demonstrates you are capable of thinking about more than just yourself.

5. Attention to detail

This line is a particular classic, especially when paired with a CV that’s riddled with spelling mistakes, is incorrectly formatted and has appalling grammar. You want your CV to back up any claims you make, not discredit them.


So, if you do have incredible attention to detail and you want to talk about it (if it’s relevant), use a real-life example to demonstrate it, otherwise, save yourself the time and hassle and leave it off.


Finally, there’s a lengthy list of other harmful clichés that are best avoided, but there’s no need to list them here. Just remember your CV has to sing and shout about you when you can’t be there to do it yourself, so make it stand out. Make it original and make it perfect – spell check, spell check, spell check.


CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.


If you are looking for your next career challenge call us on 01743 247774 or email us here.

About A and D Recruitment 

A&D Recruitment is a vibrant, independent employment agency specialising in Renewable Energy & Building Services sectors. 

Founded by recruitment experts Alessia and Darren Williams, A&D Recruitment has successfully placed candidates in a diverse range of roles over the last 12 years.  

To get in contact call 01743 247774 or email on info@aanddrecruitment.co.uk 

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