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Job interview skills: words to avoid when writing your CV

CV mistakes to avoid

Writing a great CV requires good job interview skills but did you know that it also requires a good knowledge of what words to avoid when writing your CV?

There are some generally accepted do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing your CV. For example, you can significantly improve your chances of getting that job interview if you tailor the CV for specific roles, avoid inflating the truth about your experience, keep your CV to two pages or under, use active verbs to describe your skills and make sure you have no spelling mistakes.

However, there is another subtle practice that you should also try to avoid repeating when you write your CV, a habit picked up by a survey carried out by the professional social networking site, LinkedIn. It is the overuse of phrases that have led to cliches that simply go over the head of the person reading your CV.

Words that can harm your job interview chances

After looking at more than 85 million LinkedIn profiles posted worldwide, the social networking site came up with the 10 most overused buzzwords. Since most profiles are made up of words used to describe a person’s career and experience, these are buzzwords likely also to be repeated on CVs. This is really important when you consider that these are words that could potentially harm your chances of landing an interview.

They were:

  • Extensive experience
  • Innovative
  • Motivated
  • Results-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Proven track record
  • Team player
  • Fast-paced
  • Problem solver
  • Entrepreneurial

Since your CV is the most important and first piece of information any employer will read about you it is essential that you use words and phrases that will grab their attention rather than send them to sleep.

This can be challenging because you need to use industry specific phrases, especially as many CVs are searched and sorted electronically.

You also need to show how your skills and experience matches the job you are after.

How to use improve your interview chances with a good CV

There are two things you can do to avoid boring a recruiter with a CV that looks the same as everyone else’s. First, avoid copying other people’s CVs. You would be surprised at the number of graduates that simply copy other CVs because they sound ‘important’. After writing your CV go back and rephrase the words or statements that are vague or general, especially if you identify them as belonging to the list above.

Secondly, be more specific with your descriptions by keeping in mind exactly what you did. You could improve the readability of your CV by summarising projects and their outcomes, for example, by using statistics to describe a result.

Your CV is an important sales tool to help you secure that all-important interview and has just 30 seconds to make an impression with an employer. It does take some work to get your CV right but it will be worth it in the end.

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