CV Clichés – Actions Speak Louder Than Words


After reading countless CVs day in, day out here at Sigmar, there are many a CV cliché that makes our eyes glaze over. Phrases such as ‘motivated, hard-working, team player’ and ‘enthusiastic individual with experience working in a fast-paced environment’ are white noise to us as recruiters yet we still see them appear on numerous CVs every day.


The problem for many job seekers, is that whilst the have accomplished many career goals and achievements, when it comes to writing their CV they can’t remember any of it. So when in a rush to throw a CV together they end up using the same words and phrases as everyone else. Your CV is your marketing tool for getting you an interview and you need to utilise it to distinguish you from the other candidates.


As recruiters, we want to see career progression, concrete examples of achievements and your growth within the company. Anything else is considered filler. Rather than listing your skills and job duties, demonstrate your accomplishments with specific examples. Providing examples will allows us as recruiters the ability to relate you to a specific role.


Whilst some clichés are unavoidable here’s our guide to working around the most common offenders;


Team Player

Probably the most overused phrase of the lot is ‘team player’, ‘thrives in a team environment’, ‘loves working as part of a team’. Don’t state one of these phrases, rather talk about an accomplishment that shows you’re a good team player. For example; ‘Headed up a team of sales people to create a new sales model that increased sales by 41%’.


Proven Track-Record

In what? What did you do to get this track record? Have you saved your company money? Have you reached ambitious targets? Quantify your results; ‘Over a period of 6 months, I brought in €150,000 of business and 15 new clients’. A company would be far more impressed with this statement than a vague comment.


Hard-Worker/Highly Motivated

Well, you’re not going to write that you’re a bit lazy are you? You’re not the only one using these clichés, so clean up your CV by stating how you go that extra mile. Did you take a class to improve your skills? Did you meet some really tough deadline? Show the HR manager what makes you this person with a strong work ethic, instead of using another cliché.


As you can see strong CVs make claims but then back them up with evidence. Smarter job hunters realise that trying to sell your personality on paper sets you up to fail. So to sum up make fewer claims and offer more evidence matched to the employer’s shopping list.

Posted by Ruth Tobin on 28 November 2017

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