5 things to avoid including in your CV

It is no secret that the job market is highly competitive, and that it is a tough challenge nowadays just trying to get your CV noticed. On average, a recruiter will scan a CV for less than 20 seconds – leaving you very little time to impress them. It is therefore crucial to get your CV right and make those precious seconds count.

Here is a short list of things NOT to include if you want to make that lasting impression.


  1. Avoid overused buzzwords

We often hear about the top keywords to include in your CV to get noticed. But ironically, with everyone using them, recruiters read these “buzzwords” over and over again and they end up having no meaning.

According to LinkedIn, the most used buzzword on people’s profiles is “motivated”. “Specialised” is another word that appears on most CVs, closely followed by “leadership” and “experienced”.

Other words that appear far too often are “successful”, “passionate” and “enthusiastic”.

In a previous article we suggested different ways of saying these most common buzzwords – see here. For example, instead of using “motivated” why not use words such as inspired, enthused or determined to achieve success?


  1. Avoid generic terminology

Other phrases to avoid at all costs are vague terminologies such as “responsible for”, “thought leadership” or “results-driven”.

Being “responsible for a team” doesn’t give much proof of your capabilities or what role you played. Instead, use decisive verbs such as “managed” or “directed” with facts and figures.


  1. Show, don’t tell

It is meaningless to claim something without the facts and figures to back it up.

Instead of using keywords, describe your best examples. Explain what drives you, what inspires you the most in your job or your best achievements. This will help recruiters get a better insight on who you are and what you can bring to the table.

A good tactic is to use numbers alongside buzzwords to show your value. This will get your CV noticed and give you credibility.

For example – “I managed a team of 10 people and successfully launched X bringing in a revenue of Y over 3 years”.


  1. Remove any irrelevant experience

As mentioned previously, a recruiter will spend less than 20 seconds looking at your CV, so make sure all the information you provide is relevant to the role you are applying for. Keep your CV to the point.


  1. Remove the unnecessary

And finally, remove any other information from your CV that is unnecessary at this stage of the application process. Here is a list of a few items that often appear on CVs and have no place being there.

  • The words “References available upon request “
  • The words “Salary is negotiable “
  • More than one address
  • A headshot

Stand out from the crowd, think about what experiences you have which are relevant to the role and set you aside from the crowd. Recruiters don’t want to see yet another generic CV, they want to see a concise CV full of examples and proof of your capabilities.

For more advice on how to improve your CV, contact us.


Posted in: Candidates, Careers Advice, General, News