Six words to avoid on your CV

Six words to avoid on your CV

When writing your CV, you need to make sure you are creating a document which not only demonstrates your professional skillset and attributes but one that gives a sense of who you are as a person. It should highlight your experience and explain why you should be the successful candidate.  I encounter the same words daily when reading CVs as a Recruiter. If you want your CV to showcase your best attributes, be memorable and unique and avoid these six words and phrases.

Tips on how to get your CV to stand out.


Punctuality is expected in every job. There are no rewards for meeting the base standards when you are applying for competitive roles. If timekeeping is one of your primary skills and it is relevant to the role you are applying for, include an example of how you have met a target or deadline, rather than state it.


Describing yourself as motivated comes across as cliché and is extremely vague. Instead, try outlining an example of a time you went above and beyond your expected role. Try including words like proactive, fervent, or impassioned in your example.


Like ‘punctual’, employers expect job candidates to put a lot of effort into the role they have applied for – there is no prize for this one either. If you genuinely are a person who is extremely passionate and dedicated to your role, then show, don’t tell. Recruiters and employers need proof of how hard-working you are, rather than a vague assurance. Include an example which demonstrates this attribute, incorporating words like dependable, energetic, and innovative.

4.Can’t / Won’t / Any negative words!

You’ve heard it before CVs should showcase what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do. Home in on your strengths and experiences, there is no need to declare weakness on your CV.

Note: You should always remain honest if you are asked about your weakness during an interview or application. Turn a negative into a positive. The truth always comes out in these scenarios!


Again, you want your CV to be as specific as possible. Use precise verbs when outlining your experience to demonstrate leadership skills, as well as management skills. This is a much more efficient use of space which allows you to include more information in less words, trust the Recruiter to decipher which skills you possess through the examples you give. Try using words like developed, delegated, trained, influenced, supervised, or organised in your examples.


This phrase is meaningless unless it is backed up by a solid example, as it is so over-used. Colleague-cooperation and strong communication skills are essential in practically every job, which is why people aim to slot these attributes into their CV. Use an example of when you worked collaboratively, specifying the role you played, and what you helped the team achieve. Words like networking, liaising, collaborating usually work well when demonstrating team-work skills.

If you enjoyed this blog, you should read my recent two-part blog called How to Make Your CV Shine.

Also, keep an eye-out for my upcoming blog, what is the STAR Technique, and Why Will it Help Me Get Hired?

For further information please contact me on 07751856436 or email