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5 CV Clichés All Graduates Should Avoid

“A great self-starter”, “always willing to work”, “blue sky thinker” – if you’ve used any of these well-worn phrases on your CV, you might want to think again.

Clichés are a potential death knell for any CV. Your prospective employer has heard them all before and, frankly, if the best you can offer is someone hardworking, you’re setting the bar incredibly low.

But if you’re a recent graduate, you might feel the need to bolster your CV with buzzwords, clichés and vague assertions about your suitability for a job. When you feel like you don‘t have much to offer, an unerring positivity seems like the best way to pad out a tentative application.

Here’s the problem – if an employer reads nothing but generic catchwords, they’ll most likely grow exasperated and discount your CV entirely. Your actual work experience will be sullied by a series of corporate phrases that anyone could write.

With that in mind, let us help you out. We’ve come up with five overused phrases. If they’re on your CV, it’s time to start hitting the delete key.

1. Strong Communication Skillls

In the field of writing, people constantly advise you to “show, don’t tell”. For instance, instead of stating that someone feels happy in a story, you should show an action that implies their happiness. This will then increase the impact of a scene. And it’s an important idea to consider when writing a CV.

Stating that you have strong communication skills – which is a fairly obvious prerequisite for the large majority of jobs anyway – is a bit like the example shown above. Your entire CV should make it clear that you’re good at conveying information by being well-written and formatted.

2. Dynamic

Being dynamic is a good thing, but it’s also vaguer than a politician’s answer. Dynamic at what, exactly? Instead of claiming to be dynamic, provide your employers with examples of situations where you’ve actually been a self-motivated, positive force in the workplace.

3. Enthusiastic

Again, enthusiasm is a positive attribute in a person, but it can make an applicant sound desperate on a CV. Much like “eager to learn”, you’ll simply sound like you’re compensating for a lack of skills

4. Motivated

Being motivated isn’t necessarily a trait to brag about. It’s the bottom end of positive qualities, up there with “can get out of bed in the morning” and “won’t shout insults at co-workers”. When you show up at work, your employer automatically expects you to be motivated.

5. Likes to Socialise

Sections about hobbies on CVs seem to be a major struggle for a lot of people. But even if your list of hobbies won’t set the world alight, mentioning that you enjoy socialising with friends is a guaranteed snooze-fest for anyone reading your CV. Try to be at least a little more creative.

To find out more about graduate job hunting head over to our Graduate Academy page for all the latest tips. And to keep up with recent developments in the world of pharmaceuticals, please remember to follow us on LinkedIn.

The CHASE Graduate Academy