5 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Your CV

in Candidate

Contacting an executive search firm with a CV that includes fluffy phrases and subjective wording will not get the resume or the candidate noticed in a positive light. This piece of paper must be more than just a list of cliches and common word choices. 


This is a phrase that is so overused that hiring managers skip over it. It doesn't impress because, not only is it overused, but also it is vague. What makes the job seeker highly qualified for the position? This phrase can be replaced with more specific wording that reflects what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. 


Team player is an overused cliche that means absolutely nothing to hiring managers. If the candidate wants to explain how he or she is a team player, that would be noticed over using outdated phrasing. Ways in which the job seeker being a team player was beneficial to their last company is better than just stating the vague cliche. 

References available upon request 

This is a phrase that takes up unnecessary space on a resume and does nothing to add value. Every hiring manager is going to know that references are available, and will know that if they ask for references, it will be provided to them. 


As an alternative to adding this old, tired phrase to the CV, a job seeker should give examples. If the candidate has handled various customer accounts while juggling other job responsibilities within the company, that should be listed on the resume instead. It sounds more impressive and gives the hiring manager an idea of how the candidate will handle the responsibilities of the open job position. 


Another tired cliche that can be avoided by being specific. The hiring manager wants to know how the candidate will fit into the position he or she has available to be filled. Vague wording will not help the hiring manager visualize the candidate filling the position. 

Passive voice 

Avoid phrases that indicate passive voice throughout the resume. Instead, use action verbs to describe duties and accomplishments. Don't use wording such as 'responsible for' or 'served as' on the resume. Use short, action verbs to punch up the volume on the resume and get the hiring manager excited. 

A CV is supposed to get the candidate noticed. Hundreds of CVs pass a hiring manager's desk, and if the wording is not perfect, the manager will move on to the next applicant. It should be the introduction that gets the candidate noticed. A CV is used as a marketing tool that gets the candidate noticed. Wording and style choice are important to getting noticed.



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Michael Wang has 63 articles online and 1 fans

Michael Wang is a career consultant and writes career tips as well as insight on staffing solutions in Singapore. For more news and advice for jobseekers, he suggests visiting a local executive search firm.

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5 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Your CV

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5 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Your CV

This article was published on 2013/07/08