CV Writing – Think Before You Use These Words

Your CV can be one of the most powerful tools you have to impress recruiting managers and land a job interview. Since it’s the first impression a potential employer will get of you, it’s vital to make it as memorable as possible. Make sure your CV contains impactful words, which clearly and concisely express your experience and qualifications, instead of using clichés that employers have all too often heard before.

Here are some phrases that appear far too often on CV’s, with recommendations on how to improve your expression for a sharper, more professional message:

“I’m dynamic”

While the word Dynamic might seem like an ideal way to describe your many capabilities, hiring managers often see this word as vague and overstated. Instead, use words like achieved or created, to highlight specific accomplishments from your military career. Including achievements in your CV illustrates your potential value to an organisation.


Using Expert brings to mind a tinge of overconfidence; asserting that you are an expert when you have no evidence to support these claims leads a prospective employer to question your credibility. If you want to stand out from the crowd, describing yourself as an expert will achieve little unless you can present hard evidence that you have earned the right to reference yourself as such.

“Transformational leader”

A large number of CV’s include the phrase “transformational leader,” with no explanation of how the candidate was transformational.

This is an overused phrase and doesn’t mean anything that translates to a specific experience. Remove this from your CV and give clear examples of your skill set instead.

“Problem-solver”, “excellent communication skills” or “results-oriented”

Such phrases are more likely to be basic requirements of a role, rather than keywords. Used without examples as evidence, they’re so general as to be meaningless. A helpful tip is to think about your previous roles and assess your responsibilities thoroughly. Choose the most important and address each one in your CV.

“Curriculum Vitae”

Writing this at the top of your CV is perhaps the most common CV cliché of all time. Since it is fairly obvious that what you are reading is a CV, it is preferable to have your name as the title of the document.

Be cautious how you describe skills and achievements gained in your military career: you might need to rewrite these to align them more closely with your current career objectives, or to curtail any doubts about the relevance of your experience. It’s best to avoid clichéd buzzwords in your CV; instead use simple precise words that adequately highlight your competencies.

Revisit your CV to see where you can make any useful change. If you would like to have your CV reviewed or would like further help and guidance, please book a consultation with one of our career consultants on 020 7808 4170.