The overused CV words that could cost you your dream job

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cveeThis is the deal with January: it arrives and you have something of an existential crisis. The first month of the year turns up the volume on that self-critical voice in your head – sounds dreary, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need to kickstart an ambitious new year. 

It follows that January is a time when lots of people contemplate a career switch – a complete overhaul or an exciting new direction.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network can vouch for this. Activity spikes on 21 January when LinkedIn traditionally sees the most UK members update their profiles.

Before you attempt to overhaul your CV, or refresh your personal statement consider this: all those work buzzwords that seem like excellent CV fodder may actually be holding you back.

LinkedIn, analysed the profile summaries of its 20 million UK members in order to determine which are the most overused words.

The one-fits-all career catchphrases we all pepper our professional documents with (think: ‘a creative and enthusiastic individual with extensive experience in X, Y and Z’) are overused to the extent that they are now just white noise to potential employers. They don’t really mean anything and certainly don’t set you apart from the other 9,999,999 candidates on LinkedIn.

It’s time to banish these buzzwords:

4.Track record
10.Extensive experience

Try this approach instead…

Here are LinkedIn’s top tips for writing a attention-grabbing profile:

1. ‘Your summary is the first thing people look at after your profile picture. You may know you’re capable of demonstrating ‘leadership’ with a ‘great track record’ but too many buzzwords make it hard for your profile to stand out. Use examples of your experience, focus on how you’ve demonstrated leadership with specific examples and highlight those great results with real numbers.’

2. ‘Instead of saying you’re ‘creative’, why not show people by including presentations, design work and projects you take pride in? Remember, you’ve only got five to ten seconds to impress.’

3.‘So you have ‘extensive experience and great communication skills’? Tell the world by publishing a post on LinkedIn. By offering your opinions on industry matters, you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader and sharing your knowledge.’

4. ‘If you want to show you are ‘motivated’ about succeeding in your industry, join a group. Share your thoughts on news or articles to show you care about the sector and widen your network. Members who are active in groups get 15x more profile views than members who don’t take part.’

5.‘If you think someone’s ‘exceptional’, why not say it? Spend time writing meaningful recommendations using specific examples. Not only does this show you really know them, it also means they are more likely to return the favour. A couple of glowing recommendations are worth a hundred buzzwords.’


ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

[email protected]

A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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