9 Words Never To Include in Your CV and How to Avoid Them

By: Sifiso Dingani | Posted On: 2020-01-26 15:00:00 | Updated On: 2021-09-19 22:29:54 | Views: 1806

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the chance to make an impression on the recruiters. In other words, it is important to spend time and effort developing. You have little time to paint a good picture of you and your capabilities.

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The use of words such as “go-to-person” and “expert” have been overused or may come across as an exaggeration. Such words hinder you from standing out from the applicants. As an alternative, use words and phrases to show why you should be considered for a particular role. For instance, include how you “created a more user-friendly and informative webpage which led to a 15% increase in the process”

Here are 9 words and phrases never to include in your CV and a few tips on how to avoid

  1. Hardworking

Recruiters expect you to be a diligent and hardworking individual, who puts optimum effort in their work. For this reason, there is no need to include such a word in your CV. Your experience as well as what you have achieved in your last job can paint that picture for you.


  1. References available upon request

Avoiding including references in your CV may make your credibility questionable. Including your referees is beneficial because then hiring managers are able to find out how you work with other people and if you are recommended for the job you applied for.

In some instances, the recruiters reach out to you directly for any further details they may need when they are ready to offer you the position.


  1. First or Third person

The use of the first or third person may seem as though someone else wrote your CV for you. Instead of saying “I facilitated a team building session for my department”, rather say, “Facilitated a team building session for the Human Resources department”. Eliminating pronouns all together is more acceptable because it is implied that your CV is about you and no one else.


  1. On-time

You are expected to always be on time, whether it be arriving at work or meeting deadlines. Employers do not expect employees to delay their arrivals or submissions because then it will affect the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness. Good time management should be a given so there is no need to include it as one of your personal skills.


  1. Expert

This word should only be used if you genuinely are an expert in your field. However, if you are not, avoid using the word. Describing yourself as an “expert” may put you on the spot and have the recruiters ask you all kinds of questions about that particular field and expecting honest and correct answers from you.


  1. Can’t

Your CV is meant to state what you can do not what you cannot do. Stating what you cannot do may make you come across as incompetent for the job. Rather include what you can do and what you have already done and achieved.

Additionally, contractions in grammar, such as ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’, are not grammatically correct in written English. Avoid using contractions and stick to the full versions of the words. This will be more advantageous for you as you come across as more of a professional person.


  1. People-person

Most jobs require you to work with other people. Recruiters expect you to already be a ‘team player’ because you will need to interact with other people at the workplace in order to get the work done.    

  1. “Insure”

Many people misuse or misspell words when putting together their CVs. Incorrect spellings of words such as ‘ensure’, ‘ambitious’, ‘necessary’ can eliminate a very good and competent candidate entirely because it comes across to recruiters as though you lack attention to detail.

Read and reread your CV. Find someone else to proofread it for you as well to avoid submitting it with errors.

  1. Salary negotiable

There is no need to include this in your CV. It suggests that you are running out of things to include in your CV. Your employers already know that the salary is negotiable.


To get the job you applied for you need to pay attention to the above-mentioned words and phrases that you should leave out when compiling your CV. To avoid making these mistakes, here are a few tips to help you put together a good CV:


There are some basic sections that must be included in your CV, namely; Contact information, personal statement, work experience, education and skills. These are the must-have sections and should appear in this order. This gives off cohesiveness in your compilation.


There are other additional sections for a CV which will give you the advantage of outperforming other candidates’ CVs. If you have information to add to the following, ensure to include them; Professional certifications, additional training and courses, languages, publications, awards, and volunteer experience. Including these will show recruiters that you have made an effort to better yourself by going the extra mile.


Moreover, hiring managers are taught to identify liars. You may feel enticed to exaggerate your past responsibilities or do exaggerate your achievements in order to get a chance at an interview. However, you should avoid this by all means. The moment the recruiters find out that you lied in order to get ahead, you will not stand a chance of getting the job. Stay truthful.  


Sifiso Dingani is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm./ Phone +263 (242) 481946-48/481950 or cell number +263 775517211 or email: sifiso@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com



Sifiso Dingani

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