As veteran Headhunters turned Career Strategists, #SuperCoachYen and I have seen thousands of CVs and Resumes – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Some of the worst are so bad that they go straight into the ‘Trash’ bin without so much as a moment’s glance.
Others might pass first muster, but upon further reading, the quality (or lack thereof) begins to show.
What are some of the worst things you can add into your CV? Let us highlight five.
1. Motherhood statements or clichés.
“I am a revenue-driven, solution-focused professional who strives for win/win outcomes.”
“A highly skilled communicator and inspirational team-player, I excel at collaborating in a VUCA environment,”
Yes, we still get tired clichés like these in our inbox everyday. When you use phrases like these, it demonstrates that you are either trying to hard to impress, or you lifted the entire phrase out of a Dilbert cartoon strip.
Try your best to avoid such corny one-liners.
2. Any statements regarding politics or religion
It is almost a known risk that if you include personal information like your political or religious viewpoints in your CV, you run the risk of offending the hiring manager.
However, we may sometimes be a bit careless and include things that seem harmless but could work against you if the hiring manager is biased.
For instance, it would not be a good idea to highlight your membership to the local “Anti-C19 Vaccine Club”.
3. Vague words like “We”.
Have you been told too often that “There is no I in ‘TEAM’?”
Although it is good to recognize the effort of your team, it is not ‘your team’ that is interviewing for the job, but you.
One candidate went overboard and kept referring to all his achievements as “WE won this account, WE increased profit margins, WE cornered the market.” At the end of it, I had to ask him, “So, should my client be hiring you, or your entire team?”
Take credit you’re your wins – be proud of your achievements and claim your credit!
4. “I Value Work life Balance”
There are people who might disagree with this, but this phrase has been a leading cause of being misdiagnosed with acute “I-am- a-slacker-itis”.
Even though what you actually mean is “I will put in my best effort, but I may not wish to have midnight conference calls and Sunday meetings every weekend”, it will be heard by the interviewer as “I want to knock off at 5pm everyday – don’t try to stop me.”
There is almost no positive outcome that can be reived from using this sentence, so please delete it from your vocabulary!
5. Phrases that show how outdated you are.
“References Available Upon Request” and “Proficient with MS Word, WordStar, Lotus123” really show you up as a relic from the past.
I would imagine that these are ‘leftover artifacts’ from earlier CV versions (back in 1996) and should not have any place in 2021.
Now that you have these rules in mind, review your CV and remove these show-stoppers. Speak to an expert if you are in doubt and remove these phrases with extreme prejudice! Good Luck!!
Adrian Choo is a Thought Leader, Author and CEO/Founder of Career Agility International, a global Career Strategy Consulting firm. A C-suite Mentor, he is a much sought-after speaker and can be heard on radio 91.3FM every Thursday morning where he shares his latest ideas on Career Dynamics. He helps mid-career executives to find CareerClarity™ and can be reached at [email protected].