Phrases on Your CV That Are Shrinking Your Salary

Published: 04 Sep 2016

Certain phrases work their way onto the CVs of even the most intelligent and competent of candidates. While buzzwords and business jargon may be a part of everyday life in the modern office, many of those stock phrases really grate and reveal a laziness and lack of imagination in their users. This is never truer than when it comes to recruitment.

These phrases leap out from the page for all the wrong reasons. Hackneyed and over-used, here are just a few of the phrases on your CV that are shrinking your salary.

•    I am a team player – So is everyone else.  Instead of stating the obvious, use descriptions of your past roles and experience to show rather than tell recruiters that you can work within or lead a team successfully.

•    I am hard-working – We all like to think we put in that little bit more than the person next to us, so ‘hard-working’ should just be a given.  If you feel the need to point this out to them in such stark terms, then they might worry they’ll find you with your feet up on the desk two months down the line.

•    I am results driven – This is a phrase which appears on far too many CVs and sets alarm bells ringing among recruiters.  Everyone wants to see results.  Once again, you need to show rather than tell them about practical steps you have taken or decisions you have made which delivered those results, rather than relying on this stock phrase.

•    I like to think outside the box – It’s hard to believe, but people really do still use this tired old cliché on their CVs.  There is no box and there is no reason at all to include this phrase on your resumé; it only shows you’re lacking in originality.

•    I am a master of… - Never tell them you have ‘mastered’ anything, because it suggests you think the learning process is complete.  Just because you claim to be an expert in something doesn’t mean your knowledge of it is infallible or total.  Similarly, the annoying trend for claiming to be ‘ninjas’, ‘gurus’ and ‘pros’ makes recruiters see red – there’s no space for unprofessional language on your CV.

•    I have a proven ability to… - Show, don’t tell.  This is the CV equivalent of shouting ‘look at me’ just in case they’ve missed it – your skills should speak for themselves.  If you have proof then give it to them in the form of concrete examples rather than using this salary-curbing phrase.

•    I am married with two children – Never include personal details on your resumé because nobody is interested. The fact that you’re married or that you can list ‘reading’ as a hobby really won’t interest recruiters and has no bearing on your ability to do the job.  Personal details just take up valuable space you could be giving over to demonstrating your experience and abilities.

•    References supplied on request – This used to be standard practice many years ago, but these days including this phrase just makes you seem very old-fashioned.  It’s a given that recruiters will ask for references if they’re interested in you.

The time may now have come to dust off your CV and hit delete on any of the salary shrinking phrases which might have crept in.  When job hunting, it’s also important to know which salary bracket you ought to be targeting based on your skills and experience. 

If you’re purging your CV of these ill-judged phrases then ValueMyCV can also make sure you’re getting the right keywords in - the ones which will tick the boxes for recruiters rather than making them roll their eyes.

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