CV: those words that don’t ring any more

In a CV, certain words no longer evoke anything because they are so worn out: too much read, too much said, too much heard. Some of these words to avoid and writing strategies to stand out.

Are you “responsible”, “strategic”, “creative” or “organized”? Know that you are not alone! According to the professional social network Linkedin, which has analyzed the profiles of millions of its members, these are the four most frequently used terms in 2013. These boating words don’t just come out of nowhere. It is likely that users have found them from job offers in their own fields. The problem lies not in the choice of words as such, but rather in the objective of the CV, which is to set you apart from other candidates.

Some strategies that will give weight to your words.

1. Demonstrate your skills

A resume is like meeting a person for the first time. It is not enough to say that you are “nice” for the person to feel it. You have to prove it to them. If you state that you are “creative” and your CV is not creative in any way, either in your accomplishments or your layout, you don’t need to say so. Illustrate each skill with an example.

2. Be specific rather than poetic

It is imperative that you offer the recruiter something to get their teeth into: something concrete. The use of imprecise words such as “I have organised many seminars” should be avoided. The same goes for wording that doesn’t mean anything, such as “my goal is to work in communications”. To do what? What do you have to bring to this field? Also, use action verbs that describe your past experiences and skills in a precise and dynamic way. For example, “increase sales by 2%” instead of “effective salesperson”.

3. Read the job offers between the lines

Refrain from using the words literally in the job advertisement. Examine the offer carefully and apply it to your daily life. Does the employer emphasize the initiative that the candidate must show? Show all the tasks you have done in the past that required this quality. There is no need to use this word, there are various action verbs that describe this quality well: “anticipate”, “initiate”, “implement”, etc.

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4. Use the tools at your disposal

If you’re not good at writing and you can’t get out of the ordinary vocabulary, there are word banks you can use for inspiration. Some banks even simplify your life by classifying action verbs by field. Here is a non-exhaustive list of Web resources that you can use:

Remember that you should demonstrate your skills rather than name them. By illustrating your skills with specific examples, you will certainly not win a Nobel Prize in literature, but the eye of the recruiters.

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