Daniel Balanescu

How to avoid / replace buzzwords & hyperboles in your CV

It may well be true that you have “huge / big / large / extensive / wealth of experience”, “exceptional / valuable expertise” and that you have had “outstanding results”.

Recruiters, however, tend to dislike reading these hyperboles in your CV. They might want to read instead about your e.g. “5+ years experience in …”, your “certified expertise” and your “measurable results”.

Hyperboles and generalities for that matter are to be commonly avoided, unless you back them up with quantifiable results and achievements. E.g.: You may want to write “successful sales person”, but the impact is leveraged if you state numbers or percentages: “increased sales by 23% in 2014”, etc.

Several ‘typical’ and exciting CV words have been so much overused, that they have become unwanted ‘buzzwords’, empty words, even if they might truly describe your experience, skills, professional or personal behavior. Although some of these words have been trendy, impressive and desirable in the (recent) past, they have unfortunately very quickly become clichés. Vibrant words that used to sound highly inspiring have become outdated and even irritating.

Here is a list of buzzwords that should rather be avoided or smartly replaced in your CV: innovative, results-oriented, motivated, self-motivated, dynamic, team player, track record, problem solver, creative, enthusiastic, passionate, driven, wide range, strategic, hard worker, detail-oriented, proactive, effective, communication skills, hands-on, champion of, expert, organizational, responsible, reliable, cutting edge, road map, patient, analytical, agenda, foster, deploy, tackling, key, proficient in MS Office, best of breed, synergy, bottom-line, go-getter, sense of humor, people person, professional.

Please note that you do not have to insert in your CV sentences like: “negotiable salary” or “references available upon request”.

Basically, avoid writing what you are and rather concentrate on what you have done!

Phrase your sentences starting with action words and elaborate: achieved, improved, trained/mentored, managed, created, influenced, resolved, increased/decreased, volunteered, ideas, launched, negotiated, revenue/profits, won, delivered, competed, directed, on time, under budget, savings, participated, advised, improved, developed, etc.

Describe your potential to deliver results rather than just your skills and baseline qualifications!

If you apply for a specific position, carefully read the job description to identify exactly what the employer is looking for, pick out the words he is emphasizing and sprinkle them throughout your CV. Communicate your ability to deliver desired value and benefits to the employer!

Differentiate yourself by including interests, projects, volunteering experience or charity.

Last but not least, put your personality into your cover letter!


Please refer to my previous articles related to CV Writing and Cover Letters.

Good luck!


Featured Artist: Daniel Balanescu

Featured Photographer & Copyright: Geraldine Aresteanu

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Daniel Balanescu by Geraldine Aresteanu

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