10 buzzwords that kill your application


10 buzzwords that kill your application

Often, in an attempt to make your CV, Covering Letter and Application sound professional and slick, graduates can overstep the mark and begin to sound just a bit daft. While it is always encouraged to make the most of your experiences and to make them sound as proficient as possible, it is far too easy to fall off the edge and begin to sound more than a bit daft.

The majority of these lazy excuses for skills and attributes appear in the opening paragraphs of either CVs or Covering Letters. The ambitious, opening gambit is always one that is tricky to get right. You need to make an instant, professional and impressive opener to grab the employer's attention. But graduates can let themselves down by being too ambitious and trying to cram in too much in this opening sentence and paragraph, forcing them to flick through a thesaurus of ridiculous terms in an attempt to sound legit.

It might be slightly harsh to say your application form or CV is laughable, but using series of outlandish and sometimes badly applied words can really put you in the same category as contestants from The Apprentice. Clichés are bad at the best of times, and although I am guilty of this on occasions, they should be avoided at all costs.

So be careful when you are going through your applications to improve them that you don't make these mistakes, here are the 10 biggest buzzword killers of applications.

1. Dynamic

This is an example of classic application form guff. Describing oneself as "Dynamic" tells employers absolutely nothing. How are you dynamic? What does it mean to be dynamic? A definition, according to states to be dynamic is to be "positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas." But does this really tell employers anything about you?

2. Driven

What, you have a chauffeur? Being driven is yet another example of subjective characteristics that can't be easily proved. To describe yourself as driven leaves the employer with not much to go on. Similarly to ambitious, employers already expect graduates to have a drive to succeed but by using driven, employers just see the word as filler and, in terms of your application hopes, this can be killer.

3. Passionate

Passionate graduates? Passionate in a fanatic way or a Gamekeeper Mellors kind-a way? Passionate is a word that employers see graduates using to gloss over what they really mean. If you've got a keen interest in a specific area then say, rather than substituting examples under the umbrella of passionate. Passionate is a word that employers see graduates using to gloss over what they really mean. If you've got a keen interest in a specific area then say, rather than substituting examples under the umbrella of passionate. If you're "passionate about a career in the media" then be more specific, suggest you're keen on career in advertising and public relations.

4. Enthusiastic

This is again similar to "Passionate", and should be avoided in favour of real, concrete examples. And yet another subjective term, enthusiasm is obviously best displayed with a detailed understanding or in person, but in terms of detailing this subjective term in the opening paragraph of a Covering Letter it will not wash.

5. Deeply held...

Using the prefix of deeply held to describe anything is not satisfactory in the eyes of employers. A deeply held understanding, deeply held appreciation, deeply held enthusiasm, deeply held whatever, it is not something that employers understand or want. Deeply held, with all its religious connotations is far too emotive for these cold business suits. They want Gradgrindian facts, facts facts.

6. Highly-motivated

Highly motivated....yawn. This is as bland as they come and should be a marker for those who are too predictable in their approach to writing covering letters. Highly motivated is as textbook as they come and will set you on a beige path to inconsequence. Employers aren't clocking you for being highly motivated, so get rid and quickly.

7. Team player

Yeh Go Team! No thanks. While, yes employers are looking for people that can work well in a team and cooperate with other people, but they are not looking for "team players". This is yet another example of examples being substituted for easy clichés. Don't do it.

8. Synergy

Need I say anything at all...? Really?

9. Hard working

Hard working is the ultimate in fluff and padding. Hard working literally tells the employer nothing, nothing except you have nothing better to offer and you need something else to fill the gap between "I am a..." and "graduate". Completely subjective and highly irrelevant, describing yourself as hard working will only put the backs up of employers and give them something to suspect.

10. Think outside the box

Oh where do I start with " thinking outside the box". This falls in the same category of blue sky thinking and other equally meaningless phrases. Not only do employers think less of applicants who describe themselves as out of the box thinkers, they also think it's cripplingly painful to read and gives the impression of being ludicrous. Personally, when I hear the phrase, all I can think of is The Thick of It's Stuart Pearson.

Now, I know this blog might have been more on the miserable, berating side of weekly blogs I write here. But please be aware that it pains me to write it as much as it pains employers to read it on your application form. In danger of dropping the biggest cliché of them all - you've just got to keep it real.

By James Howell