Employers put off by candidates using ‘worn-out’ phrases in CVs

Employers put off by candidates using ‘worn-out’ phrases in CVs


Candidates who use descriptions such as ‘I’m a hard worker’ and ‘I work well under pressure’ on their CVs are damaging their chances of landing a job, according to a study carried out by the New College of the Humanities.

The research found recruiters are tired of reading cliches on job applications and seeing the same old over-used phrases can put them off hiring someone.

The study also highlighted how employers get annoyed by sloppy errors on CVs. Grammatical and typing mistakes cause the most frustration, and were cited by 59% of employers who responded to the survey.

Meanwhile, using a casual tone such as signing off an email with ‘cheers’ is seen as off-putting by half of recruiters – along with ‘unprofessional’ email addresses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study also found four in ten employers hate the use of emojis and cringeworthy quotes in CVs.

The report also underlined the short time a candidate has to impress a recruiter with their CV. The majority of CVs (62%) are discarded in less than three minutes, while a quarter of recruiters said they make a decision on a CV in less than 60 seconds.

Meanwhile, just a fifth of employers (19%) said they have the patience to finish reading a CV at all, and spend around six minutes studying an application.

The study also highlighted the extent to which jobseekers are prepared to lie on their CVs. It found one in 12 have added years to the amount of time they have worked at previous companies, while one in 20 bent the truth about what they did in previous roles and five per cent had also lied about their references.

Almost twice as many women (11%) said they had lied about their hobbies and interests compared to men (six per cent).

The study, carried out by the independent undergraduate college, coincides with its alternative graduate recruitment fairtaking place this month. Unique artworks and 3D installations depicting the CVs of its graduates, NCH founder Professor AC Grayling, and fellow NCH academics will also be on display.

Swatee Jasoria, director of professional development at the New College of the Humanities, said: “There is clearly an art to writing a great CV, and we want our students to stand out from the crowd where the competition for graduate jobs is still high despite a recovering economy.

“It is evident that the focus on employability in our curriculum from the first year is producing highly sought-after graduates as approximately 80% of our final year students secured employment or postgraduate study before they even graduated.”

According to the research, these are the ten most over-used CV phrases likely to put them off candidates:

  • Can work independently (cited by 47% of employers)
  • Hard worker (42%)
  • Works well under pressure (39%)
  • Good communicator (36%)
  • Enthusiastic (35%)
  • Team player (32%)
  • Good listener (28%)
  • Excellent written communication skills (24%)
  • Proactive (22%)
  • Problem solver (19%)
Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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Mary Hope Date: Sep 18, 2015

Whilst it is encouraging to see this information being promoted.. it really says nothing new? Perhaps there is little new to be said: if you want to be successful you need a professionally written and presented CV. Common sense? But i do find in my coaching practice that people really struggle.. and i suppose that gives me people whom I can help!

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