A good CV helps you pass the first round of the application process. It is also a crucial factor for personnel consultants to decide whether or not to invite you for a job interview. The way you express yourself plays an important role in this context. Continue reading to find out how to avoid common phrases and successfully emphasize your achievements. This will increase the chances that your CV will stand out from the crowd.

The wording you use in your CV should be individual and should match your usual way of expression. Otherwise, you run the risk of toning down or downplaying your skills and experience. Certain phrases will naturally spring to mind when trying to portray your skills and experience on paper. For instance, if you are a team leader, you may automatically feel the need to include “Excellent leadership skills” on your CV.
However, if you want to create a winning CV, one which makes the shortlist of interviewees, you need to provide evidence of your achievements, and avoid the below CV clichés at all costs:

“Independent way of working”

Personnel consultants and recruiters often read in CVs that candidates have an "independent way of working". But will this really set you apart? After all, any strong candidate should be able to work independently. Therefore, this information does not add any value to your application.

Instead, if working independently is a genuine strength of yours and is of prime importance to the job you are applying for, then give an example of a time you showcased this strength and the results. For instance, rather than simply stating, “I work well independently”, try “I independently designed and implemented a new strategy that increased customer engagement by X percent.”

“Team spirit”

Team spiritedness is an important trait to have, but when every candidate claims to be “a great team player”, this CV cliché can become a little meaningless. Stand out from the competition by providing evidence that you can work well with colleagues to reach a common goal. For instance, “I worked with our international and local marketing teams to implement a global rebrand across 12 countries.” Examples like this demonstrate that you’re a great team player, without actually having to use this rather worn-out phrase.

“Result orientation”

Don’t be mistaken, one of the most important points to include on your CV is the impact you have made to your current employer. Which is why, instead of simply stating you are results driven, you should support this claim with facts. Ensure that you give quantifiable evidence of your results, such as “I increased sales by 25 percent”. Including this information will demonstrate that you focus on and track the results of your work, which in itself implies that you are results driven.


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“High sense of commitment”

Whilst a strong work ethic is important, a committed employee isn’t necessarily a productive one. When reading your CV, the personnel consultant or recruiter will be looking for signs that you are able to manage your time in an effective and productive way. Therefore, emphasise your productivity and time management skills and try to give concrete examples – for instance, mention that you have realised a successful product launch in a short time frame or always met all deadlines in your previous position.

“A good communicator”

Not only do candidates use this phrase excessively, it is also vague and demands context. Be more specific by giving examples of situations in which your communication skills have really shone through. For instance, a presentation or sales pitch you gave which won a new client for your business.

“Quick comprehension”

It can be tempting to include this information in your CV, especially if you are lacking in a certain skill and want to stress that you would be able to acquire this skill quickly if the employer offered you the position. However, if you want to really demonstrate your aptitude, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Describe a time you grasped a new concept quickly − for example when you started a new position or taught yourself a new skill − to prove that you would learn quickly on the job.


Attention to detail is important in most roles. Remember that the first impression the reader will get of your level of competence in this area will be upon reading your CV. So make sure you proofread thoroughly and that it is error free.

Prevent your CV from being put aside simply because of the language used in it. By replacing any worn-out phrases with authentic practical examples, you can create a more impressive CV and increase your chances of securing an interview.