27 Words you should be careful with in your CV / résumé, cover letters and LinkedIn profile

At various points in my own articles, I recommend that you should follow the slogan: “Don’t prove, just explain.” for your job applications. However, it is important to take both aspects seriously. This means that you should definitely use a certain aspect of your work experience to your advantage even if you have no real “proof” of it. In most cases, a reasonable explanation as to why you see it that way is sufficient. But: There should definitely be a justification! Those who throw around hollow phrases render themselves ridiculous. For example, avoid statements like these:

»As a creative and responsible person, I believe I am best suited for this position.«

Such a self-portrayal is merely an unsubstantiated claim because none of the three statements in this example (“creative”, “responsible” and “best suited”) is backed up by relevant information. Accordingly, it is of little benefit to you. Strangely enough, such phrases are often used by people who otherwise lack self-confidence when applying.

Before I show you how to handle the above issue in a more convincing way, I would like to recommend you read a great related article about it first. Its author Jeff Haden titled it “27 Words You Should Never Use to Describe Yourself”. Americans from the US tend to be rather easygoing in regard to the use of bragging language to “sell” oneself. When even an American sees the need for more caution here, it should be taken seriously even more so in other parts of the world.

Now, let me quickly fix the example from above:

»As a member of the student council, I was also responsible for the timely publication of our monthly student magazine during the last 2 years of my studies. I am sure that the creativity I developed in designing visually appealing publications at that time now provides an excellent basis for successful work in the position you have advertised.«

Well, that sounds much more convincing, doesn’t it? Feel free to hire my professional support if you want to make a real impact with the wording in your application documents too.