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8 terrible ways to describe yourself in a job application

You want to present yourself in the best possible light.

However, certain descriptions can do more harm than good.

And in case you’re wondering, yes – these examples come from actual CVs.

#1: Settle down hot shot.

“World-class expert”

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. 

Before you dub yourself with the title, consider whether you’ve reached that status. 

Use authority terms sparingly if you don’t have the experience to back it up.

#2: Extremely passionate and exceedingly enthusiastic.

Using these types of words to quantify how excited you are might not work in your favour.

In some cases, they might make you seem a little too keen and undermine you.

#3: Mr & Mrs Ambitious.

Most employers can recognise ambition in the way you present your CV. 

But let your achievements and successes spell it out for you. 
You don’t need to remind everyone how successful you want to be.

#4: Maturity & restraint.

Young people can be keen to show off their effervescent personality. 

They’re fresh, they’re keen – but be careful not to make yourself sound like your youth makes you ditzy or giddy.

#5: Conspiracies for breakfast.

“I think the government is…”

It should go without saying.

Avoid expressing strong controversial opinions or engaging in sensitive topics unrelated to the job. 

Maintain a neutral and inclusive approach in your application.

#6: The blame gamer.

“It wasn’t my fault”

Avoid shifting blame or refusing to take responsibility for challenges you’ve faced. 

Instead, discuss how you overcame obstacles and learned from them.

#7: Slow down there young Skywalker.

Stay away from self-descriptions or language like Guru and Master. 

They undermine you and make you sound pretentious… ‘nough said.

#8: TMI, TMI, TMI.

“My horoscope predicts success”

Keep personal beliefs and unrelated information out of your application. 

It’s irrelevant.

About the author

Consult Recruitment

Consult Recruitment is a leading recruitment agency based in Auckland, pairing top talent with the best businesses. We pride ourselves on delivering outstanding experiences so you can focus on what's important.

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