These are 10 worst phrases to put on your CV (and we’ve all likely used them)

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Amy Lewis

“I’m a team player”, “I’m a good communicator”, “I’m enthusiastic”; we’ve all likely used these phrases in a CV or covering letter before now, but a new study reveals that they’re amongst the most annoying for employers.

The research also reveals that an increasing number of people are using emjoi in their job applications, while cliché quotes are on the rise too.

Conducted by London’s New College of the Humanities, the study asked 2,000 employers in the UK about what ticks them off when reading a resume.

While grammatical errors and typos of course came top of the list, other bug bears included the use of emoji for 42 per cent of the recruiters, plus annoying quotes and an overly casual tone.

Signing off with the colloquial ‘cheers’ was frowned upon by 50 percent of the employers, while an unprofessional email address was also found to be a no-no.

Update your CV tips

But if you’re thinking ‘so far, so fair’, prepare yourself for the next nugget; just one fifth of the employers surveyed said they have the patience to finish reading an entire CV.

Most skim read the document or check-out following just a few lines, and these are the phrases that are most likely to make them do just that:

  • "I'm a hard worker"
  • "I work well under pressure"
  • "I can work independently"
  • "I'm a team player"
  • "I am a problem solver"
  • "Good communicator"
  • "I'm proactive"
  • I am a good listener"
  • "I'm enthusiastic"
  • "Excellent written communication skills"

The study also asked 2,000 adults about their job application habits, and found that CV fibs are as rife as ever.

While eight percent admitted to adding a few years onto the amount of time they have spent in former roles, 20 percent said they have lied about a former position, and five percent confessed to bluffing their references.

The research also found that 11 percent of women lie about their hobbies and interests in a job application – almost twice the number of men who do the same.


If you're in need of a career boost, come along to Stylist Live on Thursday 15th October, where we will be discussing the best way to negotiate your next pay rise, with industry experts - you can thank us later by buying us a drink. 

Get your tickets here.

Stylist Live is a four-day festival of cocktails, culture, catwalks and conversation hosted by Edith Bowman and Dawn O’Porter on Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 October 2015

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.

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