6 cliché terms to leave off your job application


There’s a fine line between a selectively chosen word or phrase in your job application and just another awkward cliche. Here are 6 terms to steer clear of when applying for your next position.

I’m a team player

This little gem is as common placed on CV’s as the candidates name and address. This isn’t to argue that it’s wrong to present yourself as a team player. The majority of jobs will require good interpersonal skills to work best. However, the whole point of a CV is to give you chance to stand out from the crowd. Writing the same cliche point that you are good at teamwork is a poor waste of that precious space on your job application.

I’m enthusiastic

Again, enthusiasm is good, but its nothing new. If you weren’t enthusiastic from the prospect of landing this position then you wouldnt have troubled yourself to write and send the application in the first place. If you took the time to send the application, why not have the ‘enthusiasm’ to get out the thesaurus and choose a more unique way of describing yourself. Rather than blatantly complimenting yourself with the description that you are enthusiastic, why not drop a subtle hint of your enthusiasm by telling the recruiter something about the client company that they dont know themself. Such as, an interesting piece of news that will influence the company’s market. Or, an unusual fact about the company’s marketing strategy. Remember that you’re looking to stand out and to do that you need to approach your application with something new.

I have strong leadership skills

It’s good to be a natural leader. Natural leaders are increasingly valuable as they climb the corporate ladder. However, simply flattering yourself that you have strong leadership skills is nothing more than an arrogant statement. If you are going to put this on your job application, then, rather than outright say it, mention relevant teams and divisions that you have lead in the past to decisive, quantifiable goals. For example, being captain of a football team and going onto win the cup is worth mentioning to show your leadership abilities. Being put in charge of a powerpoint presentation in a group of 4 which turned out to be an ok presentation. Well, that’s not really worth bragging about, and doing so will make you seem like you are in short supply of achievements. So in this case its probably better to leave the leadership skills part off from your application. Remember, you are looking for strong points only. Make room for as little weakness to your overall approach as possible.

Good communication skills

“I have good communication skills” what do people even mean when they write this? The ability to communicate is taught to us at a very early age and every candidate applying will have the ability to communicate. Do good skills mean that you can get your ideas across quicker? If so, how do you do it? By talking more or using more succinct language? The majority of times this is used in job applications it appears to have been simply thrown in there as something that ‘sounds good’ and this is exactly what it will look like to recruiters too. Try leaving this out and using the space for something more genuine and meaningful.

I take the initiative

We all like someone who takes the initiative and gets a job done without being told. Whether its making a cup of tea, doing the dishes, sending on the client invoices or reordering supplies. Initiative increases efficiency and is a highly desirable employee trait. However, once again this term has become so cliche that recruiters now expect candidates to take the initiative. If you really want to practice what you preach, how about taking the initiative and avoiding this cringeworthy cliche.

I think outside the box

If ‘I take the initiative’ is cringeworthy, then think outside the box is unbearably awkward. To think outside the box is to think in a different way, to solve a problem using an unconventional approach or completing a job application without the use of cliches. Ironically, using ‘thinking outside the box’ in your job application is a perfect example of your thinking inside the box. Try an interesting fact about the company you are applying to instead.