When applying for graduate roles, you obviously want to sell your skills, experience and fantastic personality traits.

Remember, there is a fine line between selling yourself and sounding insincere.

Using clichés and exaggerating your skills won’t make your CV stand out.


Here are 9 clichés that you should not include in your job applications.

1. Passion

How many candidates do you think say that they are “passionate” about a certain industry?

Passion is a pretty strong word, which makes this statement sound exaggerated and false.

Instead, say that you have an interest in a certain industry, and explain why.


2. Hardworking

Being hardworking is absolutely necessary in any job role. Stating that you are hardworking does not add anything to your CV.

You’re basically saying, “I’m not lazy” which isn’t all that impressive.


3. Team work

Of course, employers want to hire candidates with good team work skills. Everyone knows this and therefore almost everyone sticks it in their CV.

Just make sure to back it up with evidence/examples.


4. Initiative

As with ‘team work’, don’t just write “I’m good at taking the initiative” in your CV.

Instead, include an example of when you have used your initiative and let the employer decide for themselves that you have this skill.


5. Enthusiasm

Does a happy Labrador puppy spring to mind when you hear the word “enthusiastic”?

lab puppy enthusiastic

While this isn’t bad, it can be shown in person rather than written in a job application.

By highlighting that you are enthusiastic, you are also suggesting that you deserve the job on your attitude alone.

Employers want to hear more about your skills and talent. Which brings us onto our next cliché…


6. Leadership

Yet again, this is another skill that too many people include on their CV without backing it up with evidence and examples. Remember too that leadership is not just about the ability to lead a team or direct others.

It is also about effective communication, including listening to people, and building relationships.


7. Good communicator

If you do have good communication skills then your entire application should demonstrate them.

Simply saying that you’re a good communicator is not enough.


8. Anything that anyone could claim

The aim of every job application you submit should be to stand out! Employers certainly aren’t going to call everyone they receive an application from so yours needs to be one of the very best.

Including generic phrases and skills won’t help you out and nor will including interests such as “I enjoy socialising with friends”.

Statements like this will only make you sound boring.

Write a list of all the great things you have, that others don’t. Don’t be a clone!

clones graduate job application tips uk


9. Anything where the alternative is a bad person

Stating that you are “good with people” or “personable” is only going to raise concerns for an employer.

Likeable people don’t generally have to highlight that they are likeable.



Be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of using clichés and broad statements throughout your CV and cover letter.

Focus more on including key examples and evidence of your personality traits and core skills.

This way, you’ll be hearing back from employers in no time.

Good luck!

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